Shelly and Raye Isenberg have been a couple, each counseling couples for much of our professional careers. Our marriage in 1964 in our early 20′s pre-dates our professional careers. We established our professional partnership in 1980, building our former counseling practice, Isenberg & Associates, (sold in 2008), into a highly regarded practice known for it’s work with couples and families.
Shelly has been working with couples since early in his career and developed curricula and taught courses in marriage and family therapy in a professional school of social work. He is a long-time Clinical Member of the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy and a registered member of Marriage Friendly Therapy.
We refer to our work as ‘couples counseling’ because while we each see so many married couples, we each also see couples not married, some for pre-marital counseling and consultation, but others who live together in committed relationships. The form of coupling or partnering is less important to us than that the couple wants to continue to grow their relationship past whatever barriers may have gotten in the way.
We have a life-long interest in the interplay between our individual need to grow our personalities to our fullest potential, and our need for a committed relationship. We all have a need to love and be loved. But we also need to know how to stay in love, the actual ways to behave with our partners to enhance the possibilities of life long commitment. In couples counseling, coaching and consultation, we strive to help couples learn to deal with their differences on the issues, changes and expectations that come into play through life’s developmental course.
In our work with couples, we carefully listen to each partner’s personality, cultural and religious values, and expectations regarding particular issues. We see how each behaves with the other, particularly in conflict about differences they can’t seem to resolve on their own. Sometimes extended family involvement plays a role, especially in those families from other cultures. Our job as counselors is not only to bridge those differences, but to help each individual actually hear and see their partner again.
Couples may struggle with trying to accommodate the expectations of relationship and family while trying to meet their own needs. This can result in alienation, endless fighting, an affair or substance abuse. It takes only one partner to say this self- and couple-defeating behavior must stop. Hopefully the other partner can still hear the message of wanting hope again and agree to get help. We’re here when that happens.