Marriage and Relationship Therapy in Nashville

If you feel lonely, disconnected, or stuck in your marriage or partnership, you are not alone. At some point over time, practically every intimate partnership can get stalled out, feels stale, or makes those in the relationship question why they are together. And because each partner is so deep inside their own experience of the relationship, a couple often needs a third party who can offer new perspectives and approaches.

If you’re considering therapy, you’ll find expert couples counseling at Music City Psych in Nashville, Tennessee. Conveniently located within minutes of Brentwood, Forest Hills, Music Row, and Sylvan Park, our couples counselors teach relationship skills that focus on acceptance of differences, empathy, and safe communication. Using Imago Relationship Therapy (IRT) techniques, clients are guided to approach conflicts as opportunities for growth rather than threats to the relationship. We offer couples tools to solve problems, shifting the paradigm from “what’s good for me” to “what’s good for us.”

Meet in-person or online. We offer the option to meet with your therapist online. Video sessions are held through a HIPPA-protected platform.

Your relationship is worth it

Every couple in a long-term relationship experiences conflict in one form or another. The important question for couples to ask is, “Can conflict be a means of repair and growth?” At Music City Psych, we believe the answer is yes, and we help you approach your relationship conflicts from this perspective. By learning to respond to each other intentionally instead of reactively, partners begin to shift the relationship dynamic positively and facilitate healing and growth.

Sometimes the tension in a marriage or partnership is on the surface, with frequent arguments or fights. Other times it manifests more as an absence, as if the spark of connection that brought a couple together in the beginning has evaporated over time and left a relational void. One or both partners feel as though the other one no longer understands them and that time spent together has become simply transactional. Pleasure, fun, and even intimacy have disappeared, overtaken by the daily stress of family and work responsibilities. This slow drifting apart leads to weakened levels of communication, trust, and compassion, all of which are necessary for a relationship to thrive. 

Whether your relationship is suffering from open conflict, passive disconnect, or some combination of the two, you don’t have to navigate this on your own. We’re here to facilitate a safe space to explore relationship difficulties and begin to cultivate a deeper sense of connection and understanding.

How a relationship counselor can help

It can feel like a big step for some couples to confide their problems in a therapist. We live in a world of Hollywood-style “happily-ever-afters” and “perfect-couple” Instagram photos. And even though we know on some level that that’s not real life, it can be hard to face that the relationship we chose isn’t going how we hoped it would. We might also be a little afraid, deep down, of hearing what our partner might say to the counselor once the session gets going.

This is all the more reason to consider relationship counseling. Couples therapy at Music City Psych creates a safer, structured space to bring up all those issues that are going to spill out one way or another, sooner or later. Our couples therapists are expertly trained to approach the couple without judgment or partiality, facilitating the session to ensure both partners can contribute and be heard. Through careful listening and observation of the couple’s dynamics, the therapist spots underlying relational patterns that drive conflict or disconnect. Then they suggest strategies for each partner to approach tensions or disruptions in more constructive ways.

By tailoring the structure of each counseling session specifically to each relationship, our couples counselors introduce beneficial strategies for nurturing the relationship and addressing conflict and distress. As your counselor gets to know you as a couple, they’ll pinpoint which intentional practices are likely to be most helpful to the two of you. When couples learn to be present for each other and understand the thoughts and feelings behind the other person’s behaviors, this creates increased empathy and helps them to move forward in a way that promotes mutual thriving. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it time to go to couples therapy?

By the time people ask this question, there’s a good chance the answer is yes. The beginning of a romantic relationship typically has a “honeymoon period,” where each partner is naturally oriented to see the best in the other one. Most couples begin to consider counseling only after the honeymoon period has ended and patterns of tension or conflict have established themselves in the relationship.

If your relationship is causing you ongoing distress, confusion, or frustration beyond what the two of you can resolve on your own, consider getting a counselor. All intimate partnerships will have conflicts and tensions, and it can be hard to see what the underlying causes are from inside the relationship. Bringing your issues to a neutral third party allows you to begin rediscovering the good in each other, enabling you to develop better communication approaches and interrupt unhealthy patterns going forward.

Many different precipitating events push couples to seek therapy. Common reasons for therapy include loss of trust, strained communication, or just a growing distance between the two partners. There may be a pattern of fighting that causes hurt feelings and growing resentments that aren’t being repaired. Some couples cite specific issues such as financial disagreements, conflicting parenting styles, one or both partners’ job stress, or problems arising from relationships with extended family.

Other times, a couple doesn’t even agree on what brought them to therapy. One partner says the problem in the marriage is X, and the other says it’s Y, and that disagreement itself has become a problem. Regardless, the challenges that initially prompt couples to see a therapist are typically clues to deeper underlying issues. And that’s exactly what your counselor is there for: to help you sort out and address the root causes that keep you caught in unhealthy relationship dynamics.

No, couples counseling is appropriate for any couple in a long-term partnership looking to work through their issues and improve the health of the relationship. Some engaged couples also go to couples therapy, giving them the opportunity to build a stronger foundation for their marriage by addressing conflicting priorities or behaviors early on. 

A typical first session at Music City Psych is an opportunity for couples to talk more calmly about the issues that were responsible for initiating therapy. Your therapist will encourage you to share the positive qualities of your relationship as well as identify where you are stuck. Oftentimes, focusing on the negative aspects of the relationship has made it difficult to see where the strengths are. Identifying what brought you together in the first place helps reorient you to the goal of repair and growth as a couple.

Ongoing sessions utilize Imago Relationships Therapy (IRT) techniques, with exercises designed to provoke mutual insight into each person’s feelings and experiences and what that brings to the relationship. Imago couples counseling facilitates greater connection, safety, and understanding between partners using an intentional dialogue process facilitated by a skilled and experienced counselor. This process helps lessen reactivity as partners learn to be fully engaged, present, and available, allowing them to appreciate and respect each other’s differences.

IRT practices cultivate empathy by helping couples understand what issues from their past subconsciously prompt them to behave in certain ways. By acknowledging the formative experiences that drive each of their reactions and behaviors, partners come to have more compassion for each other and themselves. Each partner is also better able to face their own behaviors for what they are: not simply “who I am” but reactions that are able to evolve as healthier relational connections and attitudes are cultivated. Inside this dynamic framework, couples learn to identify hidden relationship stressors, diminish their reactivity to triggering events, and over time reignite the excitement and romance that brought them together in the first place.

Sometimes clients develop a great relationship with their couples therapist and want to see them for individual therapy as well – or vice versa: they hope their personal therapist can counsel them and their partner together. However, it’s important to the integrity of the therapeutic relationship that your couples therapist only meets with the two of you together. 

Why is this? A counselor establishes trust with a couple by acting as a neutral third party to the relationship, with both partners knowing that the counselor is not on either person’s “side.” Part of establishing this trust is that the therapist avoids having side conversations with either partner. That way, the couple knows that what happens in their therapy session with all present is the totality of their relationship with their couples counselor.

Of course, if there happens to be something that you need help discussing with your partner, your relationship therapist will be there to facilitate it in a safe and effective way.

Couples will often initiate therapy with the idea that they will simply pose each relationship problem to the therapist, who will then act as a referee. This common misconception views counseling as a matter of identifying who is right and who is wrong. The actual purpose of relationship therapy is not to determine fault, but to identify more positive forms of communication for both partners to use to meet each other’s needs. 

As therapists, we know that the behaviors people engage in are often based on coping mechanisms that have worked well for each of them as individuals. When any two people are navigating an intimate relationship, some of those behaviors are bound to intersect in ways that cause problems. For instance, one partner may feel the need to talk about a source of tension right away, and they will feel anxious until the issue has been discussed and resolved. Meanwhile, the other partner is overwhelmed by the same tension and needs space and time to clear their head before they feel able to talk about it. As a result, each partner is distressed by the behavior of the other, and each feels hurt that their needs seem to be misunderstood or disregarded.

At Music City Psych, we help each partner in a relationship expand their perspective so that they can make changes in the way they think about and react to each other. Therapy aims to be an eye-opening experience for the individual as well as for the relationship as a whole.

It’s true that couples therapy does require buy-in from both partners to work, and you can’t make anyone do anything they aren’t ready to do. If your partner is opposed to counseling, be sure they know that you are seeking therapy for mutual growth, not as a place for assigning blame. If they’re just not ready, you can still find support and growth by going to individual psychotherapy. Individual therapy can help you clarify your values and priorities and allow you to approach a resistant partner or stalled relationship from a more grounded and self-determined place.

Yes, we offer both in-person and telehealth counseling options, which allows us to accommodate clients in the Nashville area and throughout the rest of Tennessee. Additionally, David is dual-licensed in Tennessee and New York, while Rachel is licensed to practice in Florida as well. For in-person therapy sessions, our office is located near Belle Meade and Green Hills, with convenient access to The Gulch, Music Row, Hillsboro Village, Brentwood, and downtown Nashville. 

Interested in Couples Therapy?

Contact Music City Psych to Get Started.