Marriage Counseling NJ


Marriage Counseling NJ / Expert Relationship Counselor New Jersey: Garrett Coan, LCSW

Emotionally Focused Marriage Counseling

In my marriage counseling NJ practice, I use Emotionally Focused Marriage Counseling. It's a couples therapy approach grounded in the scientific study of adult relationships and how partners successfully bond with one another. Its purpose is to reduce barriers to healthy emotional connection within a relationship. I use it to help couples better understand their emotional reactions so that they can be emotionally vulnerable and supportive of one another.

The underlying premise of Emotionally Focused Marriage Counseling is that people are healthier and happier when their needs for emotional connection are fulfilled. This is accomplished when partners feel safe and secure in their relationships. Feeling distressed in one's relationship can arouse deep-seated fears of rejection and abandonment. An individual’s reactivity and defensiveness when these primal fears are triggered can be quite detrimental to the relationship.

When both parties begin to perceive their partner as unable to fulfill their emotional needs, they can become embroiled in destructive communication and behavior patterns. These patterns are further fueled by persistent, yet futile, attempts to get one's partner to validate one’s thoughts and feelings.

It can be very difficult for you and your partner to understand what causes and maintains your conflicts. Emotionally Focused Marriage Counseling considers the basis of conflict and disconnection to be the insecurity in the attachment. This feeling of insecurity leads people to ask questions such as, “Do you really love me?” “Am I priority in your life?”, “Will you eventually leave me for someone better?”, “Can I trust you?”, etc. Emotionally Focused Marriage Counseling rectifies these attachment-related insecurities by teaching both partners how to communicate in more caring, sensitive and emotionally connected ways. This leads to a strong and secure attachment.

What Emotionally Focused Marriage Counseling Looks Like in Session

A couple might begin therapy learning how to de-escalate conflicts over hot-button topics such as money, affection, sex, or differences in parenting. In the midst of these discussions, your marriage counselor will encourage the couple to express vulnerable feelings such as worry about one's partner's commitment to the relationship, lack of trust and feeling insecure. When couples are able to communicate feelings in an atmosphere of empathy and compassion, the feelings of safety and connection within the relationship are strengthened.

The end goal of Emotionally Focused Marriage Counseling is for the couple to become skilled at expressing their underlying attachment needs when encountering disagreement and conflict. During periods of  stress and tension, the couple can express their attachment needs and have these needs be validated by their partner. This restores peace and harmony and bolsters the couple's loving connection.

Emotionally Focused Marriage Counseling has been widely studied and there currently exists strong empirical evidence demonstrating its effectiveness. The research studies show that couples who received this intervention feel more satisfied and less distressed in their relationship. Moreover, follow-up studies indicate that the positive effects of Emotionally Focused Marriage Counseling persist for years after therapy has ended.

Best marriage counselor in New Jersey

Do You Feel Lonely and Frustrated in Your Marriage?

In my marriage counseling NJ practice, I help couples like you cultivate a relationship that is trusting, warm and fun. If you and your partner are ready to identify and change your destructive attitudes and communication patterns, then I can help you obtain a happy and loving marriage.

As your marriage counselor, I can help your improve your marriage if: 

You argue all the time; You can’t seem to resolve your differences in a respectful manner. Ineffective and hurtful communication continues to eat away at your relationship on a daily basis.

You’re emotionally drained; You feel victimized and trapped. You used to believe that things would get better and your partner would change. However, things are only getting worse.

Your intimacy and connection have faded; Affection and sex hardly ever take place. You feel insecure in how your are perceived by your partner and have lost the sense of being understood and cared for.

You feel frustrated, lonely and frightened; It scares you to think you might have to live this way forever.

You feel hopeless and depressed; You want to save your relationship but you don’t know how.

My marriage counseling NJ practice can help you repair your wounded relationship.  It doesn’t matter how much conflict or distance currently exist in your relationship. As your marriage counselor, I can help you too can learn skills in effective communication and emotional intimacy. Countless couples have been helped by my marriage counseling NJ practice. You can finally experience a loving and meaningful relationship which you yearn for and truly deserve.

Effective Communication is the Heart and Soul of a Healthy Relationship

Most of us never learned know how to engage others in healthy relationships characterized by supportive and collaborative communication. We were never taught how to express our feelings, needs and wants assertively and non-defensively. We also never learned how to negotiate and compromise effectively in order to resolve conflicts. Because you never developed the needed skills to co-create a healthy relationship, your lines of communication have become strained and distorted.

As a result of your failed attempts at bridging the gap, a sense of disconnection and alienation has set in. At some point, you've reached the stage where you just can’t be open with your partner about your true thoughts and feelings. You are too defensive and afraid of getting hurt. You wind up resigned to your fate, feeling dejected, lonely and frustrated. It doesn’t have to be this way!

As your marriage counselor, I can help the two of you learn the necessary communication skills to repair and deepen your connection. Let me show you the way in my marriage counseling NJ practice.

Communication Skills For Couples

Is Infidelity Ruining Your Relationship?

Discovery of infidelity triggers shock and anger which then leads to a powerful sense of betrayal, rejection and shame. As your marriage counselor, I will validate and support both of you, helping you process and work through feelings of hurt, anger, sadness and guilt. In my marriage counseling NJ practice, I help the couple identify and fix the flaws in their relationship that led to the affair.

Do You Find Yourself Holding Onto Grudges and Resentment?

If you or your partner hold grudges in your marriage, it is a sign of dissatisfaction and instability in the relationship. The strength of a marriage depends on both partners’ ability to forgive one another. In my marriage counseling NJ practice, I help couples work through their anger and hurt so they can truly forgive and let go.

Relationship Therapist NJ

Is Your Marriage Marked by Constant Bickering?

It is only natural that couples won't agree on everything. However, if disagreements are hardly ever discussed in a rational and compromising tone, feelings of positivity and warmth in the relationship will dissipate. If you or your partner feels disrespected or patronized when expressing their opinion, then you need help learning more effective communication skills. In my marriage counseling NJ practice, I help couples develop a greater ability to validate, negotiate and compromise. As your marriage counselor, I will also show you how to "agree to disagree" while maintaining a tone of mutual respect.

Are Arguments Over Money Eating Away at Your Marriage?

Oftentimes a relationship is negatively impacted by conflicts over money. Couples frequently differ in their views of money, including spending and saving habits. One partner may be frugal and cautious in their purchasing decisions, worried about squandering their resources. The other partner may be more spontaneous and liberal in their purchases, viewing money as a means to enjoy life in the here and now.

Another potential pitfall involves couples becoming territorial and possessive over their money, arguing over who is paying more of the household expenses. In my marriage counseling NJ practice, I can help the two of you understand and work through the challenging issues of money and finance.

Infidelity, Cheating, Affairs in NJ

Are Your Children Caught in the Middle?

Do you find yourself fighting with your spouse over issues surrounding your children? It is not uncommon in an unhappy whereby the couple's children become the focal point of conflict. Differing approaches to child rearing such as methods of discipline become a source of tension and dispute.

In addition, it commonly occurs that both parties will subconsciously recruit their children as personal allies. Being co-opted in such a fashion is detrimental to the emotional well being of children. Moreover, in an adversarial family environment, children quickly learn that they can "split" the parents and thereby manipulate them into getting what they want. This process only further exacerbates marital discord. In my marriage counseling NJ practice, I help couples formulate a unified approach to their children so as to avoid unhealthy alliances and splitting.


Do You Find It Difficult to Tolerate Your Partner's Habits and Idiosyncrasies?

No two people are the same. Our preferences and habits are a reflection of our uniqueness. Sometimes, couples come to view "difference" as irreconcilable incompatibility. This outlook can lead to frustration and resentment over time. In my marriage counseling NJ practice, I help couples understand how differences in style and outlook can serve as a catalyst for growth. As your marriage counselor, I will help you learn to appreciate how you strengths and weaknesses complement each another, leading to compatibility in the midst of difference.

Empathize and Validate

Acknowledge that difference does not mean better or worse. Become a connoisseur of your spouse's unique qualities and you will be able to empathize with them more effectively. Empathy and validation are the foundations of a happy marriage. In my marriage counseling NJ practice, I help couples develop the skills to empathize and validate more effectively.

Be Giving and Thoughtful

Develop the habit of expressing compliments, saying "thank you" and"I love you," writing heartfelt cards, making your partner's favorite dish or surprising them with a mystery date. Routinely lighten your spouse’s load by being generous and giving. In my marriage counseling NJ practice, I help couples develop a more giving and expansive approach within the relationship.

Learn to say “I am sorry”

When you realize you have made a mistake, swallow your pride and admit it. Apologies are the healing balm in a relationship. Your spouse will love and respect you for your ability to say “I am sorry for what I said. I was wrong. Please forgive me.” In my marriage counseling NJ practice, I help couples develop humility and the capacity to apologize and forgive.

Coping With Infidelity

When you discover that your partner has cheated on you, you’re initial reaction is one of shock, anger and sadness. You will likely feel betrayed and rejected. Your feelings of trust, safety and security within the relationship become greatly diminished.

In my marriage counseling NJ practice, I help couples heal and grow in the wake of infidelity. As your marriage counselor, I will help you identify the underlying causes of infidelity, both within the dynamic of the relationship and associated with any personal issues either partner you might have.

Factors that frequently contribute to infidelity are sex addiction, sexual frustration in the relationship, perceived lack of affection, empathy and validation, and feelings of loneliness and estrangement. When both parties feel they can no longer understand or relate to one another or they engage in frequent arguments and fights, then infidelity is more likely to occur. At times when the marital bond is under great duress, partners are more susceptible to seeking emotional support and connection outside the relationship.

In my marriage counseling NJ practice, I treat infidelity by improving communication and restoring the capacity for empathy, support and understanding. As your marriage counselor, I will enhance your ability to assertively express your feelings and needs while receiving reassurance and validation. I will thereby help restore your sense of safety and attachment.

Marriage Counseling Tips and Strategies to Improve Your Relationship

Don’t “sweat the small stuff”. Try your best to let go of things that are petty and inconsequential.

Acknowledge the good. Compliment your spouse and express appreciation for what he or she does for you.

Be thoughtful and giving. Make a point of marking special milestones such as birthdays and anniversaries with heartfelt cards, creative gifts and surprise getaways. Offer to do chores to lighten your spouse’s load.

Catch yourself before frustration leads to harsh and hurtful words. Remember that hurtful words cannot be taken back. Cutting words spoken in a moment of anger can diminish your loving connection.

Learn to say “I am sorry”. When you realize you've made a mistake, swallow your pride and apologize. Your spouse will love and respect you for your ability to own up to your mistakes.

Develop the ability to become an active listener and empathetic sounding board. Your spouse is not looking for you to solve their problems and rescue them. Most of all, they want you to be validating and supportive.

Become a more a flexible and accommodating person. Be willing to make concessions in order to reach a mutually satisfying consensus. To do this, you need to accept that your partner’s position is valid and legitimate. Don't let your pride and ego get in the way.

Schedule regular date nights with your spouse. Dates are wonderful opportunities to create shared memories with your spouse. It's critical that you break out of the monotony of your day-to-day life and inject fun and excitement into your relationship.

Good mental health is essential to a happy marriage. If you haven't worked out your issues, you may inadvertently displace negative emotions onto your spouse. If you're struggling with mood swings, an addiction, past trauma or overwhelming work stress, it might be helpful to get individual counseling so that your issues don't harm your marriage.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQS)

What's the difference between marriage counseling and therapy?

Marriage counseling and therapy both have their own unique approaches to helping couples improve their relationships. The primary difference between marriage counseling and therapy is the approach. Marriage counseling is a type of counseling that focuses on the relationship between two people, while therapy is more focused on the individual and their own personal growth.

Marriage counseling typically involves a counselor and a couple working together to identify the issues within the relationship and develop strategies to address them. The counselor might use exercises and activities to help the couple better understand each other’s needs and desires and come to a better understanding of their relationship. The counselor might also provide guidance on communication and conflict resolution, or suggest activities that can help strengthen the bond between the couple.

Therapy, on the other hand, is focused more on the individual than the relationship. The therapist typically works with the individual to address their own issues, such as depression, anxiety, or other mental health issues, and helps the individual develop coping strategies. The goal of therapy is to help the individual better understand themselves and their own thoughts and behaviors. It is not necessarily focused on improving the relationship or helping the couple understand each other better.

In conclusion, marriage counseling and therapy both have their own unique approaches to helping couples improve their relationship. Marriage counseling is more focused on the relationship itself, while therapy is more focused on the individual’s own personal growth. It is important to understand the differences between the two so that couples can choose the right approach for their needs.

What is the success rate of marriage counseling?

The success rate of marriage counseling varies depending on the situation, but it is generally accepted that it has a high rate of success. A study conducted in 2018 found that couples who received counseling improved their relationship satisfaction by an average of 70 percent. Additionally, couples who received marriage counseling were found to have a 50 percent lower risk of divorce compared to couples who did not receive counseling.

However, the success rate of marriage  counseling also depends on the couple's willingness to work together and their commitment to make lasting changes. If a couple is not willing to work together or follow through on the recommendations of the counselor, the success rate of marriage counseling will be lower. Ultimately, marriage counseling can be a valuable tool for improving relationships and communication, but the success rate is dependent on the couple's commitment to the process.

What should I look for in a marriage counselor?

When it comes to marriage counseling, it is best to seek out a qualified and experienced professional who specializes in marriage counseling. This means looking for a licenced counselor who has specialized training in helping couples navigate the complexities of their relationships. A counselor who has experience working with couples should be able to provide a safe and comfortable atmosphere to discuss the challenges they are facing and to help them work through their issues together. A marriage counselor should also be able to provide resources and guidance on how to best address and improve the dynamic between the two individuals.

Ultimately, the optimal counselor for couples is one who will be able to provide an effective, comprehensive, and compassionate approach to helping couples work through their issues and improve their relationship

Is marriage counseling worth it?

While there is no one definitive answer to this question, it is important to consider the potential benefits of marriage counseling. Marriage counseling can provide couples with the opportunity to openly discuss difficult issues in a safe and impartial environment. By doing so, couples can gain deeper insight into their relationship and learn how to better handle conflicts and differences. Additionally, marriage counseling can help couples develop better communication skills, allowing them to talk through their issues in a more productive manner. Furthermore, marriage counseling can equip couples with the skills and strategies to successfully navigate their marriage and work together to resolve any existing problems.

Ultimately, marriage counseling provides couples with an opportunity to gain greater understanding of each other and their relationship, as well as the tools to maintain a healthy and fulfilling marriage. Therefore, one can confidently say that marriage counseling is indeed worth it.

What not to say in marriage counseling?

Marriage counseling is a great way to address and resolve issues within a relationship. However, it is important to approach the counseling session with the right attitude and be aware of the type of language used. It is important to avoid derogatory remarks, as this can be damaging to the relationship. Additionally, one should strive to use language that is non-judgmental and respectful. It is also important to avoid using "you" statements that blame the other partner, as this can put them on the defensive. Instead, use "I" statements that express how the problem impacts you, and focus on finding a solution. Additionally, one should avoid name-calling and other hurtful language. The goal of marriage counseling is to provide a safe and supportive atmosphere for both partners, and it is important to remember to stay respectful and open-minded.