Couple and Family Therapy

Mouth Guard

South County Psychiatry provides couples and family therapy in North Kingstown, RI. Call 401-268-5333 to schedule a consultation today.

South County Psychiatry offers family therapy to couples and families of all ages and constellations. We start with a comprehensive evaluation to get to know each family or couple, their strengths, challenges, and how they see any issues they are facing. The therapist provides feedback, including whether further meetings make sense, and if so, what they might entail. Our work is practical, problem focused, and strength and value based.

Common issues that bring families to treatment:

Living with and supporting family members with conditions like depression and mood disorders, anxiety, adjustment to illness, life transitions, relationship stress, relationship endings and divorce, parenting, role changes such as transition to parenthood or caregiving, job or career stress or challenges, living with chronic illness, coping with terminal illness, grief, and  loss.  We also work with sexual difficulties including difficulties with pleasure, performance anxiety, adjustment to being sexual after illness such as prostate cancer or breast cancer, pain with sex, and sex after trauma.

Dr. Marcaccio

Abigail Mansfield Marcaccio, PhD

Who is appropriate:

Families who are willing to sit down and talk about ways to have more comfortable ways of being involved.

Who is not appropriate:

  • Families who are not open to sitting down and talking together about the issues they are facing.
  • Families who are involved in custody or legal battles with each other.

Frequently Asked Questions about Couple and Family Therapy

South County Psychiatry offers couple and family therapy aimed at helping couples and families build the kinds of relationships they want to have with each other. The McMaster Approach guides couple and family treatment, and is described below.

Why seek family or couple therapy?

Supportive relationships are the biggest predictor of both emotional and physical health, and people with strong supportive relationships endorse greater satisfaction with life. Encountering difficulty in relationships with the people closest to us is common. Couple or family therapy can help you through those difficulties and can help you learn to cultivate satisfying, strong and  supportive relationships.

What kinds of issues are appropriate for family therapy?

Couples and families seek treatment for a wide variety of reasons. Common reasons for seeking treatment include:

  • adjustment to illness
  • role transitions such as living with a new or chronic diagnosis, leaving home, difficulty functioning in current role, going to college, ending a relationship, a career or job change
  • wanting to be closer to each other
  • feeling as though the relationship(s) have drifted apart
  • difficulties with physical or emotional intimacy
  • disagreements about finances or how to handle money
  • lacking clarity or agreement about reasonable expectations of each other
  • wanting clearer boundaries in relationships
  • coping with infidelity
  • setting and maintaining reasonable limits and expectations of each other
  • wanting to find comfortable ways to be involved with each other

What is a family?

We conceive of family broadly. Families include couples of any kind, as well as families of any constellation (parents, children, siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, in-laws, parents and adult children, adult children caring for aging parents, step children and siblings, you name it). Sometimes the people closest to us are not related to us, and we use the same approach to work with relationships between loved ones regardless of whether there are blood ties.

Who should come to family therapy?

The more the merrier! In trying to get to know a family and how it works, it is helpful to meet as many of its members as possible. For couple therapy, both members of the couple need to be willing to engage in treatment.

What should we expect in family or couple therapy?

Couple and family therapy begins with an evaluation. During that evaluation, the therapist will ask many questions to get to know you as a couple or family. They will want to know what issues you see yourselves facing, how you handle things all couples and families have to manage, as well as what you would like to accomplish in treatment. The therapist will talk with you about the treatment they can offer, and whether that feels like a good fit for what you are looking for. You can then decide whether proceeding with treatment makes sense for you.

Treatment involves getting a picture of where things are currently, your strengths, what you want to be different, and concrete steps all family/couple members can take to get closer to where they want to be. Treatment is non-blaming, and everyone is expected to work together to create change. Furthermore, treatment requires that everyone involved work toward enacting the kind of relationships they want to have with each other. Sometimes family or couple meetings help family members to practice new ways of talking with each other, listening to each other, or showing care for each other before trying them out at home.

What approach do you use in family therapy?

Couple and family therapy is guided by the McMaster Approach to evaluating and treating families. The McMaster Approach requires that couples and families participate in a comprehensive assessment to identify problems and strengths and to identify goals that will guide treatment, as well as concrete actions individuals can take to work toward their goals together. It has a variety of empirically supported tools that guide formulation, and is supported by decades of research. The McMaster Approach is practical and uses here-and-now interactions to help families develop the kinds of relationships they want to have with each other.

How long are the couple or family therapy sessions themselves?

Therapy meetings can be anywhere from 30 to 55 minutes depending on the clinician’s schedule.

How long will couple or family therapy last?

You and your therapist will decide together what you want to work on. If your work is targeted, therapy could be short term, for example between 3 and 16 meetings. If you have a number of issues you want to address, it could go on longer.

What kinds of cases are not appropriate for family therapy?

Families involved in custody battles or contentious legal disputes are not appropriate for treatment. Families or couples who are not willing or able to talk and listen to each other are also not appropriate for the kind of treatment we provide. If there is current ongoing interpersonal violence or emotional coercion, individual therapy aimed at getting patients to safety is the preferred treatment. Ongoing substance misuse may need to be treated before couple or family work can be effective.