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Specialized Therapy for Families and Couples in Pittsburgh

The Center for Couples & Family

The Center for Couples and Family (CCF) was created in the Fall of 2016. As an extension of the Cognitive Behavior Institute, the CCF seeks to help couples and families of all shapes and sizes develop healthier, more satisfying relationships. Healthy, secure relationships are, in the words of Dr. Sue Johnson, like “a tranquilizer to the nervous system” that calms us, deepens life meaning, and helps to keep mental health and physical health issues at bay. Here at the CCF, we provide a wide range of relationship-oriented therapy services which draw from evidence-based models of practice. Evidence-based is our fancy way of saying that we only use approaches to treatment that have been clinically tested and proven to be effective with a wide range of clients.

In addition to using evidence-based models, our clinicians possess a wealth of clinical experience and have received cutting-edge training on how to promote stronger family and community connections.

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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 perspective, there are several distinct advantages of investing a dedicated chunk of time rehabbing your relationship through Marathon Therapy for Couples (MTC) at the Cognitive Behavior Institute:

  • In traditional marital/couples therapy, sessions are only 50 minutes in duration. There are many occasions when you are just starting to dive into an important relationship issue, and then the time comes to wrap up the session. These occasions disrupt the therapeutic process and leave all parties feeling frustrated. MTC carves out the necessary time to really talk things through and re-establish an emotional connection and mutual understanding by the end of the session.

  • You can experience more immediate relationship results, rather than spreading out weekly sessions over the course of 3-6 months, or sometimes even longer.

  • MTC accommodates couples with full schedules who are unable to set aside 2-3 hours weekly (travel time + therapy time) for traditional couples therapy for an extended period of time.

  • MTC provides a powerful treatment option for long-distance couples who reside in different cities, or for couples who do not have local access to a seasoned expert in couples therapy.

There is a growing body of research that validates this approach to couple’s therapy. If you’re interested in learning more about Marathon Therapy for Couples, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us.

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 upon 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 on 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']