Ellen Gray Psychotherapy & Counseling, PLLC

Serving the North Carolina Triangle Area

Couples Counseling

     There is considerable consensus regarding the elements of a strong and healthy relationship between adult partners.  We now know a great deal about how couples get off the track or don’t get on it in the first place.   Some of the challenges are faulty assumptions about partnership, insufficient relational skills and uncertain personal boundaries.  With the exception of situations where there are gateway problems of individual mental illness, substance abuse, or domestic violence, most relationships can be repaired using a combination of education, skills building, and development of a compassionate attitude toward one another.  This is not to say that the process is easy—it is not.  But it is within nearly everyone’s reach to learn and apply these skills, and the principles and the process are surprisingly similar for all couples, despite the details of their particular struggle. For the couples who have gone beyond the point where they wish to repair and conserve their relationship, counseling can help to bring about a conscious, constructive, informed separation that will assist the individuals and their children to make the transition to separate, but mutually respectful lives.

     I have been counseling couples for many years, and it is one of the most rewarding parts of my work.  I invite people who are unsure whether counseling will help them to come to discuss how we might work together. 


     Here are a few books that have been influential to me and that form the basis of my work with couples:

  • You Just Don’t Understand – Deborah Tannen 
  • How to Improve Your Marriage Without Talking About It – Patricia Love & Steven Stosny 
  • Try To See It My Way – B. Janet Hibbs 
  • Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work – John Gottman and  Julie Schwartz Gottman 
  • Too Good to Leave, Too Bad to Stay – Mira Kirschenbaum 
  • Getting the Love you Want: A Guide for Couples – Harville Hendrix 
  • The New Rules of Marriage – Terrence Real
  • The Five Love Languages - Gary Chapman


  • "Personable: works well with colleagues and clients, High Integrity: trustworthy, consistent and reliable, and Creative: Inventive, out-of-the-box ideas and implementation. Botto..."
    D. Melissa Averett, Attorney at Law
    NC Board Certified Family Law Specialist
  • "Working with Ellen has been a joy. She has such empathy and a wonderfully non-judgemental understanding of human nature and people. I highly recommend her services to anyone."
    Patricia Crisp
    Naturopath at Discovering Wellness LLC