Couple & Marital Therapy in Chicago

Improve communication. Heal Conflict. Grow.

image of two colorful birdsVanessa Ford’s Chicago-based based mental health practice offers solutions. If you are struggling with communication issues, need addiction recovery support, or help moving past a conflict, we are here.

Sometimes relationship counseling is needed to heal a relationship crisis. You may be coping with a traumatic or abusive past, and it is impacting your relationship in a negative way. If you are still grieving past losses, struggling with addictions, or dealing with a lot of family drama, it might be difficult to see eye-to-eye.

Other times, couples may seek our services because of exciting news. They are taking the next step in their commitment, and want help navigating that process.

Differences in lifestyle such as cleanliness, money management, or conflict resolution could use some tweaking. Wedding planning is especially stressful, and navigating future in-laws might be driving you crazy.

Blending families with children and exes may make the landscape more complex.

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, we 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:

  • Dealing with a dysfunctional past relationship or abusive family
  • Infidelity as you have defined it in your relationship
  • Addiction or recovery issue, or repeated binge drinking 

Perhaps one or both of you are struggling with something. Examples include:

  • Depression, anxiety, AD/HD or Bipolar disorder
  • Drinking problem or substance abuse
  • Chronic health condition
  • Death in the family
  • Mourning a loss

You may experience one another as having very different communication styles which are 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 that newly-committed couples usually want help with. We can help you define what you would want to cover in our premarital counseling work. Common areas for exploration include:

  • Wedding planning
  • Navigating in-law relationships
  • Different religious backgrounds
  • Parenting concerns
  • Family planning or issues with infertility
  • Money management
  • Dividing household chores
  • Negotiating compromises
  • Resolving communication break-downs
  • Work/life balance  

We will come up with an individualized plan that will help you step into your new life together with confidence.

Our team also has expertise in counseling same-sex, queer and LGBT couples.

Diversity in all forms is welcomed in my practice.