Last Shot Couples Therapy for Couples on the Brink

Emergency Marriage Counseling

Have you made plans to leave, consulted an attorney, or even filed for divorce, but hope “one last shot” of couples therapy might stop divorce?

Every day at Couples Therapy Inc. we help couples who have almost given up on their marriages. Some call it emergency marriage counseling. Whether or not you've spent money on attorneys, you maybe be asking yourself:

"Could it … Could we work again, with the right therapist?”


The answer is a resounding yes.

Before we talk about how to save a marriage on the brink of divorce, let's talk about why to stop divorce.

Why stop divorce?

Because there is a lot riding on your marital happiness. And there's a lot of misinformation about the benefits and drawbacks of divorce. Spend a weekend in a Couples Retreat.  Just the two of you and one highly skilled therapist.

You may have tried weekly 45-50 minute couples therapy, like so many of our clients have. You’ve suffered for an average of six long years (1) with serious problems. Maybe a lot longer. Fights about nothing have made doing the simplest things together impossible. Coldness.  Contempt.  Disdain.

Learn to get along and resolve your differences & resentments.  We can help. Here's the kicker:

There is no scientific evidence that divorce will make you happier.

My husband had threatened to leave. Past infidelity continued to haunt us. We tried three different "therapists" but none of them understood our issues and tried to minimize them. We didn't feel that we were heard or understood. When we chose Couples Therapy Inc., we were looking for experts. We didn't know whether one weekend would make a difference and whether virtual sessions would be effective.

Our therapist did a thorough review of our background information; a skillful analysis with a frank approach. We really felt that he understood us and had the skills and commitment to help. He built rapport and trust early in the process so that we could freely discuss our issues. He reminded us of what we were doing right and coached us through how to improve in the weaker areas.

It was life-changing and marriage-saving! We got perspective on our issues; we learned how to communicate; we love and appreciate each other.

 This is nothing like the other counseling we tried. I am glad we did not stop searching for help. The costs is far less than a divorce.

Recent Intensive couples therapy client

Which Describes Your Situation?

We are willing to try, but it's going to take a miracle..."

Keep reading. Among those who rated their marriages as "very unhappy," almost 8 out of 10 who didn't divorce were happily married five years later. Can we help you stop divorce?  There is a very good chance that we can, yes.  We do "miracles" like that every day.

We hold private intensive couples therapy retreats  all across the USA and in Ireland, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, and in New South Wales in Australia with our international team

Saving a marriage on the brink of divorce?

We call it "Last Shot Couples Therapy" when couples have started to given up hope...but are still hanging on. These are offered by highly skilled specialists at helping severely troubled couples.

"One of us thinks it's hopeless and that marriage counseling is a waste of time. But we're stuck."

Then click HERE.  While there is little point seeking help if one person is actively pursuing divorce, if there is doubt about whether that's the best move, discernment counseling is a better option than couples therapy. It's time limited help, primarily with each individual and where confidential information is not shared with the spouse.

What's the best option? Should you divorce? Try to work it out? It's stressful and confusing. It's what this approach was designed for.
It helps each of you make a decision with clarity and confidence.

After an assessment, it's a maximum of 5 sessions to explore options: 1. Divorce 2. Work on your marriage or 3. Do nothing different.

Ask yourself:

  • If I knew how to save my marriage from the brink of divorce, would I try? What's it worth to me to preserve my family?
  • How many different therapists are we willing to try out before we give up? Were they generalists on our insurance panel or specialists in helping severely distressed couples?
  • How many approaches have we already tried that were science-based or certified in a science-based method demonstrated to be effective?

And here's another surprise:

No matter how bad it is, you can still find marital happiness again.

Isn't that a shocking fact?

Research reveals that the severity of your marital troubles has very little to do with how likely you are, in the end, to be happily married. Even marriages with serious problems survive and eventually prosper.

"While there is a general cultural bias that now favors divorce when an individual is in an unhappy marriage…in a careful analysis of nationally representative data with extensive measures of psychological well-being, researchers could find no evidence that divorce or separation typically made adults happier than staying in an unhappy marriage.”

- Linda j. waites, phd. Distinguished Lecturer:
Lucy Flower Professor in Urban Sociology The University of Chicago

Many currently happily married spouses have had extended periods of marital unhappiness, often for quite serious reasons, including alcoholism, infidelity, verbal abuse, emotional neglect, depression, illness, and work reversals. Why did these marriages survive where other marriages did not? The marital endurance ethic appears to play a prominent role. Many spouses said that their marriages got happier, not because they and their partner resolved problems but because they stubbornly outlasted them. With time, they told us, many sources of conflict and distress eased. Spouses in this group also generally had a low opinion of the benefits of divorce, as well as friends and family members who supported the importance of staying married."

The severity of the problems don't predict divorce with couples on the brink.

There is no evidence that divorce makes you happier.

These are just two of the many  counterintuitive findings that research has revealed. And while we don't endorse staying together "just for the children," we do think being happy together is the best option. We can help you learn how to get the needed support from friends and family to stay together, and work out your issues. We'll teach you how to draw on your friends and relatives for marital support, and not take sides.

Don't stop divorce, only "for the sake of the kids." Stay for your ultimate happiness, as well. And don't assume that divorce will bring you that happiness.

Few couples give couples therapy a try.

According to marital researcher John Gottman, only 10% of divorcing couples had sought out professional help of any kind. They never asked how to save their marriage when it was on the brink of divorce.

The 10% who did saw a therapist an average of 4 sessions.

This is not giving the marriage a "fair shot," for couples about to divorce. What's worse, like me, many found "All Purpose Therapists" who saw them for 50 minutes... just enough time to get them fighting, but not enough time to help them move through it. That's not evidence-based treatment.

While there is a general cultural bias that now favors divorce when an individual is in an unhappy marriage, researchers couldn't find the evidence. What a real shame considering the damaging impact divorce has on families. More...

However, it does tell another sad story:

That means 90% never gave their marriage a chance. And will remarry within a few years, without ever learning from their past mistakes. (3)

And even those who did, seldom go to a skilled couples therapist who uses evidence-based treatment methods.

"Evidence-based" means it works. Methods that have been Proven Effective.

Sadly, research also confirms (2) that 25%-30% of divorcing individuals who finished court-required classes, answered "Maybe" or "Yes" to the question:

"Looking back, do you wish you and your ex-spouse had tried harder to work through your differences?"

"Yes, I do," was the overwhelming response.

Our couples therapy work is scientifically-based. It involves an extensive assessment before treatment even begins.

You'll know what's wrong and how to fix it.

"What about my affair partner? They make me happy..."

  • There's a 3% chance that it will be a long-term relationship.
  • If you're one of the 3% that marry, there's a 70% chance that you'll end up divorced.
  • Every divorce increases the odds of another divorce.

"But I've already moved out..."

That means you should be fast-tracking it to get help. Don't put it off. Moving costs can be paid again. Real marital happiness is priceless. Take a weekend, and get the guidance you need to know how to proceed.

"Moving out" doesn't mean it's over, unless that's what you want it to mean.

Dare to hope. Muster the courage to ask your spouse to try...again. With you. You can stop divorce.

Men ask for Last Shot Couples Therapy, at twice the rate of divorcing wives. The same is true at Couples Therapy Inc.

One partner, often the wife, is usually more hesitant to enter couples therapy, when it is: "Last Shot Couples Therapy."

These reluctant wives say: "I asked him to get help and he refused!"

It takes courage and goodwill to try again.

Then she stopped trying, got her own life in order, and now threatens or initiates divorce. Michelle Weiner Davis calls it the "Walkaway Wife Syndrome." Watch her video on my Knowledge Base Page. They believe, deep down, that if anyone is going to stop divorce in their marriage, it will now be their husband's turn.

Many wives tell us they feel too scared, too vulnerable to try again and risk another rejection. A wife will sometimes tell her husband: "You have the problem. You go get help!" But the truth is, it takes two to kill a relationship and it takes two to heal one.

If your spouse has refused your invitations for couples therapy, we offer an upcoming course on how to try again to talk to them about it.  Or "Hopeful Spouse" therapy for you alone, to learn how you can improve things on your own...research-based.

Schedule a consultation with one our our therapists.  Contact us.  We can answer all of your questions about the process.

Couples on the brink of divorce are facing the end of a relationship that was uniquely special to them.

You once meant everything to each other. 

You know a lot is riding on your capacity to work it out. If you've already separated, you now realize that this doesn't suddenly fix everything. Living apart presents its own unique challenges.

It is so painful to be in a relationship that is cold and distant. Or one that is filled with anger and animosity. It feels hopeless and futile to expect things to change.

And science tells us why:

 It's called "Negative Sentiment Override."  Learn more about why it feels so hopeless. couples learn they can heal a relationships damaged by infidelity.
But you also know that if you don't give it an honest try, you will no longer remain married.  It's as simple as that.

Don't second-guess yourself only after it is already too late. Be confident in your decision-making, before you finalize your divorce.

These are serious decisions, despite the media hype singing:  "I've gotta be me, without you..."

A dying marriage is like a person close to death. There is a lot of soul-searching.

Divorce involves enormous emotional, parenting, and economic consequences.

Unfortunately your health insurance won't pay for the intensive work needed to help your troubled marriage.  Learn why.

Research suggests girls are particularly impacted by divorce as they become adults and marry.

And we won't waste your time.

It all starts with an assessment, a: "State of the Union" assessment so you can save the "face-to-face" time for serious issues, instead of routing questions.

After a careful review, you will be provided with clear feedback about whether you can stop divorce, and exactly how.

We'll give you a treatment plan to consider. Over a weekend, you devote the time to talking it out, and figuring out if you can relate better. Then you decide whether to move forward.

I had filed for divorce.

Our core issues were my husband’s outbursts of anger, different beliefs in parenting style and a profound inability to communicate effectively with both feeling that the other wasn’t listening. My husband’s personality traits are exactly those of someone with a borderline personality disorder. He has never been in therapy, often distorts reality and typically considers suggestions as criticism.

It was very apparent that our therapist did her homework and was prepared for our completely opposite personalities. Her calm, patient demeanor was especially effective in dealing with my husband’s unpredictable mood changes and outbursts of anger. She was not deterred when he stormed out during the first two-hour session and was able to communicate with him.

We now know what triggers to avoid conflict and are making changes in our living arrangement that were a major factor in the breakdown of the marriage. We will each seek individual therapy and will continue marriage therapy.

Would you recommend your couples therapist and Couples Therapy Inc?

Absolutely yes.

Recent Intensive couples therapy client

Few therapist choose to work with severely troubled couples. You might ask, why do we specialize in couples on the brink of divorce?

Because I saw a need no one was filling. Most therapists didn't believe couples would pay for evidence-based treatment, so they settled for doing ineffective 45-minute insurance-based work.  

That horrified me.  

I'd say: "But 50-minute sessions do more damage than good."

Dr. K is President and CEO of Couples Therapy Inc. is among a few hundred Gottman Certified Therapist worldwide.

I believe in the Hippocratic Oath to "First Do No Harm," and 45 -minute sessions were hurting marriages according to research findings.

So I decided to do things differently.  I searched (and continue to look) worldwide to find the most talented couples therapists on the planet.

These are clinicians who believed that doing good work matters and should be rewarded. They are paid well for their services.

Couples Therapy Inc. competes with divorce attorneys. We aim to preserve your family, while they are hired to divide you, one against the other.

I read through hundreds of resumes by psychotherapists claiming that they can do couples therapy. But few have credentials to prove it. It's a specialized skill, and I look for someone with a passion to do this tough job, and the credentialing that tells me they've put the time, effort, and their own financial resources toward becoming the best at helping couples.

Every day our skilled clinicians see real progress. Couples who were about to divorce start to work together. They identify highly problematic patterns in the way they were relating, and do things differently. The ones that end up divorcing have a deeper appreciation for their role in the breakdown. They leave as collaborators, not adversaries. And science tells us how big a difference that can make. Effectiveness rates demonstrated to be 70-90% effective.  

Can we help you, too? 

Schedule a call

This is the first step. You can schedule a 20 free minute call at your convenience right here. During this call you can ask our client services manager any questions that you might have. She will ask you a few questions as well and help you to find a therapist that is the right fit for you.

Meet your therapist

This is an opportunity for you and your partner to speak with your therapist. Each (free) call is about 15 minutes. You can explain your situation in a bit more detail and ask any questions that you might have. After your meeting, our client services manager will help you to find an appointment (or weekend, if scheduling an intensive) that works for you and the therapist. 

Complete the BIG BIG Book

After scheduling your session or weekend, you will be sent an invoice. After the invoice is paid your time is reserved and you will be sent the links to the BIG BIG Book. Set aside some time to work on this, planning to take breaks as you need them. Let us know when you have completed them so we can get them right to your therapist.

Attend your sessions

Your therapist has your BIG BIG Book and is prepared for you and your partner. All of our discernment counseling starts with a full State of the Union Assessment but your schedule may vary depending on your preferences.

Email us or give us a call.  You can schedule a consult with one of our therapists, at no obligation.

We respond to all inquiries within 24-36 hours.