CouplesVanessa Ford is a Chicago-based therapist who is specialized in communication issues, recovery support, moving past a conflict or relationship crisis, coping with a traumatic or abusive past, grieving past losses, HIV, LGBT, and addictions, among other issues. Marital therapy and other couples counseling services can help improve communication, closeness, conflict resolution, and goal-setting. A good counselor will help both of you feel better, and strengthen your relationship.

In order to help any couple, I will want to get a sense of each person’s perception of the conflicts you two are experiencing. Our goal will be to safely navigate these conflicts together and towards a healthy resolution.  Just like in individual counseling, sometimes issues from the past may be impacting one or both of you, preventing you from being able to negotiate and resolve conflicts in a way that feels good.  Examples include a dysfunctional past relationship or family, infidelity as you have defined it in your relationship, or an addiction/recovery issue.  Perhaps one or both of you are currently struggling with depression, anxiety, Bipolar disorder, substance use or abuse, HIV diagnosis, death in the family, or other loss.  You may experience one another as having very different communication styles which is preventing you from feeling “one hundred percent” about the relationship.  Or, you may have very different goals or a vision for the future or the relationship (such as differing views on parenthood, lifestyle or marriage), and need help forming a compromise that meets both of your needs.  We will need to work on understanding these dynamics better.

In some cases, you may come into the therapy knowing that you want to break up but needing some assistance in negotiating that process.

Some couples may be on the path to greater commitment, and want a secular alternative to pre-marital counseling.  In this case, we may want to define some common areas of conflict for couples as areas to cover in our counseling work as you consider deepening your commitment to one another.  Common areas for exploration include wedding planning, navigating in-law relationships, religion, parenting concerns, money management, dividing household chores, negotiating compromises, and resolving communication break-downs.  We will come up with an individualized plan that will help you step into your new life together with confidence.

I also have expertise in counseling same-sex and LGBT couples, and welcome diversity in all forms in my practice.