J. Mike Ross, Ph.D.
Licensed Psychologist, Life Coach
Closed Office due to move to Arizona
512-983-1120
Your Subtitle text

Couples Counseling

Closed office due to move to Arizona


I have completed Level 2 training in the counseling of couples with Dr. John Gottman and Dr. Julie Gottman. I also use Emotionally Focused Therapy co-developed by Susan Johnson. Internationally recognized, they are preeminent in their work with couples.Their work has been shown to be effective and is based on scientific research that they and others have conducted over several decades. This is the foundation for my approach to couples counseling.

There have been many exciting changes and improvements in couples counseling over the years. Therefore, I am committed to continued professional development in working with couples. I have registered to receive Level 3 training from Dr. John Gottman and Dr. Julie Gottman in Seattle Washington in 2012. I am also registered to receive more advanced training with Dr. Susan Johnson in Ottawa Canada at the International Center of Excellence in Emotionally Focused Therapy.

I am an experienced and effective couples counselor where about 60-70% of my clients are couples.

Who may benefit from Couples Counseling?

You may benefit from couples counseling before you get married or engage in a committed relationship or at any time during the lifetime of your couples relationship along a continuum between enhancing a “good” relationship to saving a relationship in trouble.

Consider couples counseling if you want to:
• Improve your communication
• Improve your intimacy
• Increase your friendship
• Decrease intensity of disagreements
• Improve problem solving
• Be able to discuss your concerns more constructively
• Feel more love and passion in your relationship
• Have a more satisfying sex life
• Effectively work through life stresses: family, job, economic, move, etc.
• Effectively address life transitions: Employment, children, blended family
• Rebuild your relationship after a loss of trust in your partner
• Rebuild your relationship after an extra-marital affair
• Save your relationship

Overview of the process for couples counseling:

  1. I will participate with you in comprehensively assessing your couple's relationship to identify strengths, areas for improvement and meaningful goals.

    I will give each partner an opportunity to complete a set of questionnaires which provides a lot of information to me in a scientifically validated manner. In this way, I learn a lot about you as a unique individual and couple much more quickly than relying on additional sessions to obtain this information. This enables me to target strategies that I believe will be most effective in working with you. I customize my approach in workin with you. You complete these questionnaires on your own time outside of session, typically before the second session. Although most couples find completing the questionnaires helpful, I am flexible and can work with you whether or not you complete the questionnaires.
  2. Couples counseling is a safe place to openly discuss your relationship. In general, I will use scientifically validated interventions to help you achieve your goals identified in step 1. Typical goals may include increasing marital friendship, improving and increasing intimacy, improving communication, improving problem solving, improving interpersonal interaction, establishing more positive feelings and behaviors, and rebuilding trust. The scientifically proven principles that I use are based on the research and practice by those pre-eminent in couples counseling including John M. Gottman, Julie Gottman, Leslie S. Greenberg, Susan M. Johnson, Andrew Christensen, and Neil S. Jacobson. I have completed Advanced Couples Counseling training with Dr. John Gottman and Dr. Julie Gottman.
  3. I will make suggestions of homework that you and your partner can address between counseling sessions. I often provide handouts to supplement our work together. It shouldn't be surprising to expect that additional effort outside of the couples counseling session will enhance and re-enforce your progress.
  4. As you are approaching the end of counseling sessions, I will help you to consolidate gains. Thus, you should have the ability to continue improving your relationship and work through new challenges on your own. Also, you will have strategies to help prevent relapse. If needed, you can always schedule a follow-up appointment to help address specific issues and to enhance ongoing progress.
More details of couples counseling for those wanting to know more:

It is best to seek couples counseling sooner rather than later, but later is better than never.
As humurously depicted in the cartoon below, consider couple’s counseling before it is too late!




Our relationship with our partner is often one of the most meaningful in our life; therefore, it is no wonder that it can invoke the strongest of our emotions from joy to anger. While having a sense of humor may be helpful; I recognize that couples counseling is a serious matter. Thus, I only use scientifically validated theories and strategies in working with couples. The scientifically proven principles that I use are based on the research and practice by those pre-eminent in couples counseling including John M. Gottman and Julie Gottman, Leslie S. Greenberg, Susan M. Johnson, Andrew Christensen, and Neil S. Jacobson.

Often couples feel that the only way their relationship will improve is if their partner changes. Not surprisingly your partner may believe it is you who needs to change. One thing you may have in common is that you both feel stuck in not being able to change or improve your relationship.




If you feel this way, you are not alone and help is available. So how can couples counseling help? Sometimes individuals believe that each partner will discuss their perspective of the relationship with their counselor and then this “objective” couple’s counselor will identify the problem and make suggestions to correct it.

The following is a brief description to clarify the process of couples counseling.


  1. I participate with you in comprehensively assessing your couple's relationship to identify strengths, areas for improvement and meaningful goals. You wouldn’t trust a physician’s evaluation and treatment without an adequate assessment would you?



  2. You each have perspectives that affect your relationship. Couples counseling is a safe place to compare your notes and to openly discuss your relationship. In general, I will only use scientifically validated interventions to help you to achieve your goals identified in step 1) above. Typical goals may include increasing marital friendship, improving and increasing intimacy, improving communication, improving problem solving, and sometimes rebuilidng trust. Often interpersonal interaction is problematic in distressed couples. Through guidance, I will help you to explore and identify problematic interactions and practice more helpful ways of interacting to improve your relationship and to meet each others needs.



  3. I will make suggestions of homework and provide handouts that you and your partner can address between counseling sessions. Often this homework may be something fun that you can do with your partner or be an opportunity to learn more about yourself or your partner. It shouldn't be surprising to expect that additional effort outside of the couples counseling session will enhance and re-enforce your progress.
  4. As you are approaching the end of counseling sessions, I will help you to consolidate gains. Thus, you should have the ability to continue improving your relationship and work through new challenges on your own. Also, you will have strategies to help prevent relapse. In conclusion, my philosophy is along the lines of this saying, "you can give a person a fish and feed them for a day or you can teach a person how to fish and feed them for a lifetime." Thus, my philosophy in couple's counseling is to help you achieve greater awareness and insight into how you can continue to enhance your relationship for a lifetime rather than merely solve one particular problem. If needed, you can always schedule a follow-up appointment to help address specific issues and to enhance ongoing progress. Ultimately, my purpose is to help you to achieve your goal(s).