Couples may enter therapy to work through a crisis, adjust problematic dynamics, or deepen connection and intimacy. Whatever the circumstances, Dr. Pritzker aims to meet couples where they are and foster a non-judgmental environment conducive to growth. She believes couples have the potential to benefit from therapy at any stage of a relationship or phase of life. Dr. Pritzker welcomes couples of all ethnicities, cultures, genders, and sexual orientations. She recognizes each relationship is comprised of individuals with personal histories, traits, needs, and desires. At the same time, every couple is a unique dynamic with its own challenges and opportunities. Working effectively with couples means both honoring the parts and strengthening the whole. In her work with couples, Dr. Pritzker is especially attuned to communication patterns in the relationship. Other important topics in couple’s therapy may include parenting, family dynamics, infidelity, grief, substance use, life decision and transitions, work, and individual mental health concerns.
Each couple is different, and circumstances are unique. Ms. Philbert tailors a treatment plan and interventions based on the presenting issues for each client. Collaboratively, she works with clients on a range of issues from communication building, trust building, and intimacy restoration. Clients are given activities to engage and reinforce the skills obtained in session.
Ms. Sophia Walder-Hoge works with couples to improve communication and utilize existing individual and shared strengths. She works to create a safe space where couples can reflect on themselves, learn about each other, and become empowered to break from negative patterns. She begins treatment by exploring the couples’ individual and shared histories and supporting the collaborative identification of a strong treatment plan. Ms. Walder-Hoge supports the development of clear goals and a shared path forward through emphasizing conflict resolution, emotion regulation, kindness, skill acquisition for effective action, and enhancing feelings of connection. She believes that a willingness to sit with discomfort, explore difficult feelings, and being open to growth are immensely helpful for this process. Ms. Walder-Hoge strives to be non-partial, while also being empathic, genuine, and reflecting of choices.
Dr. Blakely Mulder works with couples to strengthen their communication and feelings of connection. She understands the stressors of daily life can often interfere with being our “best selves” in a relationship. Dr. Mulder strives to deepen couples’ feelings of connection to one another and enhance intimacy. She begins the couples therapy process by first allowing each person to reflect on where their relationship is today, and what changes they would like to create in themselves and see in their partner. Her goals and focus during therapy are strengthening connections, conflict resolution, emotional regulation, support and empathy, and minimizing ineffective and unproductive communication or behavior patterns. By creating goals, carving out time, reflecting on your partnership, and learning new skills, Dr. Mulder will help you grow closer together. Dr. Mulder welcomes couples of all ethnicities, cultures, genders, and sexual orientations.
Ms. Deja Buckner is passionate about guiding and assisting couples as they journey through life together. Ms. Buckner assesses the couple’s background and present concerns to gain insight on the root cause of their issues and then formulate a road map to arrive at their desired treatment goals. She creates a safe, warm, and judgment-free environment where both partners comfortably share their relationship issues, triumphs, and areas of improvement. Ms. Buckner values identifying strengths of the relationship, highlighting the positives, working to develop a positive/hopeful schema, relying on support systems, enhancing communication, building healthy intimacy, and working on individual self-improvement/self-perception as avenues to a stronger union.
Dr. Colleen Hamilton enjoys premarital therapy, and for married couples an early intervention, “preventive medicine” approach when experiencing difficulties. She encourages couples to come in early in their relationship to help develop excellent couple’s communication and interaction skills. This also helps couples identify possible topics that may become problematic, and allows these concerns to be addressed sooner rather than later. When problems do occur, she encourages couples to come in as soon as they realize the problem is not alleviating quickly; research has shown that people who get help for problems early on are more successful and therapy takes less time. If individual issues such as depression, stress/anxiety, anger management, high emotionality, or trauma are impacting the relationship, Dr. Hamilton can take a combined individual and couple’s sessions approach to address these concerns. As a child psychologist as well, if child/teen issues are impacting the couple’s relationship, she can help guide and coach the parents to effectively address the child-related issues and alleviate the stress on the couple.
Couples counseling/marriage therapy has been a primary specialty area for Dr. Lepage, and remains one of her favorite things to do. She has received specialized training from renowned psychologists to include: being part of an exclusive, personalized 9-hour 10-person training with Dr. Albert Ellis, a 2-day training with sex therapist Dr. Barry McCarthy, and a 2-day training with Drs. John & Julie Gottman.
Dr. Ratkalkar believes everyone deserves a satisfying, enjoyable and respectful relationship. She is an experienced couples therapist who supports couples in improving their communication without changing who they are. She is trained in Integrative Behavioral Couple Therapy (IBCT), an approach that values finding ways to make sustainable, meaningful changes and accepting one another, and she is a Certified Sex Therapist. Dr. Ratkalkar conducts thorough assessments to identify couples’ patterns, strengths, and areas for growth. She works closely with each couple to find the best place to start and gives guidance and suggestions from the very first session.
Ms. Cheryl Cohen is an interactive couples therapist who strives to bring forth strengths in the relationship and help minimize/improve the deficits. She is empathic, genuine and intuitive in nature. Cheryl will start by getting an in-depth assessment from the couple and each person individually, to have the most comprehensive information to work with when addressing the couple’s concerns. Healthy couples are a product of healthy individuals.
Dr. Alexandra Maestre aims to create a warm, non-judgmental, and empathic environment for couples. At the onset of treatment, she focuses on exploring with the couple the struggles that led them to seek therapy, while also highlighting the couple’s past successes and strengths that have helped them overcome obstacles. Dr. Maestre encourages each person to share their perception of the relationship and what they wish to achieve through therapy. In addition, she places great emphasis on communication and developing empathy for one another to reduce struggles, reconcile differences, and strengthen the relationship.
Ms. Hope Venetta enjoys working with couples and provides them with a safe, non-judgmental environment that allows them to identify issues causing distress in their relationship. Those issues may range from communication difficulties to life transition issues to infidelity. Broken trust, parenting differences, and an inability to resolve conflicts are also common difficulties that cause unhappiness and heartache. Ms. Veneta incorporates several therapeutic approaches in her work including Client-Centered, Humanistic, Cognitive-Behavioral, Behavior Management, and Psychoeducation, depending on the couple’s presenting issues. It is her belief that the most effective change happens when there is a therapeutic alliance of mutual trust and respect between the therapist and clients. One of Ms. Venetta’s special interests is premarital counseling. She is certified as a SYMBIS Facilitator (Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts).
Chapel Hill Office
Dr. Kevin Metz has a genuine and profound interest in working with couples. His work includes improving and strengthening communication skills before entering into marriage and helping couples work through and take control of deep-seated patterns of behavior and communication styles that cause conflict after years of marriage or partnership.
Telehealth Online Office
Throughout her career, Ms. Lesa Bridges has worked with couples in crisis and has extensive experience in managing relationship difficulties that can arise. Ms. Bridges understands that there are times in relationships that can be an uncertain, even very upsetting, and couples may benefit from professional intervention. By focusing on individual and family strengths, Ms. Bridges encourages her clients to seek common ground and solutions when and where possible with an emphasis on healthy outcomes. To accomplish this goal, she utilizes psychoeducation about family stress and positive communication skill-building. Ms. Bridges utilizes an eclectic therapy model based on couple’s needs. She is rostered and certified in Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT) which promotes improved self-regulation in times of discomfort, frustration, and crisis. By teaching mindfulness and positive coping skills along with other strategic interventions, Ms. Bridges assists the couples in healing and even strengthening their relationship.