We Are: Marriage Counseling Specialists

Are the couples therapists at Emily Cook Therapy marriage counseling specialists? My husband and I know we need help, and we desperately want to improve our marriage, but we’re wondering — will you either promote marital commitment without consideration of the distress we feel…or will you be quick to advise us to split up because you think things are “too bad to stay”? We’ve read about marriage-friendly therapists, and we want real help, good help, balanced help.  

Couples therapy is considered one of the most difficult forms of therapy to deliver effectively. And although some psychologists, psychiatrists, clinical social workers, and mental health counselors are well-prepared in couples therapy, most who say they work with couples are self-taught or only workshop/continuing education trained. Without extensive and specific clinical skills training, these well-meaning but inexperienced “couples therapists” often will end up doing the two things you’re worried about: either blindly promoting commitment or allowing high conflict to destroy their capacity to hold hope for your future. Don’t get us wrong — these mental health professionals are good helpers, and they’re well-qualified to work with individuals. It’s just that couples therapy is different than individual therapy, and requires a different clinical training (that some, but not all, have).

You and your husband deserve to work with a marriage counseling specialist who has the background, training, and clinical experience to help you achieve positive results. You also deserve to work with a couples therapist who will use methods that are proven effective, who will not allow her own biases to influence the therapy, and who has deep respect for your autonomy and dignity as individuals and as married partners.

At Emily Cook Therapy, you can be confident you’re working with a marriage therapist who is highly-qualified to work with couples. Our practice specializes in helping couples at all relationship stages to repair and enrich their relationships. We believe too many marriages are stuck — in small ways like breakdowns in communication and in crisis-level ways like leaning towards divorce. We can help you get unstuck and everything we do as trained couple therapists flows from that goal.

We strongly believe that good couples therapy can help even the most stuck marriages. We fiercely hold hope for a positive, committed future. And we respectfully help couples separate when the decision to divorce has been thoughtfully made by the partners themselves.

As marriage counseling specialists, we ascribe to the following specific, important value statements:

  1. Because healthy marriage is a source of human flourishing for individuals, families, and communities, we affirm the unique value of marriage as a lifelong commitment.
  2. Because most troubled marriages can be restored to health if both partners apply yourselves vigorously to make that happen, our first stance as marriage counseling specialists is to help you preserve their marriage and find a path to a better relationship.
  3. Because love and fairness must go hand in hand, we promote the needs and goals of both partners.
  4. Because marriages have other stakeholders, especially children, we help couples see how others are affected by the success or failure of their marriage.
  5. Because some marriages become hazardous to health and well-being, we do not promote marital commitment blindly. Rather, we have high respect for safety (physical, emotional, and psychological) and human integrity.
  6. Because people have the ultimate responsibility to make their own decisions about staying married or divorcing, we respect these decisions even if they differ from what we hope for the couple or see as possible for your future.
  7. Because the stakes are often high when marriages are in distress, we seek consultation from trusted colleagues when we feel stuck in therapy or when the couple is moving toward what may be an unnecessary or premature divorce.


Contact expert couples counselors at Emily Cook Therapy to get started with couples therapy in Bethesda, MD today!