Individual Psychotherapy

In individual psychotherapy I will have the opportunity to work with you to indentify exactly what is interfering with leading a life in which you are filled with self respect, self worth and self satisfied.  A life that is self directed rather than other directed.

Here are a sample of the kinds of issues clients have brought to me over the years:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Grief
  • Trauma
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Adjustment Difficulties to loss, transitions, medical conditions, etc.
  • Relationship Issues
  • Self Esteem Issues
  • Perfectionism
  • Procrastination
  • Divorce and Separation Transitions
  • New Relationships after Divorce
  • Blending Families
  • Alcohol Abuse and Other Substance and Behavioral Abuse
  • Stage of Life Transitions (Mid life crisis; retirement; empty nest; etc.)
  • Fear of Commitment
  • Men’s Issues


Once we have identified what the issue(s) are and the underlying causes of the issue(s) we can begin to focus on how to change your symptoms into solutions.  I am trained in various therapeutic modalities, including Psycho-dynamic Psychotherapy (how the past influences the present), Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (change your thoughts change your feelings, change your behavior), Family Systems Therapy (the whole is equal to more than the sum of its parts), and Brief Solution Focused Therapy (one goal at a time). Each client and issues are different and I choose the best modality or combination that will suit your needs.

Couple’s Counseling/Therapy

I have worked with many couples over my 32 years as a Marriage and Family Therapist.  I tailor my therapy and counseling treatment to each couple’s needs.  I will assess with each of you what brings you to couples counseling at this time.  As individuals we go through developmental cycles, marital and partner relationships go through similar developmental cycles. As a relationship grows and matures the wants and needs that brought us to the relationship change. It is how a couple identifies and negotiates these changes determines the health of the relationship.  I pay attention to the particular stage of couple development you are in as I help the couple identify and communicate their needs and interests.

As in individual therapy, couples need counseling/therapy to be a safe place for each of you to be able to express your issues and concerns so that you will be sure to feel that your therapist is acknowledging your wants and needs without judgment or taking sides.  One of the most critical challenges for couples is the ability to communicate with each other in a non blaming and non defensive manner. The other critical component of a couple’s relationship is the ability to define problems or issues where there may be disagreement (e.g. conflict) and be able to resolve conflicts rather than avoid it. Research show that when communication is avoided or breaks down or ends, so goes the marriage!!

My experience shows me over and over again that when the couple can suspend judgment from the past and recognize that most problems in the marriage by the time they get to treatment are symptoms of serious problematic communication issues in the present.  Right from the first session I help couples speak and listen to each other in ways that each person will feel understood and respected.

Family Therapy

I have years of training and direct clinical experience working with all sizes and types of family issues.  From adolescents getting into power struggles with their parents to mediating conflicts in family owned business and much in between. The goal for family therapy is to provide the opportunity for all members to be heard and to identify their needs. Education about communication and boundary issues set the stage for the resolution of conflict with creative problem solving.

Separation and Divorce Counseling

I work with couples who are considering separation or divorce as a solution to their marital problems. I initially discuss with the couple what has lead to their decision and have they tried other avenues of resolution before they take this major step.  If they are clear that in order to move forward in changing the unhealthy dynamics of their relationship that a separation is necessary, we can explore together the various separation options that would work best for the couple and  family.  This can include a temporary separation with the idea that time apart and continued counseling can lead to either a healthy reconciliation or a permanent separation to begin a divorce process. I will help the couple design a separation agreement that will include what is needed to navigate this transition.

Collaborative Divorce Coaching

I am trained in Mediation and Collaboration in helping couples negotiate divorce transitions and co-parenting issues. I work with attorneys, mediators and other mental health professionals in helping couples who are in a Collaborative Divorce, Mediated Divorce, and a Litigated Divorce.  Divorce is not only a legal matter but an emotional and psychological upheaval for couples and families. Collaborative Divorce is a non-combative atmosphere that diminishes hostilities, allows the parties to preserve and enhance that which remains of their relationship that is positive, and allows them to learn to work cooperatively during and after the divorce, managing finances and if there are children, co-parenting.  Collaborative Divorce is where clients, not the court, can be the agents of their own change.

As a Divorce Coach I assist clients with goal achievement, decision making, and life transitions. I also help each party look to the future in order to  create agreements that will be sustainable over time, especially if children are involved.  It is based on an educational model that provides an opportunity for clients to learn.  The focus is on the present situation (the divorce) and learning how to approach and manage the challenges and decisions that divorce presents. Divorce is a life altering change. Having an awareness of the factors necessary for change and the various stages of change makes it easier for clients to remain calm and patient. Clients will learn  how to communicate in a non-defensive manner , also learn how to issues so there can be positive conflict resolution, and learn how to negotiate so the the interests and values of each person are understood and part of the solution.

postdivorce families in transition counseling

After recovering from the loss experience in divorce many people are ready to move on to begin a new relationship with a significant person. The new couple falls in love and believes that since they love each other that the children of one or both of the new relationship partners should be able to make the adjustment to a new family configuration.  The belief is that we can be one big happy family. This is often not the case. It is critically important that when a new relationship is considering blending a family that they take  the time to consider how this is going to impact their children as well as their previous spouses. I have seen very often couples coming into therapy after much resentment has built up between the couple due to how “step-children” are accepting or not accepting the new relationship. There are many nuances to planning blending a family that need to be considered before moving in together. Among issues that need to be addressed include, age of children, if one person in couple is not a parent, if one person in couple has raised children and is becoming a member of the new family with young children, time share with former spouse, etc.

Dr. Marc Berke

(925) 788-3381

[email protected]