Serving West Palm Beach, Delray Beach, Boca Raton, Boynton Beach and South Florida
Almost two-thirds of Dr. Ransen’s clients are seeking a marriage counselor or a couples therapist or premarital counseling or relationship therapy. Since earning his first Ph.D. in psychology and family dynamics from Cornell University in 1979, he has developed a specialty in marriage counseling, couples counseling, and relationship therapy. Over the years, he has seen outstanding outcomes with couples, even when they have waited far too long to seek help. After some 20 years, he returned to graduate school at Nova, this time earning a second degree in Marriage & Family Therapy. He has earned, in his 40-year career, a reputation as a top couples counselor. LGBT couples are always welcome and understood.
Dr. Ransen has changed the course of relationships for hundreds of couples who were seeking the best counseling they could find:
• Premarital Counseling
• Relationship Counseling
• Signs of Marriage Trouble, Marriage Problems
• Relationship problems
• Marital Crisis
• Marital Warning Signs
• Marriage Counseling After an Affair
• Do We Need Marriage Counseling?
• Relationship Issues
Consistent with his therapy for individuals, Dr. Ransen employs powerful but brief therapy. Marriage counselors and couples counselors commonly expect you to commit months or even years to therapy, in order to find the “deep-rooted causes” of problems. By contrast, Dr. Ransen usually schedules just 2 to 4 sessions, and very rarely needs to see his clients more than 5 times. The sessions are normally spread out over 1 to 3 months.
The explanation is simple. Why spend lots of time and money discussing things that didn’t work? Instead, Dr. Ransen will empower you to create solutions that will work, because they have worked for you in the past. He never forgets that you are the expert on your life, and he is not. Creating solutions (instead of analyzing problems) saves lots of time, money, and discomfort, while laying out a roadmap for progress that is easy to follow — because identifying solutions that have worked for you in the past invariably yields solutions that will work for you in the future.
Further, you need not trust the advice of a therapist, because the best solutions almost always come from you. Dr. Ransen honors you as the experts on your lives; he is not and never will be. That’s one of the reasons why Dr. Ransen avoids giving advice. Advice is free and plentiful from well-meaning but untrained friends and relatives. Effective counseling is not about giving advice. Questions from Dr. Ransen that empower you to recall and deploy successful solutions are very powerful; that’s where his many years of training and experience really pay off.
A highly trained specialist in marriage counseling and couples counseling with four decades’ experience, Dr. Ransen knows how to help you on a path to repairing your marital crisis or relationship problems quickly, employing cutting-edge 21st century counseling. Beginning early in your first session, Dr. Ransen will shift the discussion from “problem talk” to “solution talk.” From then on, there is little value in discussing problems. Besides, you already know more about your relationship problems than he ever will.
- If you argue more often than once a week, then now is the time to seek help, because you have already waited too long.
- Do you send more than three or four text messages to your partner each day? This is very often a sign of trouble. Strange, but true. If you don’t believe it, then allow Dr. Ransen to prove it to you! Or just try going a couple of days without texting.
- Have you become frustrated by a sexless marriage?
- Staying together “just for the kids?” You’ve got it backwards. The greatest gift you can give your kids is showing them what a happy marriage looks like.
- Feel the need for premarital counseling before making the big decision?
- If you had a sexually intimate relationship, but lately it’s come down to once or twice a month (or less), then something is wrong. Down deep, you know that explanations about stress or fatigue are just excuses. If every couple who are stressed or tired stopped enjoying frequent intimacy, then very few babies would be born.
- If you cannot remember when your last pre-planned date night occurred, or if you have fewer than one pre-planned date each week, then trouble is brewing. Please seek help now, while your relationship can still be saved. No baby-sitter? Dr. Ransen can help.
- Is one of you missing dinner with the family more than twice a week? There are a million excuses, but few are justified. Please don’t brush off this situation. It matters. Kids notice and remember more than you think.
- Do you, or does your partner feel neglected since the arrival of a baby? Please don’t dismiss this as normal. Begin marriage counseling now.
- When not working, do you spend less than half of your time with your partner? Not a good sign. Please, seek expert help now!
- LGBT relationships frequently present greater and/or different challenges. The warning signs above, however, still usually apply.
Relationship Counseling and Marriage Counseling Myths and Facts
Some things that “everybody” knows about couples therapy and marriage counseling are just myths:
- Myth: A serious couples problem, marriage problem, or relationship issue can be solved only after intense marriage counseling, relationship counseling, or couples therapy lasting months or years. Most relationship issues can be solved only by carefully tracing them back to a client’s childhood and youth. It’s essential to gain a deep understanding of the root causes. If a problem was years in the making, then it may take years to find a solution.
- Fact: If time and money were of no concern, then it might be interesting to probe your life history and upbringing. But there is no evidence that digging up ancient or recent history actually makes problems go away. The truth is that spending a short time creating effective solutions is much more effective (and much less expensive) than spending a long time analyzing problems. A good couples counselor need not understand all the factors that contributed to your current problems in order to help you to identify solutions. If you saw a man drowning, would you jump in the water (to better understand his problem) or throw him a lifeline (to help him create a solution)? Does it matter how he ended up in the water? This kind of thinking results in practical and enduring solutions in just a handful of sessions. And it feels so rewarding and natural while you’re doing it, so it’s self-motivating. When my clients have created effective solutions, they know when they no longer need therapy, and that usually requires just a few sessions. Best of all, the solutions you create will be effective & long-lasting.
- Myth: Relationship counseling and marriage counseling are a waste of time and money, because all we do is argue, while the counselor occasionally asks dumb questions like, “How does that make you feel?”
- Fact: If you have experienced something like this, then you have simply gotten stuck with a bad couples counselor. You can argue at home for free. There is no reason to pay good money to a relationship counselor who listens while you argue. Please, do your homework before selecting a couples counselor. Ask people you trust. Read websites carefully. A disappointing experience with one bad therapist does not mean that marriage counseling is a scam. It’s up to you to find an experienced and highly-trained therapist who actually helps you! By the way, couples rarely argue in Dr. Ransen’s office. They just don’t, no matter how angry they may have been when they showed up. He keeps them so busy creating effective solutions that they don’t have time to argue, and they spend most of each session working on solutions, as a team. They generally leave the office feeling more hopeful and optimistic than when they arrived. And they gain a clearer idea of when no more counseling is needed, because they have run out of things to argue about.
- Myth: After a partner is caught having a secret affair, the damage is done and repairing the marital crisis is impossible.
- Fact: More than half of the couples who come for couples counseling or marriage counseling are here because someone has been caught or suspected of cheating. Similarly, many individual clients seek counseling in desperation, because they have been caught having an affair or they have suspicions or evidence that their partners have been sexually unfaithful. Even late-night internet chatting often feels like infidelity. Couples come here hoping to repair the damage, and they are often pessimistic. Occasionally their pessimism is justified. More often, relationship issues can be repaired with a little effort. It doesn’t happen overnight, because trust must be restored gradually and with sincerity. Rebuilding trust may take a while, but the therapy need not. The important thing to know is that affairs rarely doom a marriage or relationship. People who come for help want to know how things can ever be like they were before — or better. They usually find solutions here in just a few sessions, although it generally takes longer than that (after counseling is over) to fully re-establish mutual trust. The important thing to remember is that there is life after an affair, and Dr. Ransen has treated many hundreds of couples who today are living proof that couples can not only survive, but even grow closer after infidelity.Go to top
- Myth: My partner and I need couples counseling or marriage counseling because we can’t seem to communicate.
- Fact: In reality, people who have been together for more than a little while are very, very good at communicating with each other. Quite often, their problem is that sometimes they don’t pay enough attention to what messages they are sending and receiving. When a woman asks, “Why do you want to stay up and watch that dumb TV show so late?” she is disappointed if she hears no reply. She may conclude that she and her partner can’t seem to communicate. But an experienced therapist knows that a very rich and meaningful conversation may have just occurred. Perhaps the woman was actually asking for sexual intimacy, in a way she felt comfortable asking. Maybe her partner understood her perfectly, and replied (through silence), “I have no wish to make love to you, after the way you let your mother speak to me during dinner.” That’s just one example; the messages may be quite different. But there were messages hiding in the indirect question and the silent response, and an experienced therapist can recognize and shed light on them. A loving couple can usually create solutions quickly, once they become more attentive to the messages they are sending and receiving. This enhanced attention is part of what is often called “mindfulness.”
- Myth: Before marriage counseling or couples counseling can be effective, one or both partners must receive some individual therapy, in order to take care of his or her “issues.”
- Fact: Seeing separate therapists is rarely a good idea at this point. It almost never ends well. No matter how competent the therapists may be, they will lead you down different paths. There is no substitute for creating solutions as a team.
- Myth: Holistic Therapy is “New Age” and alternative.
- Fact: It is good to keep an open mind, and a good holistic therapist does not ignore evidence that shows the effectiveness of any technique. At Delray Holistic Therapy, all approaches that have been proven to be effective are taken seriously and employed when appropriate. These approaches are sometimes called “complementary” or “alternative” therapies. However, Dr. Ransen has much experience and adheres to a strict code of ethics. He is a Cornell-trained Ph.D. (1979) scientist and clinician with numerous publications to his credit in prestigious peer-reviewed journals. His practice is evidence-based, and steers clear of some of the “New Age” modalities mentioned in the Myth above, if they lack any credible evidence of efficacy. He doesn’t treat his clients like guinea pigs; he uses only those techniques that have been thoroughly tested and proven to be safe, effective, and enduring. The term “holistic therapy” is a reminder that each couple or family is a whole system with important social, psychological, spiritual, biological, cultural and familial dimensions. Dr. Ransen honors and treats the full range of people’s needs. He never labels people as “bipolar,” “ADHD,” or “codependent,” because that is the first step toward defining someone as a “disorder.” Dr. Ransen understands that you are much more than mood swings or arguments, which may be problems you happen to be struggling with at the moment. He understands that mental illness is very rare, while rough patches in life are normal and very common. He knows that solutions can be found anywhere, not just inside your head. Most often the best solutions are found in the relationships you have with others who are important in your life.
At the end of each session with a top couples therapist, you are likely to leave with some gifts. One is an enlightened feeling of optimism and hope. Another may be a very small homework assignment, which could be to repeat a phrase to yourself silently for a week, or to make a very small change in how you respond in a particular kind of situation. Why the homework? Progress does not occur during a session, but between sessions. You can work many small miracles in the period between sessions, a period that may range from ten days to a month. Dr. Ransen sees this progress several times every week. After a few sessions, these small miracles often become big miracles.