Marriage Counseling & Couples Therapy

Young couple embracing in love

Do you long for closeness and connection but end up stuck in the same old conflicts? Do you feel frustrated, invisible or alone? Does it feel like you just can't make it better no matter what you do?


Relationships don't have to be perfect to be wonderful. Healthy, strong relationships have at their essence an emotional attachment that feels safe and secure, a bond we can be sure of.


It's an inner sense of trust, of knowing we can count on our partner to be there for us, that we've got each other's back. So that we can relax and enjoy the good times - talking, laughing, touching - and lean on each other in the tough times.


Knowing your partner is truly there for you makes all the difference. 


I understand how couples can get stuck in negative patterns of conflict or distance even though they truly love each other. And I know how lonely it can be, how sad and exhausting it can feel when it never seems to get better. And how hard it can be to hold on to hope.


As an experienced marriage counselor and couples therapist, I can help you learn to get unstuck from those negative cycles. To communicate in a new way that promotes closeness and understanding. To end feelings of loneliness and resentment. To create intimacy and connection. To develop a partnership that allows resolution of conflict. To find your way back to each other emotionally and physically.

 

For many years I searched for an evidenced based approach that would help my couples in a deep and lasting way, one that made sense to me both professionally and personally. An approach that was based in science but that understood the heart, that valued the power of our most important and loving relationships.


I finally found that model, and I am proud to be the first therapist in Monmouth and Ocean Counties to be fully certified in Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT), widely regarded as today's most effective approach to couples therapy and marriage counseling.


Emotionally Focused Therapy is a powerful yet gentle approach to marriage counseling and couples therapy that can help repair your relationship and bring about real change. It is a highly researched method that is supportive and balanced in its understanding of both men and women. And it works with married and unmarried couples, couples of different cultural backgrounds and couples with different sexual orientations. 


Emotionally Focused Therapy looks beneath the surface and gets at the underlying emotions that are really driving our relationship distress, that create and maintain our negative interactions. It gets to the root of the problem, and shows us the path to create a healthy and happy relationship. (Use the neighboring link to read more about EFT.)


Through marriage counseling and couples therapy with me you can deepen intimacy and create true connection. You can find closure from past hurts and move forward. If there's been an affair, I can help you heal the pain and rebuild safety, trust and security.  You can create a loving relationship built on understanding, acceptance, empathy and real partnership.  One that you can count on to stand the test of time.

Emotionally Focused Therapy for Couples

"Dr. Zwerdling is a bright, pleasant, professional, and patient therapist.  He gave my husband and me the space to share, and encouraged us to share freely.  With his help we explored our pasts together and got to the emotional roots of why we act and react the way we do. He provided us with the tools needed to understand each other and communicate better. This has made a world of difference our lives together."


"I truly felt all hope for my nine year marriage was lost.  I felt abandoned, isolated and unfulfilled, and the only natural conclusion to our story seemed to be a divorce. Dr. Zwerdling is so compassionate and supportive.  He offered us clear validation and helped us to see our strengths and hone in on the issues that kept us disconnected.  Now the thought of breaking apart our growing and fulfilling relationship seems out of the question." 


"Dr. Zwerdling is a wonderful, kind and understanding therapist. We were going through a very difficult time in our marriage and Dr. Zwerdling helped us open up the lines of communication, work through hurt and pain, and learn to listen to each other. He was very sympathetic and understanding, and his knowledge and manner were always reassuring. Overall he created a safe environment in which to talk and to explore difficult topics." 

When to Seek Marriage Counseling or Couples Therapy

Couple talking to marriage counselor

You find yourself constantly fighting, stuck in conflict. You are both so angry and hurt that you often say things that you later regret. Efforts at conversation escalate quickly and typically end in arguments.  You just can't stand fighting anymore.


Your relationship is characterized by loneliness and distance. Things may have deteriorated so much that you hardly talk to each other. You feel isolated, alone and insecure. You avoid talking about difficult issues or reaching to each other for comfort.


Feelings of stress and upset are with you just about all the time. You don't want it to be this way, but you don't know how to get things to change. You feel like you are constantly walking on eggshells.  You may be losing hope for the future.


You feel like your partner just doesn't hear you or understand you. You keep trying but it never seems to go anywhere. You are frustrated and starting to feel burned out.


You're in a crisis due to threats of divorce. You or your partner may be thinking about leaving the relationship. The pain and the struggle have become too great to manage.


You're world has been turned upside down by an affair or infidelity. Your whole world has been turned upside down.  Nothing makes sense.  You wonder if you're relationship is one big lie. You don't know what to do or where to turn.


You are sexually dissatisfied. Sex is either too infrequent, too much of a burden, or starting to feel like an obligation rather than a desire. Your needs, or your partner's, are not being met.


You are going through a stressful life event. For example, getting married, the birth of a child, the loss of a parent, changing jobs. Such events can place great strain on a relationship. 


You love your partner but you're not sure if you are "in love". The spark is missing.  You long for the way it used to be and don't know how to get it back. You feel like you're in a rut.

"Pretty much right after our honeymoon my husband and I came to the realization that in laws were going to be a HUGE issue in our marriage. Although we obviously loved each other we could not agree on ANYTHING having to do with each other's families... I believe 100% that our marriage would have crumbled if it had not been for our sessions w Dr Alan!  Dr Alan was extremely flexible, always able to fit us in considering our crazy schedules. During our sessions he was the perfect mediator teaching us how to communicate SO much better, how to see things thru each other's eyes & basically how to put each other first. Dr Alan's wisdom & knowledge is absolutely indescribable. We would both definitely recommend his service. We can not thank him enough."   


"My husband and I sought out Dr Zwerdling to help us overcome some issues and he was particularly helpful in teaching us to better communicate. I am very grateful for his assistance and appreciated his caring manner, equal respect and attention for each of us and his comfort in working with a same sex couple. I would recommend him to others."  


"My wife and I have a generally good marriage with great communication. However, we had a few issues that were threatening to hijack the marriage. It would be an understatement to say I was skeptical heading into therapy. It would also be an understatement to say Dr. Z helped my wife and I develop the tools to make sure our marriage didn't derail. This man is a supernova. I can't say enough positive things about how much help he provided to us. Now, when we come to those potholes in the road that always bedeviled us in the past, we are equipped with the tools to simply maneuver around the trouble..." 

ALL COUPLES ARE WELCOME REGARDLESS OF MARITAL STATUS, AGE, FAITH, RACE OR SEXUAL ORIENTATION.

Dr. Alan Zwerdling's private office serves all of Monmouth County & the Jersey Shore, including Red Bank, Middletown, Shrewsbury, Rumson, Navesink, Fair Haven, Little Silver, Holmdel, Colts Neck, Ocean Township, Lincroft, Marlboro, Manalapan, Oceanport, Monmouth Beach, Spring Lake, Sea Girt, Manasquan, Oakhurst, Eatontown, Tinton Falls, and West Long Branch.