Couples Counseling/Pre-Marital

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“I’m hoping the PoPville community can help with a recommendation for a good therapist/counselor for couples therapy (in general and pre-marital). I searched the Forum and picked up some tips on how to go through my work’s EAP program but no names/therapists were recommended (I’m hesitant to have us just go to the first person who pops up, upon a search through my EAP program–I’d love the chance to get recommendations/referrals from someone who has a good experience with a therapist/counselor in the area). Thanks for any help and insight; it’s much appreciated!”

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17 Comment

  • I highly recommend Jeff Maszal:
    He officiates weddings and does couples counseling. My husband and I had a wonderful experience working with him.

  • We used Lisa Smith for premarital counseling and really enjoyed working with her. There wasn’t a strict “premarital counseling” structure, but it was more guided than going to counseling for a specific issue. We felt that we came away with some good skills to use in the future and that our relationship was the better for it. She is relatively affordable, conveniently located in Dupont, and LGBT friendly.

  • I saw her post-nuptial, but thought she was pretty good:

    But there’s also some other places that you might want to look at:

    * Too Good to Leave, Too Bad to Stay:

    * An Open Letter to Shitty Husbands:

    I found those two resources to help me flesh out some of the marital issues that I had and help me to really think about the pro’s and con’s of staying. The Too Good to Leave book was also a favorite of my spouse.

    I wish you the best of luck in making the best decision for you.

  • Most pastors, officiants etc offer pre-marital counseling prior to signing a marriage certificate and actually conducting the ceremony.

  • My husband and I saw Frank Abate (,LPC_Washington_District+of+Columbia_72540) before we were married. He made a huge difference in our relationship (we both had various challenges with commitment, etc.) and was a guest at our wedding 🙂 Best of luck.

  • Just out of curiosity, is this a pretty common thing that a lot of people do before marriage? I’m guessing it’s a lot like some of the sacramental stuff my wife and I had to go through as Catholics, before we could tie the knot.

    • Very common among practicing Christians. Should be comprehensive and cover all the major issues that can come up in marriage (finances, sex, children, family, work, addictions, “your past,” etc.)

  • I would highly recommend Dr. Emily Cook in Bethesda. We did the five 90 minute sessions of the Prepare/Enrich curriculum and really enjoyed it. She also officiates weddings. She offers appointments on weeknights and Sundays, which is was very helpful scheduling-wise.

  • You’ll want to see a Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT) for the best couples’ counseling. They are interpersonal relationship experts (romantic, familial, and social) and are the most qualified to work with couples, as that is the premise of their clinical training. I am a resident in MFT (completing my post-graduate clinical hours working towards licensure) and see couples at a reduced rate. You can find LMFTs through the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy website ( to see clinicians near you. Call a couple clinicians to get a sense of who you want to go with and the first couple sessions will be the clinician 1) assessing your needs, 2) assessing their ability to provide the services you both want, and 3) your guys’ assessment of the “fit”.
    I applaud you and your partner’s desire to go to therapy to learn more about each other – it will help set you guys up for a strong long-term relationship! It amazes me how many couples get married without talking about pretty important life values and goals (what it means to be ‘married’, finances, sex, desire to become parents, etc). Good for you guys 🙂

  • You guys are all so nice! All I could think of were snarky comments, like why are you using your real name and if you need couples counseling maybe you shouldn’t be getting married?! Nice to see a POPville thread that keeps it classy. I am ashamed.

    • Re. “if you need couples counseling maybe you shouldn’t be getting married” — I think the idea is often not to repair problems per se, but to prevent future problems from happening by making sure that both parties are on the same page about important things — and that if they’re not on the same page, that they know that up front.

  • I’m a big fan of Drs. John and Julie Gottman and their couples therapy work. While they are based in Seattle, they do a lot of weekend workshops, and they offer their courses on DVD. My husband and I did their Art & Science of Love prior to our wedding. We also went to a refresher weekend at some spot near Baltimore before our first child was born. There are Gottman certified therapists in the metro area which you can find on their website.

    It might not be the route you were thinking of going, but I’ve had a really hard time finding therapists who have openings here in DC, and I have great insurance. So, having the weekend option or the DVD’s to do at home have been excellent options for my husband and I! Congratulations, and good for you for being pro-active!!!

  • Though not a replacement for personal, one-on-one counseling, I highly recommend that you check out the fantastic teaching and counseling resources available from the ministry “Marriage Today” by Jimmy and Karen Evans out of Texas. Whether you share their beliefs or not, you will find sound, relevant, and practical guidance and advice to establish, nurture, and maintain a healthy marriage. Check your tv listings for one of their daily broadcasts and peruse their website for more helpful resources.

  • I agree the a MFT (marriage and family therapist) is a great place to start. AAMFT has a great database. But for a good referral in this area, I recommend She was trained in one the best programs in the country and her approach to therapy is really valuable. Check her out and see if she is a good fit for you. Best of luck to you and your partner!

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