Could Your Marriage Use Counseling? Stats Say There’s a Good Chance

“Love and marriage, it’s an institute you can’t disparage,” Frank Sinatra once famously crooned. While Old Blue Eyes certainly had some points, his song fails to acknowledge how much work it actually requires once the honeymoon ends, and real life begins.

When a marriage is fledgling, putting issues on the back burner is only more detrimental in the long run. Counseling could be the best step taken to transform a surviving relationship into a thriving relationship. Well-known marriage and family counselor Dr. Michael Mongno, founder of Present Centered Therapies in Manhattan, understands the wide range of reasons why couples enter counseling.

Dr. Mongno shares that potential issues can range from a lack of good, healthy communication, emotional connection or physical affection to religious/cultural differences, difficulties with sexual intimacy and desire, unresolved betrayal trauma, living as ‘roommates’, to the loss of a mutual vision for the future, mid-life crises, and a host of other situations where one or both partners feel unseen and misunderstood. “Despite a downward trend in recent years, approximately 40 to 50 percent of first marriages end in divorce. The divorce rate for second marriages is even higher at 60 to 70 percent,” he says.

While New York State currently boasts a lower divorce rate compared to other regions, the fast-paced, money-driven, and stressful lifestyles associated with New York City are often capable of pushing a union to its breaking point.

How exactly does one know when it’s time to reach out and find assistance? “From my experience, people often wait too long to come into counseling,” Dr. Mongno states. “When Gottman’s ‘Four Horseman’ (criticism, contempt, defensiveness and stonewalling) are in place, it becomes much more difficult for couples to find their way back to each other. Each of these speaks of insensitivity, hurt feelings, anger and resentment that have built up for way too long. When things begin to feel consistently off, a couple should begin to talk deeply about what’s been happening and what is actually going on. If this becomes difficult, unproductive or reactionary, it’s definitely time to seek help.”

Mongno knows that couples counseling isn’t an overnight fix, however he firmly believes in the power of the work. “We were wounded in relationships, so it is in a relationship where we have the greatest opportunity to heal,” he says. If you’re a skeptic, let the numbers reassure you—between 70 and 90 percent of couples find couples therapy beneficial. All that is needed is consistency, an open mind, and both partners committed to healing the relationship.

He also emphasizes one of the most critical elements to couples therapy success—finding the right therapist, one with whom you resonate. “While most therapists can tackle common issues, there are many who specialize in everything from infidelity to sobriety to co-parenting and more. Be sure to investigate specific areas which suit your situation,” says this holistic psychotherapist and licensed psychoanalyst.

“Working through a difficult time is incredibly personal, and many tend to keep it all inside,” affirms Dr. Mongno. “So, if your path to greater emotional awareness and relationship transformation isn’t carved out, it’s time to explore the next option.”

Michael T. Mongno, MFT, Ph.D., LP, is among New York’s most utilized integrative psychotherapists and relationship experts and is a highly sought after commentator and speaker. He has trained with some of the most highly regarded couples therapists including Ester Perel, Susan Johnson, and Harville Hendrix. Mongno holds a Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy, a Ph.D. in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Integrative Psychotherapy, as well as a four-year post-graduate degree in Gestalt Therapy. His office is located at 100 West 67th St., Ste. #2NE, NYC. For more information, call 212-799-0001 or visit

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