Marriage Counseling NJ

Marriage Counseling NJ

Garrett Coan, LCSW

Marriage Counseling NJ Practice: Healing Couples For Over 20 Years

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Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy

Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy (EFCT) is a counseling 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.

In my marriage counseling NJ practice, I use this approach to help couples better understand their own emotional reactions and those of their significant other. I help the couple create feelings of safety, security, and intimacy so that both partners can be emotionally vulnerable and supportive of one another.

The underlying premise of emotionally focused couples therapy is the principle that people are healthier and happier when their need for emotional connection is fulfilled. This is accomplished when people feel safe and secure in their romantic relationship. 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 partners begin to perceive their counterparts as unable to fulfill their emotional needs, they become embroiled in destructive communication and behavior patterns. These patterns are further fueled by persistent, yet futile, attempts to get the one’s partner to validate one’s thoughts and feelings.

It is oftentimes very difficult for you and your partner to understand what causes and maintains your conflicts. Emotionally focused couples therapy 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 Couples Therapy rectifies these attachment-related insecurities by teaching both partners how interact with one other in more caring, sensitive and emotionally connected ways. This leads to a strong and secure attachment.

What Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy 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, the counselor 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 these feelings in an atmosphere of empathy and compassion, the sense of safety and connection within the relationship is strengthened.

The end goal of Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy is for the couple to become skilled at expressing their underlying attachment needs when encountering disagreement and conflict. During periods of  such 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 Couples Therapy has been widely studied and there currently exists strong empirical evidence demonstrating its effectiveness. The research studies show that couples who received EFCT feel more satisfied and less distressed in their relationship. Moreover, follow-up studies indicate that the positive effects of Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy persist for years after therapy has ended.

Are You Frustrated and Unhappy in Your Relationship?

 My Marriage Counseling NJ Practice Helps Couples Heal and Grow

In my marriage counseling NJ practice, I help 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.

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. 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!

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.

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Has Infidelity Undermined Your Relationship?

Discovery of infidelity triggers shock and anger which then leads to a powerful sense of betrayal, rejection and shame. 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.

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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.

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Is Your Relationship Characterized 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. I will also show you how to “agree to disagree” while maintaining a tone of mutual respect.

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Are Conflicts Over Money Affecting Your Relationship?

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.

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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 respective 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.

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Do You Find It Very Difficult to Tolerate Your Partner’s Quirks 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. Couples also learn to appreciate how their strengths and weaknesses complement one 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.

What People Are Saying

I had the pleasure of collaborating with Garrett on a number of clients. I can tell you that he is an excellent therapist. He is very warm and develops a strong rapport with people. Most importantly, he is highly skilled at helping individuals and couples work through the issues that stand in the way of greater happiness and fulfillment. I highly recommend him to anyone seeking to improve their relationships or quality of life.

Laura Limond, LCSW

He’s great, loved our session and we are looking forward to continue working with him. Highly recommend him.

Arlene Olivier

I had the pleasure of working with Garrett for several years and witnessed his commitment and compassion to his work and his clients. Garrett has experience working with adults, couples, families and children struggling with stage of life issues to more problematic behavioral health problems. Regardless of the severity of the problem Garrett’s approach was always compassionate, caring and dedicated. He is a skilled clinician that I would certainly recommend.

Staela Keegan, LCSW, LCADC

Garrett Coan is a respectful, professional therapist. He is a good listener, is easy to talk to and is able to create open dialogue. He is non-judgmental and has experience working with people of all ages and backgrounds.

Brenda Nikelsberg, Ackerman Institute for the Family

I worked with Garrett for three years and found him to be a caring and effective therapist. He works hard to empower each of his clients to find the right path for themselves whether he is working with children, adults, or couples. Whether you are considering therapy for the first time or have been in treatment before, I can highly recommend Garrett’s supportive approach.

Anne Maberry, LCSW

Garrett is a skilled and experienced clinician. He thinks “outside the box” and comes up with creative ways to help people overcome their challenges. Garrett’s concern for each client is evident in the caring approach he takes. I highly recommend Garrett as an excellent therapist.

Heather Feigin, LCSW

I worked with Garrett and I have to say he is a wonderful clinician. He has great insight into clients and has a variety of solutions to offer clients. He is very professional and cares about his clients. I would highly recommend Garrett to anyone that is dealing with issues and would like assistance to change!

Nicole McLaughlin

Garrett is a warm, compassionate, thoughtful and experienced psychotherapist. I recommend him highly to anyone looking for couples, family or individual therapy.

Johanna Rosenfield, LSW

I’ve had the pleasure of working with Garrett for about 3 years now and I find him to be very passionate about his work with clients. His caring, supportive and friendly nature make him easy to get along with. He works with all ages- including families, couples, and groups, and is eager to help his clients work through any struggles they may be facing. I would highly recommend Garrett as a therapist!

Jessica Martinez, LPC

I have worked with Garrett for a number of years and he has continuously proven to be a knowledgeable and caring therapist. He has the experience and skills to work with all clients ranging from individual adults to couples to children and families. Throughout the course of therapy, Garrett helps clients to overcome their unique barriers and obstacles so that they can move forward, more confidently with their lives. I would recommend Garrett to anyone who is struggling and in need of a helping hand. Charles Smith, MSW, LSW

Charles Smith, LSW

I currently work with Garrett and find that he is a compassionate clinician who is truly concerned about the well-being of his clients. Garrett is experienced working with clients of all ages, as well as couples counseling and groups. Garrett is open-minded and adaptive making him able to partner with clients through the life stage changes and difficult situations we all face. I highly recommend Garrett if you are looking for a therapist. Carlo Salgado-Russo MSW LSW

Carlo Salgado-Russo, LSW