Offering couples therapy intensives in Manhattan, NYC

Practice Values

A person or a couple seeking therapy deserves tremendous respect. I believe therapy is a place of growth where a human connection with your therapist, empathy, and unconditional acceptance are balanced with a challenge. Both are necessary to gain a new perspective, overcome internal barriers, and experience new, healthier, and more fulfilling ways of being. The years of experience and advanced post-graduate training make me believe in couples’ and individuals’ potential to grow and heal. I view our work as an interesting, energizing process that helps you to understand yourself and your partner better, to have a healthier relationship(s), to enhance your ability to cope with stress, and ultimately to become a happier person. Our work will recognize the uniqueness of your circumstances, of your relationship, and of each partner’s personality.

I welcome all relationships, including LGBTQ couples, CNM relationships, and mixed-culture couples. I work with all cultures, ethnic groups, races, and religions. I strive to understand my patients. If I need to become more familiar with your culture, I will take it upon myself to learn more on my own as well as together with you. In addition to English, I speak French and Russian.

I specialize in working with those dealing with infertility. I delight in helping couples navigate life transitions- adjusting to becoming parents, challenges of living with adolescent kids or young adults who still stay in the house, empty nesters syndrome, blended families, etc.

I specifically enjoy working with high-conflict couples. I believe that underneath very destructive conflicts, painful fights or shutdown silences there is a healthy desire to be heard and seen by the partner, to bring the changes that would make this relationship more fulfilling. It is my joy and privilege to help couples untangle the cycle of endless fights and help them take a step away from the content they are drowning in to see each other and their mutual need to connect.

When in session I observe couples’ difficulties; in communicating with each other, sending clear signals about their needs, holding each other, and simply being kind to themselves and/or to their partner – I feel thankful that they showed me their “stuck place.” They have allowed me to experience with them what it feels like during those hard moments. While I have deep empathy for their pain, discouragement, and distress, I am ready to roll up my sleeves as real work begins here. I encourage my couples not to shy away from showing me their struggles. When you come to my office- I got you! I will be holding you, and I will not drop you no matter how heavy the issues might be.

Clinical Approach

I completed my post-graduate training at Derner School of Psychology, Adelphi University, NY where I received my certificate in psychoanalytic therapy and an advanced postgraduate training in couples therapy.

I am an advanced-level EFT (Emotion Focused Therapy) and Gottman-trained (Level 3) couples therapist. I also received advanced DBT Training from Dr. Linehan, a founder of DBT (Dialectical Behavioral Therapy). So, my clinical approach is a unique blend of all of the above with structural and systemic approaches. But mostly what I learned after years of working with couples is that each relationship is unique and requires an individual approach, grounded in deep knowledge and expertise, yet flexible and tailored to this relationship’s needs.

Work Summary

Earlier in my career, I worked in different settings with different populations (e.g., inpatient psychiatric units, outpatient perinatal centers, and college centers). When I started working in private practice in 2009, I specialized in borderline personality disorder, chronic suicidality, and self-harming behaviors. Working with these folks, a lot of whom had an extensive history of trauma, taught me to appreciate human resilience. It also made me a very resilient therapist myself. Eventually, I expanded my practice to include couples, and I loved it so much that I shifted gears to work mostly with couples now.

In the past, I also taught in undergraduate and graduate programs and supervised and mentored doctoral students in a clinical psychology program. Some of them still stay in touch, and I am honored to be a part of their personal and professional journey.

Personally Speaking

I am originally from Russia and next lived in France before moving to the United States. I arrived in Paris at 18 as an au-pair without any knowledge of French. This beautiful country became my home, and I spent more than a decade there. I mastered the language; I was accepted to Sorbonne University where I got my degree in economics followed by an MBA from a joint French-Canadian program. While I enjoyed my first career in marketing medical devices, it was more of a job than a vocation. So, when I moved to the United States, I returned to graduate school and chose a different career path. I pursued this new path with joy and passion.

My journey has taught me resilience, curiosity, and the courage to shake and reshape what has been expected from me. It also showed me how a desire to connect, to find your tribe, your team, and your safe haven is universal and transcends all the frontiers. I am continuously working on creating a “safe haven” in my own family (an experience I did not have as a child), and I help couples I am working with to build theirs.

I have been in psychoanalysis for several years now, and I have attended couples therapy for my relationship with three different therapists. Not all of those experiences have been positive.

I experienced firsthand how important it is to choose a practitioner who is competent as a clinician and also caring and empathic as a human being. This is the kind of clinician I am relentlessly striving to be.

I am grateful for those experiences. They allowed me to grow as a human being and also to get a better understanding of what it might feel like for you to come to my office and share your life story, your relationship history, and your pain with me.

Being a foreigner who lived in four different countries on three continents, I have the utmost respect for differences in people. With time and self-work, I internalized how being different doesn’t mean being “less than” the mainstream group.

I learned not to be shy about my accent but rather to embrace it. You will notice a slight accent when you speak with me. Our differences, whether in cultural background, family background, sexual orientation or preferences, appearance, education, and interests, bring richness and uniqueness and deserve to be uncovered and celebrated.

Who has inspired you?

Viktor E. Frankl undoubtedly has been a great source of inspiration. My favorite quotes are:

“There are things which must cause you to lose your reason, or you have none to lose”― Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning

Both as a person and as a clinician I strongly believe that there are always “good” reasons why we human beings become dysregulated, why we engage in the behaviors that jeopardize our own well-being or our relationships. Some of these reasons can be quite universal, easily identified, and are understood by us and others. Other reasons are very idiosyncratic and unclear even to us. A compassionate understanding needs to come first, and only then a challenge and a change can take place. In my books, while we can question certain behaviors, feelings are not questionable.

My other favorite quote from his book is:

“But there was no need to be ashamed of tears, for tears bore witness that a man had the greatest of courage, the courage to suffer.”―  Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning.

I would not want to promote the stereotype that “men don’t cry.” And yet in my work with couples, I witness over and over how difficult it is to open up, and to be vulnerable. That is hard for both partners but especially for men who have been conditioned that speaking about their hurts and needs makes them look “weak” and makes them “a burden.”

In my intensives, I put it as the highest priority to create safety and trust that would allow both partners to discover each other’s humanity which is oftentimes obscured by anger or shut down and hidden behind a “wall.” It is very healing to be seen and heard by your partner. When together we experience those moments in couples’ work, it brings me an ultimate sense of joy and satisfaction.


“It is well known that humor, more than anything else in the human make-up, can afford an aloofness and an ability to rise above any situation, even if only for a few seconds.”― Viktor Emil Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning.

Yes, yes, and yes! As a therapist, I am playful yet sensitive and serious. Humor, spontaneity, and vitality are what I am striving to bring to my sessions and ultimately to the couples’ relationship.

Hobbies and Interests

I have unique and quirky habits. The first thing I do after I wake up is take an ice bath. I came across this concept while doing some research, trying to identify how to best help one of my patients deal with severe depression and substance abuse.

I felt an additional intervention was necessary to add to what we were doing in therapy. So, I came across this research that showed how that could be helpful for depression and anxiety and overall benefit our nervous system and body. I found it compelling and got curious. Before suggesting it to my patient, I decided to try it myself. I started with one minute and gradually built up to 10. The rest is history. Now I am officially hooked!

My other great pleasure is taking naps. Sometimes simple acts bring the strongest satisfaction. I try to remember this in my own relationships and to remind my clients of this as well.

Pet Love

Another interesting fact about me is that I live with nine pets (four cats, two dogs, two skinny pigs, and a bearded dragon). Their capacity to give and receive love is uncanny. I feel that we humans have a lot to learn from them. Also, I find taking care of them meditative and rewarding. It’s a good feeling to walk into a mess and make a difference.


I exercise daily. That’s my active mindfulness time, where I let go of the stress, empty my mind and connect with my body. I am a thinker, and usually, my mind easily takes over, so exercise is one of the activities that allows me to tune into bodily sensations more easily and to practice being fully in the moment. Working out and working on your relationship in couples therapy is comparable in my opinion. In both, it takes time, patience, and commitment to learning new moves.


My other hobby is cooking. However, recently I subscribed to a pre-cooked meals delivery service, as I realized that I was stretched too thin and that cooking became a chore that I resented and was hard to squeeze into my busy daily schedule. So, I allowed myself to outsource it. Now I am saving cooking for special occasions where I can enjoy doing it. With the couples I work with I can’t emphasize enough the importance of self-care and self-compassion, so I chose to apply it to myself as well.


I love reading; I love books. I collect antique books. It is amazing that sometimes you can find real gems in thrift stores or tag sales. When I am opening these books, I imagine the hands that held them in the past- all those people with their distinctive destinies, joys, and sorrows. It makes me feel connected to a larger universe, to traverse space and time, and sometimes to think of a larger perspective.

I am trilingual, and I have the privilege and joy of reading books in the original language. To me books are like people–I am excited to hear the stories they tell and to discover the uniqueness of each of them.

Scuba Diving

 I am a certified scuba diver. I have done night dives and cave dives. In my couples therapy, I use metaphors a lot; they help me to connect to my clients’ inner world in a playful yet deep manner.

For example, when we go deep underwater, it is important to have a dive buddy. Our survival might depend on them. It is similarly important to have your “buddy” in your couple, the person with whom you can explore the world, someone you fully trust and depend on. Without this kind of connection, life feels lonely and dangerous. I am trying to help my couples to reconnect with each other on a deep level to increase their feeling of safety with each other. Then playful discoveries in daily life, in intimacy, in exploring the world together become a possibility.

Goals and Aspirations

On a personal level, I am currently learning how to play piano and tennis. My goal is to reach at least the intermediate level at both. When I chase the ball on the court or practice musical scales, part of me feels humbled and uncomfortable. I am used to feeling competent in areas of life. Still another part of me though takes great pride in my ability to achieve these small incremental successes.

My biggest aspiration is to be better at finding a balance between the priorities of my own family and my individual priorities. It is still a work in progress!

Philanthropic & Volunteer Activities

I actively participate and consult in therapists’ support groups that work with refugees from Ukraine. I also regularly allocate part of my clinical hours to pro-bono cases I offer to couples and families in need.

Publications, Conference Presentations  

Pogge, D., Chase, D., et al. (2016). Prevalence of and comorbidities with disruptive mood dysregulation disorder in an inpatient setting. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 55, 10, S 191.

Kuriansky, J., Brown, E., Fulbright, Y., Duranceau, D., Shefet, O., Thrasher, C. (2009). Private Questions, Public Answers: What People Ask about Sexuality and Relationships in Various Anonymous Forums. Sexuality Education: Past, Present and Future. Westport, Connecticut, London: Praeger.

Duranceau, D.Kuriansky, J. (July, 2009). Categorization and Analysis of Questions about Sexuality in Various Anonymous Formats. Poster presented at the Division of Forensic Psychology Conference, University of Central Lancashire, UK.

Duranceau, D., Pogge, D.L., Buccolo, M., Harvey, P.`(October, 2012). Validation of a DSM 5 Condition: Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder. Poster presented at the Society for Research in Psychopathology 26th Annual MeetingAnn-Arbor, MI.

I invite you to join me in NYC to conduct your private couples therapy retreat.