Offering couples therapy intensives in Boston, Massachusetts

Practice Values

I am a naturally enthusiastic teacher and trainer. I feel passionate about couples therapy and sex therapy and hold a deep respect towards those who invest in making their relationship better. I try to model honesty with my clients. I feel the responsibility to embrace my foibles as part of what makes me human, and in this, I am hoping to demonstrate and lead by example. To err is human and makes us interesting people. I am willing to be proven wrong. I strive to be non-defensive, open and always curious about my client’s reactions and my reactions to them. Compassion begins with forgiving ourselves. I learn from my clients, as they learn from me.

You will find that I have an active interactional style that is no-nonsense, but sweetened with humor and empathetic engagement. I care deeply about my couples. I adore all of them (most of the time), and I work hard to help them because I believe in intimate relationships. I want to help you to live happy, productive lives. And I want to strengthen the families that so depend upon your healthy relationship.

I try to broaden the emotional vocabulary of my clients, and to help them overcome society’s bias against powerful emotions like grief, sadness, anger, jealousy, guilt, and shame. Feeling something is no crime, and should carry no punishment. I enjoy working with Neurodiverse couples where one is neuro-atypical (or on the Autism Spectrum), such as those that have or have fallen slightly short of a diagnosis, and those with attention deficit. I do my best to “talk practically,” and avoid suggesting ideas that are unworkable to this population.

I was an AASECT Board-Certified Diplomat in Sex Therapy and a Sex Educator for 30 years, but time constraints doesn’t allow me to keep up with this certification. I think I’ve earned my stripes, however. Sex therapy work is some of my most cherished clinical endeavors. I treat it as far more valuable than an act. When it’s working, it creates the very heart of the marriage. When it stops working, it corrodes the soul. I will tread respectfully in this area. But both of you deserve to be well loved. You can read my articles on sexuality here.

I work with all couples, from every walk of life, including LGBTQIA+ couples.

Expert on Clinical Principles, Not on You

I am not an expert on my clients. I am an expert at understanding human relationships and sexology. I want my couples to be, or become, experts on themselves, their relationships, and their sexual lives.

Why I Do What I Do

I’m an outspoken cultural skeptic. I’m frightened about the state of our environment and about the depletion of resources that have made our modern life so wonderful. The pressures on people in our culture and our time are enormous, and we all need a good set of tools to cope with these pressures.

Nevertheless, I remain optimistic about the capacity of a small group of people to make profound changes in their own lives and in their communities. That’s what changes the world.

I believe the following:

  • When your relationship is strong, your family is strong.
  • When your family is strong, your neighborhood is strong.
  • When your communities are strong, your country and the world is a better place.

Work Summary

I received my doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology from Antioch University New England in 1988. I have very much taken to heart something that Horace Mann said at an address at Antioch College in 1859:

“Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity.”

Excellent couples therapy offered around the world is a victory of sorts!

I later became the Director of the Master’s Program in Counseling Psychology in the Department of Applied Psychology. In that program alone, there were 120-140 students and 40 faculty members. I’ve trained many of the masters level clinicians who are now helping to heal and repair others in their communities.

It is a fact I’m very proud of.

I’m also a Certified Gottman Therapist, one of an elite group of clinicians worldwide. And one of many in this practice. I’m also certified as a Discernment Counselor.

As I’ve mentioned, I am a sex therapist and I practice sex therapy in all of the states that I’m licensed in: CA, AZ and FL. I teach Human Sexuality & Sex Therapy in the Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology at Antioch these days. I’ve also taught Human Sexuality and Sex Therapy, and Gender and Ethnicity, among other courses, at the University of St. Joseph in West Hartford, Connecticut & Cambridge College in Cambridge, Massachusetts, some for decades.

Teaching graduate students also gives me great joy, and I feel honored to be able to do it. I’ve also been a Clinical Fellow of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy for over 25 years, and a board-certified Sex Therapy Diplomate and Educator for over three decades. This organization first made me a certified sex therapist in Massachusetts.

For three years, I supervised pre-doctoral psychology interns in an inner-city mental health clinic serving multi-generational, multi-problem families. I carried a supervisory caseload averaging 130-150 ongoing cases. I saw what grinding, multi-generational poverty does to the human soul.

I also learned to find some uneasy truce with that reality and to have an abiding respect for our clients’ struggles to stand tall and maintain dignity throughout horrific adversity.

Allow me to assure you that little of what you might say to me is likely to surprise me.

Personally Speaking

I’m a clinical psychologist, university professor, and writer. I cherish all of these roles.

I’m ethnically Irish, Scottish, and English. My Mother was born in Nova Scotia, Canada. She returned as a child many times as her Father, a finish carpenter, was building his own wife (my Great Grandmother) a house.

He worked with my Father years later to build the house I grew up in, a modest Cape that held five children. The home was one block from the one my Mother grew up in. Growing up, I was surrounded by my Mother’s family, as she was the youngest of 8.

Both sides of my Father’s family arrived from Ireland, both named McMahon and from the same county in Ireland, but they didn’t know one another and weren’t related. (Think: Jones or Smith). They met and married in South Boston. My Dad was the youngest of three.

I still have family in Ireland and believe ethnicity is an important part of many people’s lives, even if they don’t realize it or identify with it.


Recent Lectures

I did a day and a half presentation in the Spring of 2019 to Marriage and Family Therapists in Arizona through the Couples Therapy Interest Group of the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists. The focus was on how the nature of couples therapy is changing with a new generation of Millennials and new approaches to sexual issues. Only 8% see any stigma attached to going to couples therapy and many already have. Go Millennials!

In January 2015, I presented to clinicians from all over the world on the topic of High Functioning Autism in Marriage, through the Couples Institute in California. This is a training institute for the Developmental Method of Couples Therapy.

They liked it, and asked for more. I presented on Clinical Issues in High Functioning Autism in Marriage, also through the Couples Institute, in May 2015.

In February, 2014, I was honored to present the Gottman Method Couples Therapy approach to a room full of my colleagues in a conference called “Couples on the Edge: Working with Relationships from Multiple Perspectives.” I was one of six presenters with approaches including Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy, Narrative, Bowen, Developmental, and Imago. It was sponsored by The Massachusetts Association for Marriage and Family Therapy. A year later, in 2015, I was back presenting to Massachusetts clinicians on “Deconstructing Sexuality in Couples Therapy” with three other colleagues.

Let’s Talk About You Coming to Boston

…and about your situation, and how I might be helpful. I work with the most highly distressed of couples who are strongly motivated to improve their marriage. I also see Discernment Counseling couples and those wanting to revitalize their sexual lives.