Couples who experience serious and often gridlocked problems generally wait too long to seek help and their problems become entrenched. They feel abandoned and rejected and don’t feel listened to when they try to express their pain. Their fights may become unpleasant or they may avoid each other altogether. Using science-based therapy founded on 30 years of research and experience on what happily married couples do right, Dr. Kovner helps couples manage the negativity they stir up, learn to reattach, bond or team up and solve problems, and to dive below the surface of their problems to help them reconnect emotionally.

Relationship death can seriously impact our personal mental health and lead to mental instability, emotional abuse, domestic violence, self-destructive behavior, physical illness, and emotional collapse. It can, and frequently does damage our financial resources, interfere with our educational pursuits and careers and impact the lives of our children and those dependent on us.

Through the course of this multi-faceted, dynamic and eclectic Relationship Therapy couples can expect to prevent this kind of disaster and recover from the hurt and pain of emotional abandonment, rejection and sexual disengagement they are experiencing.  

Based on years of experience and research, there are only 17 problems in marriage, not an infinite list. Look here and see if you recognize the issues in your marriage that over which you are having conflict. These are issues in most marriages. However, they are not the cause of marital/couples conflict.

  • Have you or your partner become emotionally distant?  Read More
  • Being attracted to other people, jealousy, flirtations, an emotional or extramarital affair? Read More
  • Having unpleasant fights?  Read More
  • In the Attack – Defend mode? Read More
  • Not making repairs after a fight? Read More
  • Arguing Over Finances? Read More
  • Having conflict over children? Read More
  • Are your In-laws meddling? Read More
  • Lacking in romance and passion? Read More
  • Do you complain about your sexual frequency? Read More
  • Are your problems gridlocked? Read More
  • Can’t influence each other? Read More
  • Don’t support each others’ dreams? Read More

For the complete list of all 17 problems click here.

Assess Your Marriage

If you are unsure of the strengths of your marriage and want  to work on areas that need improvement, consider scheduling a marital evaluation. Through interviews and test questionnaires, Dr. Kovner will assess your marital satisfaction and divorce potential. He will assess the foundation, middle floors and roof of your “marital house.” These test instruments will identify how well you really know each other. Find out how much fondness and admiration is present in your marriage. Assess whether you turn to, turn away or against each other. Dr. Kovner assesses your problem-solving skills and how well you manage negativity when you are trying to problem solve.

Once you have identified the strengths in your marriage and areas that need improvement, you will quickly see how much reorganization is needed for the marriage to be saved. The techniques and methods used by Dr. Kovner address these specific areas that need improvement and are based on 30 years of research.  Call now  (770) 729-0123.

What Can Cause Divorce?

According to psychologists John Gottman and Robert Levenson, two separate patterns accurately predict divorce. One pattern accurately predicts (to the 90%ile) early divorce within the first 5 to 6 years on the average. The other pattern accurately predicts later divorce, at about 16 years of marriage, perhaps when the nest is empty. The first pattern of early divorce is identified by the presence of the Four Horseman: criticism, defensiveness, stonewalling and contempt. Read More. The second pattern of later divorce is identified by the general absence of positivity.  So, the reasons for divorce are not infidelity, financial problems, differences in child rearing philosophy, etc., but due to the couple’s inability to manage negativity and the failure to maintain positivity. Let Dr. Kovner teach you the antidotes to the Four Horsemen and to build friendship and positivity into your relationship. Call now (770) 729-0123.

Gottman Therapy is based on 30 years of research on what happily married couples do right. These couples are masters at managing negativity. Their trust, fondness and admiration and ability to turn to each other defines their marital foundation. By teaching the couples how to apply these skills, a change in their dysfunctional dynamics is attained.

Smiling Couple

Most couples come to therapy in the “Attack-Defend” mode. They perceive most feedback from their spouse as a criticism which elicits a defensive response. They simply cannot manage their negativity. Moving couples from the Attack-Defend mode to the “Repair” mode, the “Collaborative” mode and the “Admitting” mode is critical for couples to work together to solve problems.

Call now (770) 729-0123

On the average, couples don’t come to therapy until they are thoroughly entrenched in their habits, usually after 6 or 7 years of marriage. So it is no wonder that it could take a year of therapy to begin managing their negativity. Developing good study habits early in therapy aids progress. Couples that do assigned homework exercises are most successful. However, it appears that most couples do not routinely practice their newly taught skills and frequently relapse into the Attack-Defend mode. Two approaches that have been most successful in bolstering clients through the skills acquisition stage is to provide a marital education class or to attend an intensive two-day couples retreat (read more).

Pre-Marital Counseling

Couple at Store Party

Whether you are planning to get married or are already living together as a couple and are interested in forming a lasting loving relationship, or enhancing the relationship you have, Pre-Marital Counseling is recommended for you. In these  sessions you will learn the skills that come naturally to happily married couples to build a sound marital house. Perhaps you can gift two or three session of Pre-Marital Counseling as an engagement gift.  (read more about Pre-Marital Counseling).

What Do Couples Need To Learn For Lasting Change?

Meta analytical studies show that 30 to 50% of couples who show initial improvement in marital therapy will relapse within 2 years after treatment. To ensure lasting change, couples must be able to reduce negativity during conflict, increase positivity during conflict and increase positivity when not in conflict. This is the goal of therapy at the Kovner Center for Behavioral Health and Psychological Testing.

Who Should Attend The Pre-Marital and Marital/Couples Education Class?

Generally, when therapists use the one-hour per week counseling model to provide marital therapy, the success rate is generally very poor. Part of the reason is that most couples wait about 5 to 6 years before coming to see a therapist and by that time, their problems are entrenched. Furthermore, most couples simply do not have the time to read, study, do homework, or practice changes in behavior. Often, the result is that one year after therapy, most couples show no improvement. The solution is Marital Education. During this class, you will be given the overview of the treatment program, the goals, the methods and the exercises used to capitalize on your strengths and to improve your relationship.

Prior to couples counseling, a one day class (Marital University) in the art and science of creating a successful relationship improves treatment outcome. The class is from 9AM to 5PM and is conducted on Saturdays at Dr. Kovner’s office. The class is usually attended by two or three couples. Because we are teaching, not treating, no personal disclosure is necessary and your confidentiality is preserved.

To sign up for a marital education class or a premarital seminar, call now (770) 729-0123.

For couples that desire a more private class, arrangements can be made for them.

Marital Education is not for everyone. For couples that are experiencing extreme distress and marital crises, the Couples Therapy Retreat is more appropriate.

Couples Crises Therapy – Weekend Retreat


The Couples Therapy Retreat is a skills-building therapy program for one couple in distress, perhaps on the brink of breaking up or divorcing. They feel their marriage is in a state of emergency and are seeking an immediate, private, intensive therapy experience to learn how to manage their negativity. The couple spends two days at Dr. Kovner’s comfortable office in Norcross, Georgia, learning and practicing relationship building skills using Gottman Therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Transactional Analysis and more. The advantages of a Two-Day Retreat for Couples is that they can quickly explore their history, learn the skills up-front that are necessary to manage negativity, and develop insight into how their dreams have come into conflict. By accelerating their knowledge they can productively spend their weekly follow-up sessions applying that knowledge. Therapy is the application of knowledge learned.

What Couples Will Accomplish in the Two-Day Intensive Marital Therapy

  • Learn how to stop perceiving your partner in a way that brings out their defensiveness.
  • Learn to identify triggers associated with anger, fear and sadness.
  • Move out of the Attack-Defend stage of the marital argument and learn how to repair, collaborate and get back to solving the “real” problems of living a happy and fulfilling life.
  • Rebuild friendship, fondness and admiration for each other.

To sign up for a Two-Day Intensive Marital Therapy Retreat, call now (770) 729-0123.

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