Introducing Karen Levine, LMFT

Karen Levine, LMFT is a Gottman Certified Marriage and Family Therapist with specialized training in neurodivergent couples including couples in which one partner has Asperger's Syndrome, an Autism Spectrum Disorder, ADD/ADHD, or identifies as highly sensitive or gifted. 

 Offering Intensives in couples therapy retreats for the following US states:


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Her assessment of us as people and how that impacts our marriage was important


We were on the brink of divorce. We needed help managing conflict, expectations, and honoring agreements made.

Previous couples therapy was helpful, but the short nature of the sessions left a lot of work for us to do on our own, and my husband needs more guidance from a third party.

We chose Couples Therapy Inc because it is rooted in science, evidence-based practices (Gottman). The intensive nature of it was necessary, and there was a great therapist near us.

Karen listened with intention and was able to help us dig deeper and listen for understanding better than we have together before. Her assessment of us as people and how that impacts our marriage was important. I prefer the intensive format to standard sessions.

Not sure what changes have happened yet, but hopefully, we'll be clearly communicating, agreeing on expectations, and holding to them without or with reduced appearances by the four horsemen.

What three benefits resulted from working with Couples Therapy Inc.?

Having my husband explore neurodivergency for himself. 2. Relating childhood traumas to current behaviors 3. A clear path of exercises and behaviors to practice moving forward

Karen was wonderful to work with, and I really appreciate her help.

Welcoming couples to book in-person marriage retreat in
Oakland, California.

Also offering an intensive marriage retreat online.

Want to attend a couples therapy retreat in Oakland, California? Contact us.




M.A., The Wright Institute, Counseling Psychology,  2011.

MBA, Walter A. Haas School of Business, UC Berkeley, Master of Business Adminstration, 1999.

B.A.,  University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, Comparative Literature and Women's Studies.1993. Member of Phi Beta Kappa.


Marriage and Family Therapist: CA:  MFT 85942

Evidence-based Models

Certified Gottman Method Couples Therapist

Couples and Addiction Recovery, Gottman Institute

Gottman Trauma and Affairs Recovery

Additional Certifications & Trainings

Developmental Model of Couples Therapy Certification

Relational Life Therapy Level 1 & 2 and Experiential

Dan Wile Collaborative Couples Therapy Intensive

Divorce Mediation Certification

Practice Values

I work with couples who say that they feel stuck. Maybe they’ve been fighting about the same topic and not making any progress. Or maybe they notice that their relationship is in a rut. Maybe they’re going through a major life transition, like parenting or becoming empty-nesters, or healing from an affair or grief. I specialize in working with neurodiverse couples, in which one partner has a diagnosis of ADHD, an autism spectrum disorder (ASD), or is self-diagnosed. I also work with clients who identify as highly sensitive or gifted. 

As a Certified Gottman Therapist, I work exclusively with couples in my therapy practice. 

Gottman Couples Therapy is a highly effective approach designed to strengthen and revitalize relationships. With a focus on enhancing friendship, managing conflict, and fostering shared meaning, Gottman Couples Therapy equips couples with valuable skills to navigate challenges and build a solid foundation for a thriving partnership. Over my years of working with couples, I have been inspired by the transformations that I’ve witnessed as couples have learned new skills and identified new ways to understand their challenges, in order to grow and change. 

Many couples come to me because they’ve discovered that  their relationship has become “transactional”- they are focused on the business of parenting or managing their household; when they spend time alone their time is focused on practical tasks. They want to figure out how to enjoy spending time together again, whether that means increasing intimacy or just finding ways to reconnect. 

Relationships are not easy! They force us to constantly pay attention to both who we are and who our partner is, while also thinking about the relationship itself. I know from my own relationship that this can require some mental agility; we all eventually realize that the relationship we thought we had at the beginning is not the same as the one we are in now. And this means that we have to adjust expectations, adjust our notions of what relationships mean, and- most importantly- adjust who we are as individuals. The couples therapist Terry Real wrote that “changing one’s own behavior is a much more promising strategy than insisting on change from the other.” I’ve seen many clients have an “a-ha!” moment when they understand this. 

I work best with clients who really want to roll up their sleeves and make changes. I always begin my work with clients by explaining that most of the work of couples therapy involves learning skills that you can apply to all of your other relationships: being a better communicator, dealing with conflict in more productive ways, developing empathy. When couples are interested in self-growth and increasing their awareness of their own patterns, I find that therapy can be extremely rewarding. When clients are unwilling to look at their own contributions to their current dynamics, therapy doesn’t tend to progress as smoothly or as quickly.

Being a couples therapist is a deep honor. I greatly admire the vulnerability that couples demonstrate, from their very first interaction with me. Sharing these most private and sometimes embarrassing parts of yourself with a stranger takes courage, and I have a great amount of respect for that bravery and dedication to improving relationships. 

Work Summary

Couples therapy is my second career. After college, I went to the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley, and got an MBA with a specialization in nonprofit management. I worked in a variety of roles including finance, human resources and operations, and was exposed to many facets of the business and nonprofit worlds. 

I spent several years raising children, and I decided that I was ready to pursue a new field. The fields of psychology and psychotherapy had always intrigued me, so I went back to school to get a Masters in Counseling Psychology at the Wright Institute in Berkeley. Leaving behind my old career and starting a new one was daunting, but has ultimately been a great decision. Since graduating, I’ve worked in a variety of clinics and school settings. I have been working in private practice for the past ten years. 

Personally Speaking

I have been told that I am empathic, kind, sensitive, and patient. I tend to be somewhat quiet at first, and definitely meet the definition of an introvert. But I also value my relationships and socializing, and feel that my friendships are a vital part of my life. I am a curious person who likes to observe and understand people. 

My parents divorced when I was eleven years old. I remember this as a time of many transitions, both logistically and emotionally. Fortunately the divorce was amicable and there was no rancor or hostility in the family. The divorce was the first time that I realized that relationships are both fragile and sometimes not permanent. Seeing how gracefully both of my parents handled their divorce was inspiring to me, and allowed me to understand that positive outcomes can result from events that feel negative at the time. 

Clinical Office

Since Covid, I’ve been doing all of my therapy work online from my home in Oakland. I also have an office in the Rockridge neighborhood of Oakland where I can see couples on the weekend for intensive sessions. The office is spacious and warm, with great natural light. Rockridge is a beautiful neighborhood with easy access to public transit, excellent restaurants, and many cafes. 

My office.



I’ve been married for over 20 years and have two teenage sons, who teach me new things every day. Watching them grow up and become young men with their own interests, personalities and voices has been an amazing process. Maintaining close connections is an important value in our family. Our extended family is spread across the United States, Canada and South America, so we often travel to visit relatives on family vacations.  


When I’m not reading or learning about couples therapy (this is actually a hobby of mine!) I love being outside in nature, biking, running and hiking. I grew up in suburban New York, and have lived in California’s Bay Area for over 30 years. The Bay Area is a magical place for exploring the outdoors. We have amazing weather year-round and hiking trails with giant redwoods and ocean views within minutes from home. LIke many others, I came to California thinking I was coming to visit, and ended up falling in love with the place and the people.

I’m also passionate about food and cooking, and I spend a lot of time thinking about what meal I will make next. I tend to get somewhat obsessive with food projects and researching to find the very best recipe. For example, when one of my kids had to stop eating gluten, I decided that I would learn to make the very best gluten-free pizza crust. I bought twelve different gluten free flours and tried many combinations, all with the hope of perfecting a pizza that would taste as good as one made with regular flour. (It turns out that gluten is what makes a good pizza crust, but I haven’t given up my quest yet!)

I recently started taking modern dance classes at a local dance studio. I danced as a child, and remember the joyfulness and freedom that dancing brought me as a slightly awkward and shy child. I was surprised to discover how difficult it is to re-learn a hobby like dancing. My brain and my body had such a hard time connecting with each other, like trying to put together pieces of a puzzle that somehow just don’t fit. I’m sticking with it, and hoping that it becomes easier eventually, so that I can relearn that sense of flow again. 

We enjoy outdoor activities.

Hiking is a passion of mine.

I look forward to welcoming you to my office in Oakland, California!