Best Relationship Counselors 2024

Women's Dating

10 Best Relationship Counselors of 2024

Chloë Hylkema

Written by: Chloë Hylkema

Chloë Hylkema

Chloë Hylkema loves using her writing skills to tell stories that matter. Her time as an English student at Emory University molded her into a detailed writer with a knack for the relatable. Chloë is familiar with what it means to date in the modern age, and she endeavors to write material that is both truthful and helpful. She has previously worked as lead campaign writer for an animal advocacy group and now brings her passion for engaging and actionable content to DatingAdvice.com.

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Edited by: Lillian Castro

Lillian Castro

Lillian Guevara-Castro brings more than 30 years of journalism experience to ensure DatingAdvice articles have been edited for overall clarity, accuracy, and reader engagement. She has worked at The Atlanta Journal and Constitution, The Gwinnett Daily News, and The Gainesville Sun covering lifestyle topics.

Discuss This! Discuss This!

If you and your partner fight, I have great news for you. So does every other couple — ever! Part of learning to navigate a romantic relationship is learning how to argue with them and how to get the most out of arguments. Disagreements, squabbles, and even bigger moments of discord all present the opportunity for you and your partner to deepen your connection and learn more about each other.

If you’ve ever been in a heated argument with a partner, you know how this approach could feel impossible. Emotions run high and touch on some pretty sensitive spots. Arguing sucks, but it’s essential for the longevity of the relationship.

A relationship counselor can make arguing a little easier and help you and your partner with diverse areas of your relationship. Great relationship counselors see both parties for who they are and what they want, and teach them how to work together to achieve that.

John Gottman | Stan Tatkin | Esther Perel | Marissa Tunis | Terry Real | Irina Firstein | Shannon Curry | Melissa Divaris Thompson | Tim Norton | Jenny Walters

Dr. John Gottman is nothing short of an icon in the couples counseling space, and for good reason. Dr. Gottman is the founder of the Gottman Institute, one of the leading voices in relationship counseling and education. The Gottman Institute’s approach was developed from years of research and clinical practice with real couples. Dr. Gottman and his wife and partner, Dr. Julie Schwartz Gottman, were pioneers of human sexuality and continue this legacy to this day.

Dr. Gottman has been working with couples for over five decades and has conducted research on all facets of relationships, from meeting and dating to marriage and children. Dr. Gottman’s approach supports and repairs troubled relationships while strengthening happy ones.

Best for: 50+ Years of Relationship Research

Dr. Stan Tatkin is the creator of the Psychobiological Approach to Couples Therapy, which is a treatment and training modality for couples and therapists alike. Dr. Stan developed the approach based on three distinct areas: neuroscience, attachment theory, and the biology of human arousal. The PACT approach has couples meeting frequently with a PACT-trained therapist while paying attention to moment-to-moment changes in the body.

Dr. Stan’s therapeutic approach relies on therapeutic sessions of between three to six hours, during which couples work through arguments in real time with their counselor. Couples tackle their issues through the argument with the guidance, support, and, if needed, intervention of the PACT-trained therapist.

Best for: Unique Psychobiological Approach

Esther Perel says it best: “The quality of our relationships determines the quality of our lives.” Esther is a psychotherapist and relationship and sexuality expert, and her popular resources have taken the scene by storm. Her podcast, “Where Should We Begin?,” features couples telling the real, raw, and intimate stories of their relationships, completed by Esther’s reflections.

Esther’s approach is based around her belief that human connection transforms us and is necessary for a full and thriving life. Esther offers resources for couples and any person looking to improve their relationships. Her resources are well-organized on her site, and categories include eroticism, infidelity, conflict and repair, play, and taboo. 

Best for: Relationship Podcast & Resources

Marissa Tunis is a psychologist who helps couples reconnect and find more joy, passion, and fun in their relationship. Marissa said she knew she wanted to be a psychologist since she was in high school, and she has dedicated her career to helping individuals and couples heal old wounds and step into lives filled with joy, passion and authentic connection. 

Marissa specializes in breakup recovery and dating difficulties and can help couples in various stages of their relationships. She helps her clients learn and practice communication skills that allow both parties to be and feel heard. Marissa also helps her clients dig deeper into their personal backgrounds and experiences to help them better understand themselves and how they show up in their relationships.

Best for: Break-up Recovery and Young Couples

Terry Real

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Terry Real is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and the creator of Relational Life Therapy. Relational Life Therapy is Terry’s revolutionary approach to couples therapy. Over the past 30 years, Terry has developed his approach to teach practitioners and couples how to restore balance, heal trauma, and learn sustainable and essential relational tools. 

Terry has worked with thousands of couples throughout his career, and his diverse experience influenced the development of Relational Life Therapy. Relational Life Therapy empowers individuals and couples to rediscover connection and understand the negative patterns holding them back. Terry focuses on giving couples the tools they need to achieve secure and fulfilling relationships.

Best for: Counseling for Struggling Married Couples

Irina Firstein has over 25 years of experience as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in New York City and has helped countless couples overcome their relationship problems and discover the joys of authentic companionship. Irina has long directed her expertise toward couples counseling, and her approach can help couples in many stages of their relationship, whether they’re preparing for nuptials or have a few decades of marriage under their belt.

Irina uses an approach based on Emotionally Focused Therapy, and she brings her own personality, style, and experiences into her practice. Irina herself has been married for over 20 years and often supports her clients with information and habits she’s learned in her own relationship. 

Best for: Married Couples Dealing with Betrayal Trauma

Dr. Shannon Curry is a clinical and forensic psychologist with over 15 years of experience conducting research, therapy, and psychological evaluations regarding trauma, violence, and relationships. Her therapeutic background includes helping military personnel, veterans, and civilians overcome grief and trauma and improve their lives. Her research focuses on culturally responsive trauma therapy in international communities.

Dr. Curry is the perfect choice for current or past military personnel and couples grappling with trauma. She’s trained in the Gottman Method of Couples Therapy and has completed all three levels of the Gottman training modality. Dr. Curry has the education and experience to help couples experiencing a vast array of difficulties, and her practice is based in Orange County, California.

Best for: Trauma-Informed Couples Therapy

Melissa Divaris Thompson is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and the founder of Embracing Joy Psychotherapy, a therapy practice in New York City. She works with individuals and couples in their 20s to 40s and creates a safe place for them to seek their truths with clarity and empowerment. As a holistic and emotion-focused psychotherapist, Melissa brings an open and authentic approach to her clients.

Melissa’s approach incorporates techniques from Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, Emotionally Focused Therapy, attachment-based therapy, and somatic psychotherapy. Her background in several diverse modalities means she can tailor her approach to each client and meet them right where they are.

Best for: Multi-Modality Approach

Tim Norton

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Tim Norton is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and sex-positive therapist serving couples in Florida. Tim offers virtual sex therapy for individuals and couples, along with standard couple’s therapy and somatic symptom disorder therapy. Tim’s expertise lies in the areas of sexual problems, specifically male sexuality and erectile dysfunction, along with relational work, sexual dysfunction, sexual identity, and body image.

Tim’s approach is ideal for couples who have sexual concerns and individuals who are trying to learn more about their sexual identities. Sex can be a difficult topic for many people, even couples, to approach, and sex therapy can be daunting. Tim’s offerings of in-depth and synchronous online treatment often help reduce the barriers many couples encounter when searching for sex therapy. 

Best for: Couples Sex Therapy

Jenny Walters is a Marriage and Family Therapist known for the compassion and humor she brings to counseling. Her goal with each client is to get to the heart of their troubles and work collaboratively to create lasting and meaningful change. Her approach is grounded in psychodynamics, and she regularly incorporates mindfulness into her practice.

Jenny is trained in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing and Internal Family Systems. Using these two distinct modalities, Jenny works with her clients to heal relational issues and the symptoms that accompany them. She specializes in helping adult children of emotionally immature parents and has a passion for working with highly sensitive people. Jenny works as a clinician at Highland Park Therapy, located in Los Angeles, California.

Best for: Highly Sensitive Individuals in Relationships

When I imagine a communicative and well-supported partnership, I imagine a couple who is or has been in counseling. Relationships are no easy endeavor, and many of us don’t come equipped with the skills we need to create flourishing and secure relationships from the get-go. 

Even if you’re the most emotionally stable, securely attached, and relationship-centered person, I can assure you there will come a time in your relationship when you and your partner can reap massive benefits from counseling – and you should!