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Couples


Perhaps your relationship is on the rocks, and has been for what feels like an eternity. Or, maybe your relationship feels pretty solid, but you’ve been hit by a crisis and are looking for the guidance of a professional. Or, things may feel flat and distant and you’re not sure how to bridge the abyss and desire a tune-up.

Whatever the reason, whichever season, no matter the length or structure of your partnership, we are here to help by providing a fresh, impartial outlook in an encouraging and safe space to explore the challenges you are facing.

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Couples


Perhaps your relationship is on the rocks, and has been for what feels like an eternity. Or, maybe your relationship feels pretty solid, but you’ve been hit by a crisis and are looking for the guidance of a professional. Or, things may feel flat and distant and you’re not sure how to bridge the abyss and desire a tune-up.

Whatever the reason, whichever season, no matter the length or structure of your partnership, we are here to help by providing a fresh, impartial outlook in an encouraging and safe space to explore the challenges you are facing.

Couples Counseling: The When’s, Why’s & What’s

When will I know it’s a good time to start? Will couples counseling make things worse? Is our relationship too far gone for help? How can anyone help us? Excellent questions! We know the idea of needing couples counseling can be a hard, difficult and even scary truth to admit to ourselves. There is a natural apprehension of what might happen if we face our issues head-on. Because of that, couples often put it off a long time, allowing discord, disconnection and disagreements to get worse and worse.

Chances are that if you are on this page, you are likely in a time in your life where couples work with a therapist would be helpful.

If you notice any of the following in your relationship, now is a good time to get started in therapy:

 Come on in...Couples counseling is not nearly as scary as you may think it is.

Come on in...Couples counseling is not nearly as scary as you may think it is.

  • Communication breakdowns
  • Repetition of arguments and past hurts
  • Escalation of fights or an inability to solve conflict on your own
  • Resentment or contempt replacing patience and kindness
  • Trust issues or loss
  • Reduced sexual activity and desire
  • Active or history of physical or emotional affairs
  • Differing opinions of what is needed out of the relationship or where it’s headed

The couples counselors at Therapy Austin are trained to help with each of these concerns, and experienced and adept in guiding you gently and thoughtfully through this journey.

Couples counseling is designed to be a process of re-establishing a vision of your relationship, while integrating ideals of each partner, and thereby creating a stronger bond. Once you get started, you could likely find couples sessions to be hopeful and exciting opportunities to engage with your partner in rebuilding a purposeful alliance. Through exploration and modification, our goal is to better equip our couples with the tools and opportunity to restore and enrich meaningful growth, attachment and love. In service of that, we commonly work in these additional areas:

 You open the door, and we will guide you the rest of the way.

You open the door, and we will guide you the rest of the way.

  • Assertiveness
  • Boundaries
  • Shared role identification
  • Unified work and life balance
  • Finances
  • Parenting
  • Adoption and infertility
  • Family and in-law discord
  • Cohabitation strains
  • Premarital counseling

Our role and style as therapists will vary by individual, but each of the Therapy Austin counselors strives to provide:

  • A safe haven where openness and honesty are gently encouraged and facilitated, while fears of judgment and reprisal are gradually distinguished.
  • An active stance and collaborative approach in providing honest feedback and directives for healthy ways to communicate and connect.
  • A space to explore and practice newly acquired skills, techniques and styles of relating to replace old hurtful patterns identified in this process.

The possibilities of repairing or rejuvenating your relationship are within your reach. We are ready when you are to take this next step.

Marriage & couples counselors of therapy austin

Read through our couples counselors’ bios below to see who you might like to work with. Indicate your preference on our Get Started page or you may directly contact that therapist. 

Nicole Couples


Nicole Couples


Nicole Williams, LPC

STAFF COUNSELOR

 Nicole works at  ANNEX & NORTH   Call her at 512/201-4501, ext. 181

Nicole works at ANNEX & NORTH

Call her at 512/201-4501, ext. 181

As humans, we strive for companionship, and being able to find a partner to share your life with is a fundamental goal for many people.  In that sense, those of us who strive for companionship seek a relationship that is emotionally and mentally healthy, and couples counseling is a modality in which the couple can work through current issues or learn successful skills prior to issues occurring. Nicole provides a safe, non-judgmental space where couples can discuss relationship concerns and emotions and learn to not only effectively communicate with their partner, but also how to listen and properly interpret what their partner is attempting to convey.  Nicole works with couples to identify transitions in their relationship and how to adapt to those transitions in a mindful way that allows for each partner’s needs to be met. Nicole also works with couples where behavioral health diagnoses are influencing the dynamics of the relationship, particularly if the diagnosis is a personality disorder.  Much of her work is communication-focused, emotion-focused, and systems-focused couples work. Learn more about Nicole here.

Audrey Couples


Audrey Couples


AUDREY O'GORMAN, LPC, LMFT ASSOCIATE
SUPERVISED BY BILL WOODBURN, M.ED., LMFT-S, LPC-S

 Audrey works at  NORTH   Call her at 512/201-4501, ext. 116

Audrey works at NORTH

Call her at 512/201-4501, ext. 116

Audrey relishes working with couples because healthy relationships are essential to a life well lived, and mutually respectful and nurturing intimacy brings with it some of life's greatest satisfaction. If she can help people get closer to what they seek in that arena, then Audrey calls that a pretty good day's work. She works with couples with all sorts of issues, and especially welcomes working with couples who are challenged with individual mental health diagnoses, including ADHD, depression, anxiety and bipolar disorder. Such diagnoses bring with them particular challenges for partners and families which can be successfully addressed so as to avoid undue stress on primary relationships. Her approach tends to put her in the role of guide, not schoolteacher, and she possesses a frank but non-judgmental style. Her orientation is an eclectic mix of Gottman principles, Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy and Psychodrama. Audrey would love to explore the possibilities of doing some work together, and you can discover more about her here.

Gina Couples


Gina Couples


gina rodriguez, lpc, lmft associate
supervised by gena minnix, ph.d., lpc-s, lmft-s

counselor and training coordinator

 Gina works at  NORTH   Call her at 512/201-4501, ext. 129

Gina works at NORTH

Call her at 512/201-4501, ext. 129

Gina recognizes the deep hope for more from your relationship and desire to enhance a greater sense of unity. Combining candidness with dashes of wit, she provides couples with direction to strengthen harmony by increasing ways to discuss and create responsiveness to one another’s perspective, feelings and needs. She has received training in and draws from the Gottman Method, which is a research-based approach that helps inform the communication skills and techniques she coaches in sessions. She additionally helps identify interaction patterns that are maintaining tension and brainstorms with you avenues to adjust these. Gina is confident through guided intentional dialogue in sessions, increased trust and support can be nurtured in couples, while an improved ability to manage stress responses are made possible in your work with her. Please learn more about her here

 

Madeline Couples


Madeline Couples


Madeline Turner, LMFT Associate
Supervised by Diana Walla, LPC-S, LMFT-S

 Madeline works at  NORTH   Call her at 512/201-4501, ext. 169

Madeline works at NORTH

Call her at 512/201-4501, ext. 169

Madeline provides a safe space where you and your partner are the experts and can explore your goals and ideal functioning of your relationship. She views relationship strengths are one of the most important factors in couples therapy, and skillfully assists you in renewing these strengths in sessions. Playing on the resilient qualities in a couple, she uses Gottman principals of strengthening bonds, and emotionally focused techniques to tap into those strong reactions we have when we encounter relational stress. This allows each partner to slow down and begin to untangle months and years of displeasing patterns that couples get stuck in. Discover more about her approach here.

Maggie Couples


Maggie Couples


MARY MARGARET “MAGGIE” BEHLE, LMSW
SUPERVISED BY AMANDA GANE, LCSW

 Maggie works at  MAIN, ANNEX & NORTH   Call her at 512/201-4501, ext. 189

Maggie works at MAIN, ANNEX & NORTH

Call her at 512/201-4501, ext. 189

Every relationship experiences conflict, but what is important is how we learn from that conflict and work toward understanding and supporting one another. Rupture in relationships is unavoidable, but repairing those hard moments or missteps is how we become stronger and more compassionate people. Maggie believes that all relationships are a site for growth and self-actualization and also often where our hardest emotions and past unwanted patterns emerge. It is easy to feel in a rut with a partner or stuck in a pattern that is inescapable. Therapy can be a great place for someone else to give fresh eyes to a situation and help a relationship move towards compassion, love and future goals. Maggie is experienced with and loves to work with people in open relationships, LGBTQ couples and any relationship that faces difference. With that in mind, she also loves working with parents facing unexpected challenges including adoption, fertility issues, family planning, identity or role changes and parents with children with disabilities. Life is not always what we expect and desire, and neither are our relationships. Couples counseling or relationship therapy is an act of love for someone we are dedicated to walk with through the peaks and valleys of life. Maggie would love to help you enrich your relationship and be the partners or parents you envision. Learn more about Maggie here.

Alex Couples


Alex Couples


Alexandrea "Alex" Barnette, LMFT Associate
Supervised by Blake Howard Norton, LMFT-S

 Alex works at  MAIN & ANNEX   Call her at 512/201-4501, ext. 140

Alex works at MAIN & ANNEX

Call her at 512/201-4501, ext. 140

Relationships matter more under stress, yet they tend to function worse because of it. When the stakes are high, partners unknowingly tend to do more of the same. If you feel stuck having the same conflict, maybe it’s time to try something different. When you learn how to change your relationship in therapy, you learn how to change your relationship outside of therapy. Alex helps couples create change and tackle complex issues. Her approach is experiential, systemic, and collaborative, and primarily draws from family systems theory, attachment theory, and the Gottman Method. In working with Alex, you'll examine your relationship on multiple levels—intellectual, emotional, behavioral, and interactional. Relationships are hard work, but they are not impossible. Counseling is a great opportunity to improve communication and build a stronger connection. Learn more about working with Alex here.

 

Corinne Couples


Corinne Couples


CORINNE BAILEY, LMSW
SUPERVISED BY MARY LYNN MARINUCCI, LCSW

 Corinne works at  NORTH   Call her at 512/201-4501, ext. 188

Corinne works at NORTH

Call her at 512/201-4501, ext. 188

With couples, Corinne recognizes that each member of the relationship holds diverse identities, communication styles, boundaries, values and goals. She believes that partnerships deepen with trust, respect, shared intimacy and emotional understanding. Through the Gottman Model, Emotionally-Focused Therapy, attachment theory, and feminism, you and your partner(s) can rediscover the motivation to address recurring issues and make lasting changes. Corinne will encourage you to renew your sacred connection with your partner(s) by rebuilding friendship and challenge you to embrace vulnerability. Learn more about working with Corinne here.

Jen B Couples


Jen B Couples


Jennifer "Jen" Braafladt, LPC Intern
Supervised by Dena Roberts, Ph.D., LPC-S

 Jen works at  NORTH   Call her at 512/201-4501, ext. 168

Jen works at NORTH

Call her at 512/201-4501, ext. 168

Jen enjoys working with couples because it can be challenging and rewarding at the same time. Often couples seek counseling when they feel stuck and need a compassionate, non-judgmental space to slow down and address some of the underlying issues and emotions that are keeping them from feeling connected.  She is trained in the Gottman Method for Couples Therapy and has completed Level I and II trainings. This method utilizes 40 years of research on what makes partnerships successful, and incorporates insight and skills to help couples work through conflict and increase friendship and intimacy. As a therapist, Jen can help you discover the strengths in your relationship and help structure your communication techniques surrounding conflict. She has plenty of energy for couples work and incorporates humor and mindfulness into the sessions when appropriate. Learn more about her approach here.

Steve Couples


Steve Couples


STEVE CHENEY, LPC INTERN
SUPERVISED BY JOHN. L. GARCIA, ED.D., LPC-S

 Steve works at  MAIN, ANNEX & NORTH   Call him at 512/201-4501, ext. 172

Steve works at MAIN, ANNEX & NORTH

Call him at 512/201-4501, ext. 172

The experience of being a stepfather, husband, and professional counselor has enabled Steve to combine personal experience and clinical training to support couples seeking therapy. It is very common for couples to report communication concerns, particularly when expressing unpleasant emotions such as frustration, fear, anxiety, and sadness. He works to provide a safe and inviting environment in a stable and consistent manner to identify each partner’s concerns within the relationship and to promote more effective communication. This provides the opportunity for each partner to learn more about the other, in addition to creating more effective ways of interacting. Some of the other potential benefits of relationship therapy are increased self-awareness, greater capacity for empathy, and a more authentic connection with ourselves and others. To discover more about him and to see about working together, click here.

Paige Couples


Paige Couples


Paige Majko, LCDC, CDWF, LPC Intern
Supervised by Sunny Diana Lansdale, Ph.D., LPC Supervisor

 Paige works at  ANNEX   Call Paige at 512/201-4501, ext. 179

Paige works at ANNEX

Call Paige at 512/201-4501, ext. 179

Paige wholeheartedly believes that human beings have the need for connection and secure attachment. This is necessary across the lifespan, not just in infancy and early childhood. Securely attached adults can better withstand physical pain than those with insecure attachments and neurological research suggests that humans need secure relationships in order to emotionally self-regulate. Many times, when couples present to therapy they report being stuck in a cycle of repetitive arguments, lack of communication, loss of trust and the desire for safety within the relationship.  Paige works with both individuals to help restore and empower each partners’ needs so the bond and connection can be strengthened and reach its maximum potential.  Paige is a Certified Daring Way Facilitator and utilizes the research of Brené Brown in her couples work, building shame resilience while increasing self-compassion and empathy.  She also integrates Intergenerational and Bowenian theory, encouraging differentiation and autonomy while being mindful of emotional needs, vulnerability and attachment longings. Often the ones we love the most are the ones we hurt the most. Paige works with couples to restore balance and harmony within the system. Click here to learn more about Paige.

Sue Couples


Sue Couples


SUSAN “SUE” NAZAR, LPC INTERN
SUPERVISED BY BRITTANY NEECE, LPC-S, LMFT-S

 Sue works at  ANNEX   Call Sue at 512/201-4501, ext. 176

Sue works at ANNEX

Call Sue at 512/201-4501, ext. 176

Sue believes that humans are born with an innate ability to be relational and connective, and without connection, we cannot thrive. She can work with you on difficulties with intimacy or differences around sexual desire, and fear around how life transitions such as retirement and job changes will affect your relationship. She is passionate about keeping relationships alive and growing to help her clients have meaningful relationships, live longer, and have healthier lives. Are you envisioning collaborating with Sue? Learn more about her here

Katie Bart Couples


Katie Bart Couples


Katherine “Katie” Bartley, LMSW
Supervised by Pamela Malone, Ph.D., LCSW, FT

 Katie works at  MAIN, ANNEX & NORTH   Call her at 512/201-4501, ext. 166

Katie works at MAIN, ANNEX & NORTH

Call her at 512/201-4501, ext. 166

Katie is a fraternal twin and often likens her twin relationship to being a couple. There are two distinct and unique individuals trying to be heard and vying for space, respect, intimacy, friendship, attention, acknowledgment and love in a world where “couple” is often assumed to be the same. You are not the same and thus relationships aren’t always cohesive and joyful. They can be work and they can be very difficult, even in the best of times. Katie hopes to work with you during whatever challenging season your relationship might be in, or just to check in for some routine maintenance to keep your relationship healthy and strong. Similar to her work with individuals, Katie seeks to create a safe, gracious, authentic and validating space for couples. She has experience with the Gottman Method and Bowen theory, and firmly believes that family systems and dynamics, communication styles and expectations greatly impact our relationships. Learn about her here

Janet Couples


Janet Couples


Janet Kircher, lpc intern, LMFT Associate
Supervised by Ron Artis, Ph.D., LPC-S, LMFT-S

 Janet works at  MAIN & ANNEX   Call her at 512/201-4501, ext. 171

Janet works at MAIN & ANNEX

Call her at 512/201-4501, ext. 171

Janet helps partners navigate the tricky waters of modern love; to learn where one person ends and the other begins, to distinguish the 'me' and the 'we' in the relationship. Couples today are faced with more challenges than ever before. We expect and ask so much of our partners and even more of ourselves, and thus are devastated by the inevitable disappointments that come with long term commitments. Relationship strains, however, can provide the opportunity to heal and strengthen the bonds that brought the couple together in the first place. Janet’s aim is to guide the problem-solving process by fostering secure connection, and to teach couples how to be experts on each other and how to deal with conflict and gridlock when it arises. She offers a place where couples can unpack their hurts and learn a new way of being with each other. When partners know how to connect safely, communicate effectively, and give each other what they need, they are better equipped to deal with challenges, and more likely to stay together. There is more than one 'right' way to do partnership, and couples therapy is an exploration of how you and your significant other can make the relationship work for you. Read more how Janet works here.

Sarah Couples


Sarah Couples


Sarah Akunebu, LMFT Associate
Supervised by Patricia Koch, Ph.D., LMFT-S

 Sarah works at  NORTH   Call her at 512/201-4501, ext. 144

Sarah works at NORTH

Call her at 512/201-4501, ext. 144

With couples, Sarah wonders: “What is it that each partner is saying to the other...and how?” Communication is an ongoing, intricate process and whether verbal or nonverbal, we are always communicating what is going on within us! Sarah believes that behind communication lies a wealth of unexpressed needs and unacknowledged emotions - personal qualities that need to be brought to fruition through a healing connection with another. Couples are guided toward realizing the needs they have individually, the needs they share as a couple, and reflecting on the powerful emotional experiences within. From these needs comes the information used for finding possibilities in healing what is between the pair, thus adding to the strengths they already have. Things are kept direct and honest, but always from a place of warmth. Sarah trusts that this way keeps process easily flowing and that even the most difficult of conflicts can be looked at from a heart-centered place. Additionally, exploration of a couple’s attachment style, life transitions, current family relationships and cultural background help build an understanding of how they play roles in their dynamic. Sarah holds hope alongside couples until they too can reclaim it for themselves. To find out more about Sarah, please click here.

Joseph Couples


Joseph Couples


JOSEPH PORTER, LPC, LMFT ASSOCIATE, NCC
SUPERVISED BY DEREK LEIGHTON, LPC-S, LMFT-S, NCC

Counselor and facilities specialist 

 Joseph works at  MAIN & ANNEX   Call him at 512/201-4501, ext. 134

Joseph works at MAIN & ANNEX

Call him at 512/201-4501, ext. 134

Joseph establishes an environment where couples will join with each other to construct a safe, more relaxed space where each partner can feel heard, understood, and validated. He enters the couple’s world and focuses on developing a richer, fuller picture of their experience. He helps couples learn new and more productive ways of expressing personal needs, desires, concerns and differences of opinion so that they may become more united. Joseph works to partner with a couple to explore moments of conflict, and actively supports the couple in turning towards each other to address and resolve issues rather than retreating to defensive positions and familiar patterns of coping. Through this process, couples overcome isolation and move to connectedness while remaining emotionally engaged. Joseph has completed Level I Training in Gottman Method Couples Therapy and incorporates this in his work. He also utilizes Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy. Discover more about him here.

Jode Couples


Jode Couples


Jode Edwards, LMSW
Supervised by Christine Winston, LCSW

Counselor and Practice Coordinator

 Jode works at  ANNEX & NORTH   Call her at 512/201-4501, ext. 152

Jode works at ANNEX & NORTH

Call her at 512/201-4501, ext. 152

Whether going through a difficult period and looking for ways to return to each other or seeking premarital counseling, Jode believes there is nothing more vulnerable or more rewarding than our most intimate and primary relationships. From an Attachment and Emotion-Focused perspective, Jode works with couples to identify the attachment strategy for each partner. In this way, couples learn how to turn toward each other to strengthen the relationship, find emotional soothing, and provide a safe and secure attachment for the overall well-being of the relationship. She utilizes the Gottman Method to help the couple recognize communication pitfalls and discover new ways of communicating in order to strengthen the couple’s friendship, intimacy, and bond. Read more about her here.

Roxanne Couples


Roxanne Couples


ROXANNE watson, LPC

COUNSELOR AND assistant director

 Roxanne works at  NORTH   Call her at 512/201-4501, ext. 114

Roxanne works at NORTH

Call her at 512/201-4501, ext. 114

When working with couples, Roxanne first helps to identify the strengths in the relationship. This process can at times be difficult and she understands the importance of building hope and stability at the beginning of your work together. She will then explore areas of potential growth and change. She has completed Level I training in Gottman Couples Therapy and uses this method in her work. This approach strengthens conflict management, enhances the friendship system and creates shared meaning for the couple, all of which she is skilled in promoting within partnerships. Visit her full bio here.

Claire PB Couples


Claire PB Couples


CLAIRE PERELLA BAXTER, LCSW

Counselor and communications coordinator
 

 Claire works at  NORTH   Call her at 512/201-4501, ext. 103

Claire works at NORTH

Call her at 512/201-4501, ext. 103

In working with couples, Claire offers a safe space to communicate needs and desires in a direct way, and for individuals to recognize and express underlying hurt. Claire works to allow partners to rebuild trust and work as a team, rather than against one another, to break down the troublesome patterns and cycles of conflict that become routine and automatic. Through this work, couples will practice being vulnerable with each other in new ways and experience emotions in the room. Claire facilitates the exploration of blocks to intimacy and emotional connection, including experiential differences from childhood and earlier relationships. Couples find Claire to be empathic and supportive while also being active and directive in identifying the hard stuff and shifting into openness for change. Click here to read more about her.