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Q: Marriage Counselor in Northern VA ( Answered 4 out of 5 stars,   2 Comments )
Subject: Marriage Counselor in Northern VA
Category: Family and Home > Relationships
Asked by: r2-ga
List Price: $15.00
Posted: 21 Nov 2002 15:34 PST
Expires: 21 Dec 2002 15:34 PST
Question ID: 112203
I am trying to find a super high quality marriage counselor in the
alexandria virginia area.  This should be someone who has a great
reputation.  I would appreciate 2 or 3 choices

Request for Question Clarification by pinkfreud-ga on 21 Nov 2002 15:46 PST
Do you seek marriage counselors of any particular religous or
spiritual orientation? The more details you can give us, the better we
will be able to meet your needs.

Clarification of Question by r2-ga on 22 Nov 2002 06:03 PST
Thanks so much for that request for clarification.

The folks I am doing this research for don't go to church.  She is a
non practicing catholic, he was brought up in one of the other
christian faiths but now persues his own beliefs.

These are folks that don't communicate well, who have different
emotional and sexual needs, whole child has come between their own
relationship, who have different views of success and the appropriate
actions and obligations of the other.  The result is frustration and
resentment.  The good news is I think they still love eachother.

All in all, they need HELP and they want HELP.  They just can't dig
themselves out of this hole alone.  I think it will takes months of
counseling if not years, to get them back on track.

Hope this helps!
Subject: Re: Marriage Counselor in Northern VA
Answered By: byrd-ga on 25 Nov 2002 11:01 PST
Rated:4 out of 5 stars
You've taken on a challenging task. It's difficult enough to be
dealing with a troubled relationship.  The burden of finding competent
and accessible help can sometimes seem overwhelming on top of all the
other problems.  The people you're trying to assist are fortunate to
have someone like you helping them.  I'll try to provide you with a
fair variety of options in addition to the information on Imago
Therapy that madamlibrarian-ga has already give you.

First of all, I'd like to recommend a method which is fairly unusual
in that it doesn't approach marital problems from the usual "conflict
resolution" standpoint, but instead directly addresses the
difficulties you stated in your question.  That is, this approach aims
to teach couples exactly how to meet each other's differing needs
(emotional, sexual and other) while avoiding behaviors harmful to the
relationship, in an attempt to restore and maintain the initial "in
love" feeling that brought them together in the first place.

Dr. William Harley, who pioneered this concept, does have a great
reputation.  In fact, he's had quite startling and widespread success
with this approach, which he calls "Marriage Builders."  The main
Marriage Builders website is here: 
I'd recommend you (or this couple) do a fair amount of reading on the
basic concepts to see just how this differs from so many of the more
usual approaches to marriage counseling.  I can personally attest to
the efficacy of this method and approach, my partner and I having used
it ourselves, although without going through a formal counseling
process.  There is a mailing list and a discussion forum, where you
can find out more about how others use and benefit from this method.

I do realize that the Marriage Builders counseling center is located
in Minnesota, not Virginia.  However, it has had enormous success with
telephone counseling, which it has found equally effective as the
face-to-face counseling previously used.  The rationale is explained
here:  and
if you think this might be something that could help the couple you
are assisting, there is more information on using the service here:
However, if you (or they) would really prefer using a more traditional
approach in the immediate Alexandria area, here are several choices:

The Virginia Association for Marriage and Family Therapy's main
website is here:
They provide contact information for counselors trained in a
particular technique, which is one of five core disciplines recognized
by the National Institutes of Health, and is recognized by the U.S.
Public Health Service's Health Resources Services Administration as a
core mental health profession (along with psychiatrists, clinical
psychologists, clinical social workers, psychiatric nurse specialists,
and counselors). (42 CFR Part 5) You can read about this approach

For locating a MFT therapist in a particular area, you can use their
"Therapist Locator" service here: 
Here's the search result for counselors within a 15-mile radius of
downtown Alexandria:

In addition, Virginia Tech offers a sliding scale clinic as an adjunct
to their educational program in this particular method.  You can find
more information about that service here:

Marriage Encounter is, of course, sponsored by the Catholic Church,
yet many non-Catholics have availed themselves of the service it
provides in enriching and helping marriages, and it has an excellent
reputation.  As it says on their website, "The Marriage Encounter
Weekend is Catholic in orientation and is expressed in the tradition
and understanding of the Catholic Church. [But] It is presented in a
way that married couples from all faiths have come away from the
Weekend experience strengthened in their own religious beliefs."  If a
spiritual approach is something that would be important to this
couple, they may want to look into this further.  Information on
Marriage Encounter for Northern Virginia is here (be prepared - it
plays music automatically):

Directly related to this is the church's program for troubled
marriages, called "Retrouvaille," 
Retrouvaille is "a program for couples in troubled marriages,
separated individuals, and those who want their previous marriage to
work again," and like Marriage Encounter, is taught under the auspices
of the Catholic Church, but is not limited to Catholics only.  "The
word Retrouvaille, simply means 'rediscovery'. The program offers the
chance to rediscover yourself, your spouse, and a loving relationship
in your marriage."  There are several weekends scheduled for 2003 in
Virginia locations.  The schedule is here:

An alternative, very non-traditional approach to marriage and
relationship issues, including hypnotherapy and other unconventional
techniques is offered by Access Wisdom, which is located in Northern
Virginia.  Their main website is here: 
They do give information about their educational background and
training, as well as their services, but unfortunately do not provide
any testimonials or other references as to the efficacy of their
approach.  I've provided their info merely as one more alternative.

And finally, here is a place where you can request a referral and
quote from/by a marriage counselor based on your selected criteria,
such as certification, gender, budget, and any other considerations
you consider important:

Another, similar site is here:

And the National Board for Certified Counselors offers a referral
service here:  The search results for Alexandria
are here:

I hope this information fulfills your request for several choices of
reputable marriage counselors.  If anything isn't clear, or if I have
misunderstood your needs, please allow me to clarify before rating the
answer.  I am really interested in helping you, and the couple you are
assisting, find help for this all-too-painful, but hopefully solvable

Best regards,
r2-ga rated this answer:4 out of 5 stars

Subject: Re: Marriage Counselor in Northern VA
From: madamlibrarian-ga on 22 Nov 2002 15:09 PST
Hi-- Imago Therapy is designed especially for relationship counseling.
Read more at: There is a directory by state; the
following is a list for Virginia -- I hope this is
helpful. If you consider this to be enough, please post and I will
post it as an answer.  Good luck.
Subject: Re: Marriage Counselor in Northern VA
From: madamlibrarian-ga on 22 Nov 2002 15:15 PST
I'm sorry, but I left out half of my comment:
This is a list of the ones currently practicing in Alexandria:

Mary Ray, LCSW, ACSW
 (703) 683-0920 
201-B South Royal Street
Alexandria, VA 22314

Suzanna Hillegass, RN, MSW
 (703) 256-6513 
6510 Montrose Street
Alexandria, VA 22312

Mary VanDevanter, LCSW
(703) 273-5669 
6001 Tower Court
Alexandria, VA 22304

Judy Neary, LCSW
(703) 408-3294 
6001 Tower Court
Alexandria, VA 22304

This is also from the site mentioned above


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