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Marriage & Couples Counseling in Reston & Herndon VA

Couples Counseling/Marriage Therapy - Lawrence P. Riso, PhD

I have treated couples for over two decades as a licensed clinical psychologist. Working with couples has long been an ambition of mine. It is also one of the reasons I pursued a career in clinical psychology. Intimate relationships are profoundly important determinants of a sense of well-being. I find this fact to be highly motivating when working with couples.

I began conducting both research and receiving training in couples therapy at the Marital Therapy Clinic/State University of New York at Stony Brook in 1988. Since then, I steadily acquired training in the major models of couples therapy including behavioral marital therapy (BMT), Gottman Couples Therapy, Emotion Focused Couples Therapy, Integrative Behavioral Couple Therapy (IBCT), and Schema Therapy for Couples (ST-C).

Common to these models is an effort to incorporate solid psychological theory and research into improving intimate relationships.

What Types of Couples Problems Do I Treat?

Most of the couples I see are experiencing significant difficulties. I see high conflict couples, couples who have emotionally withdrawn from each other, and couples struggling with the fallout of infidelity.

Couples in which one or both partners suffer from a psychological problem are common in my practice (such as depression, anxiety, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, bipolar disorder, or personality problems).

Many couples have a history of low-level violence and this is not uncommon for couples in my practice. If there is significant ongoing violence, I will likely refer the couple elsewhere.

My Approach

Distressed couples primarily complain of problems communicating. While improving communication is extremely important, a central task of couples therapy is to identify and stop destructive cycles in the relationships.

Most relationships are a system. Partners mutually trigger each other into a destructive downward spiral. The system is self-perpetuating and can be extremely frustrating.

Couples therapy will focus on reducing the reactivity in each of you and slow down your particular destructive cycle. Part of slowing down the cycle is to learn to express more vulnerability than anger and care for the vulnerable side of your partner.

Treatment Success

Focusing on the vulnerability that exists "backstage" in each partner leads to greater trust, closeness, connection, and intimacy. With good will restored , each partners is more willing to work on their communication skills.

As communication improves, more practical problems in the relationship can be discussed and solved.


Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Center of Northern Virginia
1800 Michael Faraday Drive, Suite 206
Reston, VA 20190

(one block east of the Wiehle-Reston Metro Station)

Dr. Riso: (703) 203-7197 | email: DrLawrenceRiso@gmail.com

Dr. Lilenfeld: (703) 203-7117 | email: DrLisaLilenfeld@gmail.com

Fax: (703) 689-3361

Appointments are Mondays through Fridays, early morning through evening. Late evening appointments are available with a last appointment at 9pm.


- Initial Evaluation Session = $225. The initial session/intake is 60 min. It consists of a comprehensive diagnostic assessment, interpretation of self-report measures, and treatment planning.

- Treatment Sessions = $200. Regular sessions are 45 min. They consist of all sessions following the initial session or intake.

- Insurance: We do not work directly with insurance. We will provide you with invoices that you can submit for out-of-network benefits through your insurer.

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Our Service Areas for Marriage & Couples Counseling & Therapy include:

Fairfax County
Reston, VA
Herndon, VA
Great Falls, VA
Vienna, VA
Chantilly, VA
Loudoun County
Sterling, VA
Dulles, VA
Ashburn, VA
Leesburg, VA

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Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Center of Northern Virginia
1800 Michael Faraday Drive, Suite 206, Reston, VA 20190
(703) 203-7197 DrLawrenceRiso@gmail.com