Couples Therapy

Starting Today Counseling

Therapist located in St. Marys, GA, Yulee, FL & Southside, Jacksonville, FL

All couples go through rough patches in their relationship, and part of what strengthens your bond is overcoming those challenges. However, if you’re unable to make progress with relationship problems, help from an expert couples therapist like Michelle Holley, LCSW, of Starting Today Counseling in St. Marys, Georgia, could be the answer. Michelle has considerable experience helping couples work through their problems using the highly effective Gottman Method Couples Therapy, so call Starting Today Counseling now or book your appointment online.

Couples Therapy Q & A

What is couples therapy?

Relationship problems between life partners can lead to the breakdown of marriages and separation of partnerships, even when the people involved still love each other. 

Couples therapy aims to identify the causes of disharmony between two people and help resolve any conflicts so that the partnership can continue and thrive.

Michelle is a Level 3 therapist certified in the Gottman Method Couples Therapy. She trained at The Gottman Institute in Seattle, an elite institution that specializes in research and evidence-based treatment that’s proven to be highly effective.

What is the Gottman Method approach to couples therapy?

The Gottman Method, developed at The Gottman Institute, is built around the Sound Relationship House Theory.

The process starts with a joint session where you and your partner talk to Michelle together, followed by individual assessments. You also complete questionnaires to provide Michelle with the information she needs to review your relationship. 

Afterward, she talks to you both about how she can help heal the rift between you and your partner using the Sound Relationship House Theory as a framework.

The Sound Relationship House Theory consists of nine components:

Build love maps

How well do you know your partner’s inner psychological world, his or her history, worries, stresses, hopes, and joys?

Share fondness and admiration

The antidote for contempt, this level focuses on the amount of affection and respect within a relationship.

Turn toward instead of away

State your needs, be aware of bids for connection, and respond to (turn toward) them. The small moments of everyday life are actually the building blocks of relationships.

The positive perspective

The presence of a positive approach to problem-solving and the success of repair attempts.

Manage conflict

Relationship conflict is natural and has functional, positive aspects. Understand that there is a critical difference in handling perpetual problems and solvable problems.

Make life dreams come true

Create an atmosphere that encourages each person to talk honestly about his or her hopes, values, convictions, and aspirations.

Create shared meaning

Understand important visions, narratives, myths, and metaphors about your relationship.


Knowing that your partner acts and thinks to maximize your best interests and benefits, in other words, “my partner has my back and is there for me.”


This means believing (and acting on the belief) that your relationship with this person is completely your lifelong journey, for better or for worse (meaning that if it gets worse you will both work to improve it).

These nine concepts form the basis of a sound, mutually rewarding relationship where both partners can thrive, and equips you to handle conflict resolution and problem-solving, focusing on your shared dreams and values and the positive future ahead.

Can couples therapy help when a partner is unfaithful?

Infidelity is one of the major testing points of a relationship and can be one of the hardest challenges to overcome. Working with the Gottman Method, Michelle has had considerable success in helping couples overcome infidelity, relearn trust, and rebuild their relationship.

If your relationship is in trouble, call Starting Today Counseling or book an appointment using the online form.