About Couples Therapy Inc.

Who we are

Couples Therapy Inc. is a team of over 30 clinicians in three countries devoted to couples therapy. We all have one or more training certificates in science-based couples therapy.

We share a common drive to improve, regardless of how much previous training or expertise we possess. 

But that's not enough.

In order to be invited to join Couples Therapy Inc., candidates must yearn for professional connections with other high-achievers like themselves.

We come together, as a team monthly, to share cutting-edge knowledge and elevate our collective level of wisdom and expertise. This creates a strong, never-ending passion for excellence. 

But we also choose kind and thoughtful people. Clinicians with humility and a focus on what we truly know (and don't) keeps us sharp.

Kind and thoughtful people, who are highly credentialed as couples therapist, are a great beginning to a powerful team.

In addition, we also have a preference for those who have some international experience. Love is complicated and we want our team to be able to look at the world of lovers more broadly.

We span 19 time zones, which makes our meetings interesting! Californian have to get up at 6 am, while the Australian has to stay awake until midnight!

Nine languages are now spoken here. 

But our team members not only have to be motivated couples therapist, they have to be kin​​​​​d and thoughtful people...

Teaching at a college or graduate level keeps us up-to-date on research, ethics, and inspires a collegial spirit. Volunteering our time and training our colleagues keeps us connected to our world and our profession.

How we got started

I'm the president and founder of Couples Therapy Inc. 

My own relationship challenges and experience with ineffective couples therapy was a painful one. Like most of you, I blamed my marriage instead of the couples therapy I received. Then I divorced.

Years later, when I learned about science-based couples therapy, I was upset that no one (other than those same institutes...) were talking about how damaging poor couples therapy is.

What passes for therapy with couples continues to this day to be insurance-driven and too often ineffective.

I decided to do something about it. 

I began networking with skilled couples therapists and asked them if they'd be willing to devote part of their practice to doing marriage retreats and online couples therapy with me.

I was surprised by the warm reception!

It turns out that they yearned to be part of a true couples therapy team. Most told me it was lonely to be the sole couples therapist among a sea of individual therapists.

Couples Therapy Inc. was born.

Kathy McMahon, Psy.D. psychologist, sex therapist and President and Founder of Couples Therapy Inc.

Like many of you, I received poor quality couples therapy and quit, believing it was my relationship that failed, not the therapy. And divorced.

I want to see continued improvement in the quality of couples therapy offered in 2020.

It soon became a family affair, as my 2nd husband decided to return to graduate school for his second Masters Degree and become a marriage and family therapist.

He created an internship where he could train as a couples therapist in grad school. He's really good!

He also took over as the Blog Editor and made it award-winning. Check out the many science-based articles.

We both work alone and together in a weekend couples retreat format. It makes for interesting personal and professional conversation!

Dr. K and husband, couples therapist and blog editor Daniel Dashnaw

Values & Beliefs

Ours is a lens that studies loving connections. We examine how bonds get broken and mended. We see people not as a collection of individuals, but as a network of families and friends.

Collectively, we too, represent a connected network.

Each of us form a broad tapestry of ages, ethnicities, cultures, languages, and knowledge, but we all  share a passion for working with couples. 

Be sure to read these Personal Statements on our Team Page to learn more about each of us.

Our core beliefs and values can be summarized in these four points:

(1)  We believe most therapy provided to couples today is substandard. 

  • It's delivered in session lengths that are half the time needed to do good clinical work.
  • It's conducted by clinicians who, by and large, have no training in couples counseling or at most only a single course (MFT's).
  • After this low-quality couples therapy miserably fails, the couples blame themselves instead of the poor therapy.

Couples therapy works, but just not in the way that it is traditionally practiced today.

That's just not right.

(2)  We believe ordinary couples can learn what good couples therapy is, and isn't. Then choose a therapist based upon that knowledge.

  • Couples Therapy is a burgeoning field, like surgery was a century ago. By research and trial and error we're getting better and better at becoming effective helpers for troubled relationships.
  • There are universally-recognized training institutes that offer levels of formal training and certification in couples therapy. A qualified couples therapist has proven credentials from one or more of these training institutes.
  • There is no one model that can effectively help every couple. The most effective couples therapists take an integrative approach, being trained in several different science-based methods, and using,  blending, or refining them as appropriate.

The dogs of CTI

Ginger & Rosey

Henry, Gracie, and Charlotte.

Monty chill'in on a paddle board

Rusty Bucket

Jerry and Chloe

Jack at a dog birthday party (not his own)

Our newest member (who shall remain nameless for the time being...)

Sophie

Wanda and Wolfgang

 Piko Okole

Sam. Napping.

Helping couples using only a "commonsense" approach falls painfully short. 

One of the most recognized couples researchers in the world kept a record of his predictions prior to his research findings.  And he was wrong 60% of the time. 

You can't wing-it when it comes to helping troubled marriages. You have to know the science. And you have to practice it routinely, not once in a while. We suggest at least 50% of a therapist's practice be spent helping couples.

One example of this "commonsense" proven wrong is that your level of marital distress  doesn't predict the effectiveness of couples therapy. It feels horrible when your relationship is in trouble, but those feelings don't mean effective help will escape you.

"We believe that only through science can we learn how to repair broken relationships and help people heal. It’s not easy. But over time, we’ve become better at it, mostly through failure.

"In fact, I’ve kept track of my own hypotheses about love relationships over the years, and I’ve been wrong 60% of the time. If we didn’t do research, we would think we were right 100% of the time."   - Dr. John Gottman  12/12/2018

(3)  We believe a thorough assessment is essential.

  • It saves face-to-face time and minimizes clinical error.
  • Our clinical assessment tools have gotten better. They guide the way we think about you as a couple, and the kind of work we choose to do with you, moment by moment.
  • Our clinicians spend a lot of time learning and studying these marital assessment instruments. Then they are supervised in interpreting three early cases to see if they are on target in understanding how to use them. This makes their diagnostic skills and clinical interventions stronger.  

(4)  We believe concentrated blocks of time, like a weekend, are more effective.

The science is now being collected but clinical opinion agrees that we can accomplish much more over a weekend than we can in an equal period spread out over months. But if you attend weekly couples therapy, it should be in longer 80-90 minute sessions or more.

Seeing you over longer blocks of concentrated time allow us to know the two of you in a deeper way.  We get to observe repeating patterns of relating. We videotape interactions, especially during fights, to understand these patterns more precisely.

We are trained to notice things like tone, volume, and pacing of your words. We concentrate on observing nonverbal gestures or facial expressions. This requires training in things like micro-expressions and neuroscience.

These finely tuned observations  we offer, help you notice how these elements impact your nervous system and your partner's nervous system. We help you both to see these destructive patterns and change them, without assigning blame.

  • We learn how you relate on a bodily level. We monitor your heart rate. We teach you how to control flooding and calm your nervous system down. 
  • Most of us have strong beliefs about each other. If these belief's are negative it will take time, practice and concentrated reflection, away from day-to-day stresses to re-examine them.
  • Our clinicians invest time learning about these tools and studying each couple's assessment. The clinician is able to walk into a weekend armed with over 1000 elements of your relationship or life that they've assimilated.  It's why we're so effective, because we hit the ground running.

Our Typical Couple

While no two couples are alike, we most often work with couples who are as invested in being successful in their personal lives as they are in their careers, education, or changing the world.

You are the 'Shakers and Movers' of the world. You may run your own successful business, or lead a large corporation. You may be in IT, an app developer, an inventor, an engineer, or in academia, medicine, or law.

You may be in the public eye, either in sports, entertainment, or in your own therapeutic communities, as a therapist, yourself. You seek out the privacy that only a remote clinical office can provide.

Our online couples reach out because they live as international teachers, government employees, diplomats, NGO's or CEO's in multi-national corporations stationed overseas. Or travel extensively.

Marriage retreats are intensive marriage counseling

Our Main Office

Our home office is in Boston, Massachusetts.

Couples Therapy Inc. began in a little town that time forgot, called Cummington, and we still hold retreats in this lovely place three seasons of the year. If you live in the city, and you go to the Berkshires for an intensive, you'll be impressed by the beauty year-round. It's an idyllic natural setting.

Cummington brags it has the best foliage in New England. That claim, however, cannot be proven!

But Boston is our home. The place we grew up and home to our extended family. We relocated our main office to Boston in 2018. We're delighted to offer a retreat location that's 15 minutes from Logan International Airport!

Couples Therapy Inc., as a family-owned business, has deep New England roots. Massachusetts has a reputation for excellence in couples therapy. And Boston demands a science-based approach that we're known for. 

We have a large number of colleges and universities in New England as well. Many of Couples Therapy Inc. clinicians teach as well as maintain private practices and work here. 

We're proud to be a part of that tradition.

Our home office is in Boston - 10- 15 minutes from Cambridge, Downtown Boston, Back Bay, and Logan Airport.

Young Chinese couple sitting with arms around each other side by side

Our Clinical Style

We're als​​​​o active in our work with you because research shows that active therapists produce the best results.

In our sessions, you'll get the practical tools you need to support the quality of life and relationship you want. You'll discover how to become calm, even under stress. You'll learn by "doing," not just by "saying." You'll participate in intelligent, engaging, and structured interactions. Our work will stress the science behind the practical information we'll be applying.

Through honest feedback, down-to-earth stories, and even humor, you will develop your capacity to meet your relationship challenges that have, up to now, seemed insurmountable. All in an understandable context.

People are surprised how open they can be with us about the most delicate of subjects, even men and women struggling with sexual integrity issues. You will find each of us candid, caring, and collaborative.

But it's not magic. It requires a sincere effort by each of you, and not all issues respond well to these methods. 


intake coordinator couple retreats

Cindy Tervalon, M.Ed. Intake Coordinator

Want to learn more? Schedule a time to speak to our trained Intake Coordinator, Cindy, in your time zone with the scheduler below. She will listen to you, ask you questions and help you to decide if this is right for you. Learn more about how intensive couples retreats and online relationship counseling can help your relationship anywhere in the world. It's our specialty!

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COUPLES THERAPY INC.
Healing Relationships Worldwide

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