Kathy A. McMahon, Psy.D., President of Couples Therapy Inc.

Dr. K is a clinical psychologist, supervisor, and trainer.

Couples Retreats are held at the foothills of
The Berkshires of Western MA

I have an active interactional style that is no-nonsense, but sweetened with humor and empathetic engagement. I care deeply about my couples. and I work hard to help them, because I believe in intimate relationships.

Practice Values

I am a naturally enthusiastic teacher and trainer. I feel passionate about couples therapy and sex therapy and deep respect towards those who invest in making their relationship better. I try to model honesty with my clients. I feel the responsibility to embrace my foibles, as part of what makes me human, and in this, I am hoping to demonstrate and lead by example. To err is human, and makes us interesting people. I am willing to be proven wrong. I strive to be non-defensive, open and always curious about my client's reactions and my reactions to them. Compassion begins with forgiving ourselves. I learn from my clients, as they learn from me. 

Dr. McMahon's Clinical Office
Dr. K's Berkshire clinical office. Surrounded by nature.

You will find that I have an active interactional style that is no-nonsense, but sweetened with humor and empathetic engagement. I care deeply about my couples. I adore all of them (most of the time), and I work hard to help them because I believe in intimate relationships. I want to help you to live happy, productive lives. And I want to strengthen the families that so depend on upon your healthy relationship.

I try to broaden the emotional vocabulary of my clients, and to help them overcome society’s bias against powerful emotions like sadness, and grief, anger, guilt, and shame. Feeling something is no crime, and should carry no punishment.

As an AASECT Board-certified Diplomat in Sex Therapy and Sex Educator, I work with all couples, from every walk of life, including LGBTQIA couples.

Expert on Clinical Principles, Not on You

I am not an expert on my clients, I am an expert at understanding human relationships and sexology. I want my couples to be, or become, experts on themselves, their relationships, and their sexual lives.

When I looked in the mirror on Monday morning, I saw, for the first time, a loved and lovable woman looking back at me. The woman looking back at me was not defective, not broken, not crazy. I didn't, until that moment, realize how much contempt I felt for myself all these years. Imagine the joy I felt! And the gratitude!
         There are no words to adequately express how grateful I am for the weekend my husband and I spent with you. You provided invaluable insight that, with time and practice, will help us navigate our marriage as well as our relationships with our children and extended family in a loving, supportive way. I walked away with so much hope, to the point of bursting with it. The concept of developmental trauma explains so much about the dynamics within our relationship, and still has us reeling when we think about the impact it has had not only on us but on so many other people.  I can only imagine the difference it would make if it were more widely recognized. 
     Thank you for helping us, Dr. K!  And thank you for the work you do!    - Wife, Recent Marriage Retreat Participant 

Why I Do What I Do

I’m an outspoken cultural skeptic. I’m frightened about the state of our environment and about the depletion of resources that have made our modern life so wonderful. The pressures on people in our culture and our time are enormous, and we all need a good set of tools to cope with these pressures. Nevertheless, I remain optimistic about the capacity of a small group of people to make profound changes in their own lives, and the lives of their communities. I believe the following:

  • When your relationship is strong, your family is strong.
  • When your family is strong, your neighborhood is strong.
  • When your neighborhoods are strong, your community is strong.
  • When your communities are strong, your country and world is a better place.

We live in difficult times that require both thoughtfulness, patience, and excellent communication skills. If we have a life partner to console us, and stand by us, it makes the struggle easier. Therefore, I benefit directly from the work I do with my neighbors.


Credentials

I received my doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology from Antioch University New England in 1988. I have very much taken to heart something that Horace Mann said at an address at Antioch College in 1859: “Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity.”

I later became the Director of the Master’s Program in Counseling Psychology in the Department of Applied Psychology. In that program alone there were 120-140 students and 40 faculty members. I’ve trained many of the Masters’ Level clinicians who are now helping to heal and repair others in their communities.

It is a fact I’m very proud of.

I’m also a Certified Gottman Therapist, one of an elite group of clinicians worldwide.

I teach Human Sexuality & Sex Therapy in the Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology at Antioch these days. I’ve also taught Human Sexuality and Sex Therapy, and Gender and Ethnicity among other courses, at the University of St. Joseph in West Hartford, Connecticut & Cambridge College in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Teaching graduate students also give me great joy, and I feel honored to be able to do it. I’ve also been a Clinical Fellow of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy for over 25 years, and a board-certified Sex Therapy Diplomate and Educator for over three decades.  

For three years, I supervised pre-doctoral psychology interns in an inner-city mental health clinic serving multi-generational, multi-problem families. I carried a supervisory caseload averaging 130-150 ongoing cases. I saw what grinding, multi-generational poverty does to the human soul.

I also learned to find some uneasy truce with that reality and to have an abiding respect for our clients’ struggles to stand tall and maintain dignity throughout horrific adversity.

Allow me to assure you that little of what you might say to me is likely to surprise me.


Personally Speaking

I’m a wife, a mother, and a grandmother, in addition to being a clinical psychologist, university professor and writer. I cherish all of these roles.

My husband, Daniel Dashnaw, M.S., completed his second Master's Degree, this time in Marriage and Family Therapy. I have so much respect for a guy who joins his wife’s profession late in life, and has the strength to be junior to her senior status.  (We're doing joint intensives, as well, so feel free to request the pair of us!)

We also have a passion for working with couples, so perhaps you can imagine how exciting and emotionally complicated our household is right now. Thank goodness we’ve known each other since we’ve been teenagers!

I’m ethnically Irish, Scottish and English. I still have family in Ireland and believe ethnicity is an important part of many people’s lives, even if they don’t realize it or identify with it.

”I personally benefited more from one hour on the phone with Kathy (when I finally gave her permission to unleash her insight on me personally) than from years of therapy…. Kathy is smart, funny, articulate and no hypocrite — she practices everything she recommends as a psychologist in her personal life. I can’t recommend her highly enough as a speaker, writer, consultant and mental health professional.”  
-Jon Cooksey, Writer/Director/Producer/Showrunner. Rugrats, The Collector, How to Boil a Frog. Los Angeles, California

Recent Lectures

In January 2015, I presented to clinicians from all over the world on the topic of High Functioning Autism in Marriage, through the Couples Institute in California. This is a training institute for the Developmental Method of Couples Therapy.

They liked it, and asked for more. I presented on Clinical Issues in High Functioning Autism in Marriage, also through the Couples Institute, in May 2015.

In February, 2014, I was honored to present the Gottman Method Couples Therapy approach to a room full of my colleagues in a conference called Couples on the Edge: Working with Relationships from Multiple Perspectives.” I was one of six presenters with approaches including Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy, Narrative, Bowen, Developmental, and Imago. It was sponsored by The Massachusetts Association for Marriage and Family Therapy. The DVD’s of the conference are selling here. A year later, in 2015, I was back presenting to Massachusetts clinicians on "Deconstructing Sexuality in Couples Therapy" with 3 other colleagues. 

For a long time, I had so many doubts as to whether we could make this work.  I spent most of my marriage not knowing it could be as rich as this last month as been.  I felt the "switch,"  over this last month, and it's felt like living in sunshine instead of shadows.

My husband and I haven't had a fight in months, even while navigating normally very tense waters including dealing with our families, and even buying a house!  They've turned into discussions.

Dr. K, I'm not kidding.  It's been the sweetest month I've ever had in our marriage. I know that we'll hit plenty of bumps ahead. But for the first time in a long time it feels like my teammate, my partner has shown up.

So this email is simply to say "thank you."  Thank you for giving us the tools and the hope that things would change if we wanted them to.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Thank you for giving me my husband back and for listening when we were at our rock bottom.

-Wife,  Cross-cultural couple, Recent Couples Retreat Participant

Let’s Talk

…About your situation, and how I might be helpful. 

Education​

Psy.D. Antioch University New England ~ Keene, N.H. .(Clinical Psychology). APA Approved 1988.
 ~ Dissertation Title ~ Interactional Processes and Styles of Marital Adaptation to Parenthood.
M.A. Antioch University West ~ San Francisco, CA (Counseling Psychology with a Specialization in Sex and Family Therapy) 1979.
B.A. Salem State College, Salem MA (Psychology) ​1977.

Licenses

Massachusetts: Licensed Psychologist and Health Service Provider  #5036

Florida: Licensed Psychologist # PY 9884​

California: Licensed Psychologist # 29205​

Evidence-Based Treatment Models

Fully Certified by the Gottman Institute

Five-Day Externship

8 Day Core Skills Training​

More Certifications & Associations:

Board-Certified Sex Educator and
Sex Therapy Diplomate

Credentialed Member

Clinical Fellow, 2x Former Board Member American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists


Former Director of a Graduate Psychology Program

Master’s Program in Counseling Psychology in the Department of Applied Psychology at Antioch University New England

SELECTED PRESENTATIONS

THE COUPLES INSTITUTE, MENLO PARK CA

~ High Functioning Autism in Marriage, through the Couples Institute in California. 2015

~ Clinical Strategies with High Functioning Autism / Neurotypical marriages. 2015

AAMFT NATIONAL CONFERENCE:

· Facilitated the Sexuality "Open Forums" - for five years (two years co-facilitating with David 
Schnarch, Ph.D.)

· Promoting Sexual Health in Communities and Families ~ Anaheim, CA.

A JOINT CONFERENCE OF THE SOCIETY FOR THE SCIENTIFIC STUDY OF SEX & AASECT:

· Contextualizing Aggression & Eroticism: Does Schnarch's Model Create a Pressure Cooker for Women?


MASSACHUSETTS ASSOCIATION OF MARRIAGE AND FAMILY THERAPISTS:

· Tangled Truths – Helping Couples with the Aftermath of Sexual Trauma. Moderator.  Northampton, MA

· Couples on the Edge – Gottman Method Couples Therapy, Northampton, MA

· Sexual/Ethical Issues in Systemic Therapy. First Friday Seminar, Marlboro, MA

ALBANY MEDICAL CENTER, ALBANY NY:

· Taming the Anxiety and Inviting the Dialogue (Patient Sexuality). Grand Rounds. Albany Medical Center, Albany, NY

COMMONWEALTH EDUCATIONAL SEMINARS ~ A CONTINUING EDUCATION PROVIDER

· The Diagnosis and Treatment of Sexual Dysfunctions.

THE BOSTON ASSOCIATION FOR CHILDBIRTH EDUCATION

· Postpartum Adaptation in High-Risk Mothers.

· Sexual Adjustment in Pregnancy & Postpartum. 


PARTNERS IN PERINATAL HEALTH CARE CONFERENCE

· “Is There Sex After Birth?”:  A Re-examination of Postpartum Sexuality

LICENSED PRACTICAL NURSES OF MASSACHUSETTS, INC.

· Threats to Female Body Image; Methods of Sexual Assessment, South Shore District Conference

· Human Sexuality: Definitions & Directions (Keynote Address); Beyond Guilt and Aggression: A Look at 
Assertiveness Strategies for Nurses; Self-Image in Sex Counseling; The Nurse's Role as a Sex Education Resource. Annual Convention.

THE CENTER FOR PROFESSIONAL EDUCATION IN HUMAN RELATIONS ~ OAKLAND CALIFORNIA.

· Issues in Childhood Sexuality.

· Sexual Awareness for Women. 


BEREAVEMENT & DIVORCE SUPPORT. NEW BEGINNINGS
~ NORWELL, MASSACHUSETTS.

· Sex and the Newly Single.

· Sexuality in Mid-Life.

· Age & Its Impact on Men/Women

Voluntary Certifications/Memberships/ Publications
Executive Board Member

– Massachusetts State Division of American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy – 1992-1996; 2013-2015

Clinical Fellow

–American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy.

Certified Diplomat in Sex Therapy and Sex Educator

–American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors and Therapists (AASECT).