Couples and Marital Therapy

CLS offer couple therapy to those who are married, are partnered, living together or those couples who are contemplating living together or future commitments. We also see couples who are dating but who have run into communication problems that stagnate their growth as a couple. We are also trained to help those couples who have decided to uncouple but would like support and guidance on best steps to navigate a critical transition as separating or divorce.

General couples psychotherapy is an important process when a couple feel like they cannot resolve their differences without escalation, long periods of time icy conversations and those who feel like they’re just going through the motions. Research has shown that the couples who are most successful at staying together long term are not the couples who never argue; rather they know how to argue well, come to some sort of compromise or agreement, then move ahead without toxic feelings such as bitterness, resentment or guilt.

Couples therapy can be short term (a few weeks to 3 months) or run longer periods depending on the severity and the level of deterioration in the relationship. The goal of couples therapy is not dictated to a couple but rather guided by the couple themselves. There are times that either a couple, or one partner decides they are not willing to continue in the relationship. We feel it is our responsibility to offer support to the couple.

At CLS we regard the couple as a system in which we look at all partners as part of that system. This means we don’t see one partner as the “cause” of the problem or “ill”. While there may be couples in which one partner is challenged by certain diagnoses or conditions, our aim is to help your partner system discover the causes, weaknesses and strengths that can lead to a new, more cohesive, loving, and growth-oriented relationship.

Common Issues treated by Sari Cooper and CLS Therapists

  • Navigating the dating world while maintaining Sex Esteem®, transitioning out of past unsuccessful relationship patterns, and making choices out of strength not out of fear.
  • Pre-marriage or pre-cohabitating counseling to collaboratively create a relationship contract that is based on shared goals, expectations and hopes
  • Learning better communication skills with partner/spouse for stronger problem solving
  • Marital preparation or “pre-marital counseling” to collaboratively create a shared vision for shared values, expectations and hopes
  • Need for enhanced communication with partner/spouse for stronger connection
  • Gridlock over difficult issues, resulting in a need for more effective conflict resolution skills
  • Difficulty maintaining intimacy and closeness as a couple due to demanding careers and parenting responsibilities
  • Recovery from infidelity and the reestablishment of trust and intimacy
  • Adaption to blended family dynamics when co-parenting children from previous relationships
  • Coping with the emotional toll that infertility and necessary treatments can cause
  • Questions or confusion about your sexual orientation or expression

Couples therapy can help you rebuild your relationship. Couples therapy can help you rebuild your relationship. Sometimes, a couple may decide that separating might be a better choice for them. Couples therapy can help you understand your relationship better, learn better communication techniques, discuss future plans and make well thought-out decisions. Clients who are partnered may choose to enter treatment individually when they are interested in working some issues out in privacy on their own before inviting their partner in for couples’ work.

As with individual psychotherapy, couples typically see a therapist once a week. If they are beginning treatment due a crisis they may decide to come in more than once a week initially. The length of therapy depends on the goals one sets for themselves and the specific challenges they bring to treatment.

What Comes Next

Email our intake coordinator when you have some privacy to have a brief phone intake call and then to set up a day and time for your first session. On this phone call you will let them know a bit about your problem, your history with past treatment, find out about our fees and the best days and times you can attend therapy sessions. Once you’ve scheduled an appointment you will receive an informed consent form to print out, complete and bring to your first session.


Each therapist at Center for Love and Sex has their own fee structure. When you have your initial phone screening with our intake coordinator you will discuss your fee budget and preference for therapist, day, and times you’re able to come in on a weekly basis.

Therapists do not participate in-network with any insurance companies. Clients pay their therapist each time they come to a session and are then mailed or handed an insurance-compatible statement at the end of each month to send to their insurance companies for out of network reimbursement. Each insurance company varies on what reimbursement they give for psychotherapy out of network. You may want to check with your insurance company to find out what they offer for psychotherapy with a therapist with your therapist’s particular licensure in New York State.

What Can I Expect at My First Therapy Appointment?

Many people have fears, preconceptions, and at times, no idea at all about what therapy will be like the first time they come in for a first session. Hopefully this article can shed some light on what therapy is actually like. And we would also encourage you to reach out and ask your therapist any questions you have about what therapy will be like with them.

There aren’t many universal truths about what you can expect at your first therapy appointment, since each therapist has their own way of approaching their work. But here are some things that may happen in your first session here at Center for Love and Sex:

  • When you arrive at your first appointment, have a seat in the waiting room. Your therapist will greet you in the waiting room, ask for your completed intake form and invite you into the therapy room.
  • While you wait for your appointment, there’s a large selection of magazines to look through. There’s also a private, non-gendered restroom for your use at the UWS office. If you are coming to the midtown location the keys to separate bathrooms down the hall are on the black key hooks above the magazine rack.
  • Your therapist will come out to get you when it’s time, and you’ll walk together to their office and settle in for the session. The office is really just a room with comfortable seating, a desk, and a bookshelf. You can sit however you want to sit.
  • Your therapist will likely remind you that what you talk about in session is completely confidential with a few legal and ethical exceptions, which will be explained to you (and which are outlined in our consent to treatment document). If you have any questions about those policies, you’re absolutely encouraged to ask!
  • Your therapist might discuss any other policies they have (cancellation, payment, session length, scheduling, or other ‘frequently asked questions’). This all only takes a few minutes.
  • Then, depending on the level of crisis that you’re currently experiencing, your therapist might review their particular style of therapy, discuss your intake form with you, begin a more thorough assessment of your history, or just ask you what brings you in at that particular time. From there on, it’s a conversation and there are no right or wrong things for you to say — the only thing you can do ‘wrong’ at that point is to be dishonest, and in doing so you would only impede yourself. If there is something about your therapist that seems like it would get in the way of you feeling comfortable being honest, you can say so, and your therapist may be able to help you feel more comfortable. We want you to feel comfortable and confidant with your therapist. If at any time you don’t, please let them know or let the director know.
  • Your therapist may or may not take notes, depending on their treatment style. These notes are also confidential unless you consent to their release, and they are kept under lock and key. (There are separate notes called treatment notes; these are also confidential and under lock and key unless you consent to their release, or unless your therapist is durably court-ordered to release them).
    1. You consent to their release
    2. Your therapist is durably court-ordered to release them.
    3. You are in danger of hurting yourself, someone else or a child
  • Your therapist will have tissues if you need them. Therapy is a safe space to show your vulnerability so crying is perfectly acceptable.
  • You’ll pay for your session at the end, generally, and you make your personal check out to Sari Eckler Cooper in the amount agreed upon during your intake phone call. We also accept cash or Chase Quick Pay.
  • You can discuss a regular meeting time with your therapist so that this time becomes your reserved time.