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Marriage and Couples Counseling at ACT
of New York:
Rebuilding the Ties that Brought You Together

Whether your relationship is in trouble, or you just want to make sure it stays strong, Advanced Cognitive Therapy of New York can help provide the “cure” for your relationship distress. Your therapist at Advanced Cognitive Therapy combines the latest advances in scientifically proven marriage and couples therapy.

Will Couples Counseling at ACT of New York Help My Relationship?

  • Receive results from an expert therapist who can predict with 94% accuracy if your relationship is headed for separation, without an intervention from the therapist.
  • Expect the highest probability of improving your relationship of any couples therapy, with a recovery rate of 70 to 73 percent for distressed couples (compared to less than 50% for the only other two couples therapy methods shown to be effective). 90% of recovered couples experience significant improvement.
  • Make lasting changes. Three years after couples therapy is completed, relapse rates are extremely low, compared to high relapse rates one year after the only other two validated couples therapy methods are completed.

How Will My Relationship Improve?

  • Communicate and manage conflict more effectively.
  • Build and maintain connection, love, and respect.
  • Improve the quality of sex, romance, and passion.
  • Engage in constructive, rather than destructive, conflicts.
  • Identify what matters most to each other. Support each other’s hopes and aspirations and build a sense of purpose in each other’s lives together.
  • Reduce the risk of relapsing into the same old patterns.

What is the Couples Counseling Process at ACT of
New York?

The Couples Therapy Process at ACT of New York starts with three (3) Assessment Sessions, followed by Intervention Sessions (8 to 20, on average). The process is:

  • One conjoint assessment session of 45 minutes.
  • One individual assessment session per partner, 45 minutes each.
  • One conjoint assessment/feedback session of 45 minutes. During the feedback session, your therapist works with you to set goals to help your relationship thrive.
  • Intervention conjoint sessions of 45 minutes. After the initial three assessment sessions, 8 to 20 intervention sessions (on average) are completed. The intervention sessions are designed to meet your goals for your relationship. The therapist focuses in sessions to help you rebuild your relationship outside of sessions, with the goal of helping you significantly improve your relationship in the shortest duration possible.

How Do I Know if My Relationship is in Danger?
At ACT of New York, you will learn to identify six relationship “breakers” that, if not addressed, accurately predict the eventual dissolution of a rela-tionship. For instance, eye-rolling after a partner’s comments is a strong predictor of separation. Couples who separate early in the relationship are volatile and negative. Relationships that end later can be marked by sup-pressed emotions—sitting together in a restaurant but not talking.

You can work with your expert therapist at Advanced Cognitive Therapy to "inoculate" your relationship against separation by seeking therapy early in the relationship, long before a major crisis hits. But even if your relationship has high risk factors for separation, that doesn't mean it is doomed. In the therapy process at Advanced Cognitive Therapy, the level of distress the couple is experiencing upon entering couples therapy is rarely (less than 4%) a predictor for the successful outcome of couples therapy.

During the intervention sessions, you can develop the “antidotes” to the six relationship breakers. You can learn to foster respect, affection, and closeness. Every day, you can create romance with your partner, generate greater understanding, keep conflict discussions calm, break through and end conflict gridlock, and maintain the gains of your relationship.

Your therapist works with you to first create initial rapid dramatic change in the problematic areas of your relationship, and then to follow up with structured change in your relationship.

What are the Interventions to Help My
Relationship Improve?
If your relationship is in distress, you and your partner may be creating habitual patterns that become self-reinforcing and take on a life of their own. A cycle is created in the relationship that may affect all aspects of your lives together, defining the way you experience each other. In distress, you and your partner may respond to each other in intense, rigid, negative ways. While both of you may act on your basic needs for protection, safety, and closeness in the best ways you know how, you may not see how difficult it becomes for both of you to respond to each other’s needs in healthy ways. The therapist at Advanced Cognitive Therapy will passionately work with you and your partner to create and experience a new relationship cycle together. You and your partner can interact with each other using new patterns that foster equality, trust, and closeness, and help you experience each other in a new, connecting way.

What are the Latest Technologies that can Help Me?
You and your partner can take advantage of the latest technologies to rapidly improve your relationship at Advanced Cognitive Therapy. With your consent, interactions between you and your partner can be digitally recorded, followed by an immediate playback and analysis by your therapist. Strengths in the relationship can be built on, and difficulties confronted. Unobtrusive biofeedback heart-rate monitors help you and your partner gain insight into physiological effects you experience during difficult interactions, and skills are employed to help you and your partner counter their negative effects on your relationship. Your therapist helps both of you develop interventions so that you can recover from difficult interactions and limit damage to your relationship.

Unobtrusive biofeedback heart-rate monitors help you and your partner gain insight into physiological effects you experience during difficult interactions, and skills are employed to help you and your partner counter their negative effects on your relationship. Your therapist helps both of you develop interventions so that you can recover from difficult interactions and limit damage to your relationship.

Is My Relationship Bad for My Health?
If you stay in an unhealthy relationship without confronting the distress, you and your partner face a significantly increased risk for exacting an enormous toll on your mental and physical health, according to the latest research. Anxiety, depression, and high blood pressure are correlated with troubled relationships. People who stay in a happy relationship live, on average, four years longer than people in distressed relationships; people in unhappy relationships increase their chances of getting sick by 35 percent. After suffering a heart attack, the quality of the romantic relationship is the greatest predictor for recovery, not lifestyle or diet changes.

As reported in The New York Times, a recent study to be published this year in the journal Psychological Science showed that women in happy relationships decreased their negative emotions during a feared situation when their partners held their hand. As Dr. James Coan, who led the study states, “If you’re in a really strong relationship, you may be protected against pain and stress hormones that may have a damaging effect on your immune system.” (October 5, 2006).

The message: if your relationship is in distress, confront the difficulties to make it better, or you may pay an enormous price.

Will I Work with a Couples Therapy Expert?
The Clinical Director at Advanced Cognitive Therapy is Travis W. Atkinson, L.C.S.W., C.G.T., an expert in marriage and couples therapy. Travis is compassionate, understanding, and nonjudgmental. A graduate of New York University, he is specially trained in a combination of proven couples therapy methods recommended in The New York Times.

  • Travis has completed advanced training with Dr. Susan Johnson, the founder of the top-rated Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy (EFT).
  • Travis has completed years of extensive training in couples therapy with the Gottman Institute, headed by the founder, Dr. John Gottman, and was awarded the distinguished title of Certified Gottman Therapist.
  • For over a decade, Travis has been affiliated with the Cognitive Therapy Center of New York, and is on the faculty at the Schema Therapy Institute. He is the co-author of the latest schema mode therapy inventory, the Revised Young Atkinson Mode Inventory. Travis recently presented with Dr. Jeffrey Young, the founder of schema therapy, at the prestigious New England Educational Institute, training other couples therapists in the latest schema therapy techniques for couples therapy.

While “many therapists lack the skills to work with couples who are in serious trouble,” as The New York Times reports, you can be assured Travis uses the latest proven couples techniques and skills, has broad experience in your area of concern, and genuinely wants to help you improve your relationship.

Free Download: Revised Young Atkinson Mode Inventory

Who Should Not Attend?
Couples therapy at Advanced Cognitive Therapy of New York is not appropriate for couples experiencing physical abuse or battering. If that is your situation, please contact the Karen Horney Clinic for more information on appropriate programs at 212-838-4333 or email at

How Do I Start Couples Therapy at Advanced Cognitive Therapy?
Call now for a consultation: (212) 725-7774 or (888) 4-ACT-NYC; or contact us via our online form.

  • Couples sessions are available through office visits Monday through Friday during the day or evening.
  • Jump start your relationship’s improvements by first registering for “A Workshop for Couples,” a psycho-educational workshop offered on a monthly basis (visit “Couples Workshops” page for more information), and follow the workshop with couples therapy sessions. This usually lessens the total number of sessions needed, saving time and lowering costs.
  • If you are visiting New York City, arrangements can be made for intensive therapy to have longer sessions for several consecutive days, as necessary, to take full advantage of your time in New York City.
  • Specific plans can be tailored to meet your relationship’s needs.

References: The Wall Street Journal, Tara Parker-Pope August 6, 2002; The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work, by John M. Gottman, Ph.D.; Advanced Training Manual in Gottman Method Couples Therapy™, by John M. Gottman, Ph.D., July 2003; Externship Training Manual in Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy, by Susan M. Johnson, Ed.D., September 2006; The Practice of Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy, by Susan M. Johnson, Ed.D., 2004; The New York Times, Susan Gilbert, April 19, 2005; The New York Times, Stephanie Rosenbloom, October 5, 2006.



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