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Specialized Therapy for Families and Couples in Pittsburgh

The Center for Couples & Family

Founded in the Fall of 2016, the Center for Couples and Family (CCF), an offspring of the Cognitive Behavior Institute, aims to assist couples and families of diverse backgrounds in fostering healthier and more fulfilling relationships. Emphasizing the significance of healthy, secure relationships, Dr. Sue Johnson describes them as a calming force for the nervous system, enhancing life's meaning and warding off mental and physical health issues. At CCF, we specialize in a broad spectrum of therapy services tailored for relationships, utilizing evidence-based models—a term that signifies our commitment to approaches that have been rigorously tested and validated for their effectiveness with a wide range of clients, including marriage and family therapist services.

With a focus on couple and family psychology, our therapists are not only seasoned professionals with extensive clinical experience but also are continually updated with the latest training aimed at bolstering stronger ties within families and communities. Through our commitment to evidence-based practices, we strive to offer the highest standard of care in marriage and family therapy, ensuring that every client can achieve more satisfying relationship dynamics.

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Intensive Couples Therapy to Repair Your Relationship

Marathon Therapy for Couples

CBI’s Marathon Therapy is an intensive treatment modality tailored specifically for couples who are interested in repairing or enhancing their relationship with the support and guidance of a relationship expert over the course of one weekend. You might be thinking, “Is marathon therapy the right move for me and my partner?” This is an important question to consider.

From our viewpoint, investing in Marathon Therapy for Couples (MTC) at the Cognitive Behavior Institute offers significant benefits for addressing relational problems with the support of professional psychology. Here are the key advantages:

  • Unlike traditional marital/couples therapy, which typically lasts only 50 minutes, MTC provides ample time to deeply explore and address crucial relationship issues without the rush to conclude the session. This approach prevents disruption in the therapeutic process and alleviates the common frustration felt by both parties, fostering an opportunity to re-establish emotional connections and mutual understanding.
  • MTC allows couples to see more immediate improvements in their relationship, offering a concentrated approach compared to the traditional method of spreading sessions weekly over 3-6 months, or sometimes even longer.
  • For couples with demanding schedules, MTC is an ideal solution. It accommodates those who cannot afford to allocate 2-3 hours weekly (including travel time) for ongoing traditional therapy.
  • For long-distance couples living in different cities or those without local access to an experienced professional in couples therapy, MTC presents a compelling treatment option, leveraging professional psychology to navigate relational problems effectively.

The efficacy of MTC in addressing couples' therapy from a professional psychology standpoint is supported by a growing body of research. If you're interested in exploring how Marathon Therapy for Couples can help resolve relational problems, we encourage you to contact us for more information.

When treating couples, we draw from two particular models of counseling: The Gottman Method and Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT). Over 40 years of research by Dr.’s John & Julie Gottman has focused on answering the question, “What really separates couples who are headed for divorce vs. couples who stay happily married?” Our couples therapists have received training and supervision in the Gottman method and/or EFT. These approaches focus on developing practical relationship skills and deepening emotional connection, respectively. Couples will be better equipped to thrive as a team while eradicating patterns of interaction that are “relationship busters.”


Our premarital counseling is a 5 session program. In the PREPARE/ENRICH program, couples will receive a comprehensive assessment of the various aspects of their relationship including communication, conflict resolution, partner style and habits, finances, leisure activities, sexual relationship, family and friends, roles and responsibilities, and spiritual beliefs. Our premarital program helps couples prepare for the challenges of marital adjustment by better understanding their strengths and targeting growth areas in the relationship.


We offer couples therapy for a variety of issues including:

  • Infidelity/trust issues
  • When one partner has a chronic illness
  • Stress management
  • Partner struggling with a psychiatric disorder
  • Communication difficulties
  • Gridlocked conflict
  • Pornography
  • Couples affected by substance abuse
  • Couples growing apart
  • Couples in later life
  • Gay & Lesbian couples
  • Financial issues
  • Spirituality/Religious issues
  • Christian couple counseling
  • “Marital Hospice” (see our blog for more details)


When treating families, we utilize a combination of Emotionally Focused Family Therapy, Structural Family Therapy, and Brief Solution Focused Therapy. We seek to help families identify and leverage their strengths so they can better reach their goals, solve problems, and stay connected as a family. Instead of searching for “what’s wrong” within the family, we will help you to re-focus on “what’s right” and foster greater commitment, grace, empowerment, and intimacy in your most important relationships.

Our family therapy services are offered at an outpatient level for a variety of issues including:

  • Behavioral or emotional issues of a family member
  • Navigating separation or divorce as a family
  • Co-parenting for difficult divorce
  • Step down from family-based mental health services or inpatient hospitalization
  • Grief and loss
  • Parenting issues
  • Family conflict
  • Blended family adjustment
  • Single parent family adjustment
  • Families in transition
  • Marital strife/co-parenting
  • Emotional Distress

What is family therapy?

In family therapy, we strive to understand the patterns which have contributed to relational distress, assist with conflict-resolution, and identify areas of strength and resilience. This approach is a relational form of therapy, where the main focus is on how members interact with one another and does not focus on blaming an individual as the “problem.” Therapists will focus on a process to allow for deeper connections and understanding of one another. Often, a focus on boundaries, hierarchy, family roles, and rules will be included in treatment to help family members shift dynamics and allow for more peace in family life. At the end of treatment, we hope families are able to walk away feeling more attached and secure in their relationships, confident and knowledgeable when handling conflict/crisis in the future, and feel more hopeful and positive about their family and relationships.

  • Are you and your partner tired of arguing and not seeing eye to eye?
  • Are you or a family member struggling with issues of grief, self-esteem, or emotional distress?
  • Are you struggling with childhood trauma or abuse that is impacting relationships in your family?
  • Are you and your children arguing more frequently?
  • Are you struggling with blaming your child for being the “problem” in the family and you are uncertain how to make changes?
  • Are you struggling to implement rules and boundaries for your family?
  • Are you and your partner thinking about separation and divorce and do not know how to talk to your children?

The family clinicians at Cognitive Behavioral Institute are capable, compassionate, experienced clinicians that provide individual, couples/marital, and family therapy for a wide range of issues, including but not limited to, relational conflict, trauma and abuse recovery, parent-child conflict, anger management, co-parenting, family therapy, couples therapy, and working with issues related to anxiety, depression, sexual orientation, gender, and race/ethnicity.

Center Leads

  • Licensed Professional Counselor
    ['Anxiety / Depression', 'Post-Partum/Fertility', 'Couples', 'Premarital', 'Addiction', 'Drug/Alcohol']
    ['Cranberry Township']
  • Licensed Clinical Social Worker
    ['Anxiety / Depression', 'Family', 'Couples', 'Coparenting', 'Post-Partum/Fertility', 'Grief & Loss', 'Anger Management', 'ADD/ADHD']
    ['Mt. Lebanon']
  • Marriage and Family Therapist
    ['OCD', 'Exposures', 'Family', 'Couples']
    ['Cranberry Township']