Lauren Ross is a Texas-based Marriage and Family Therapist and Professional Counselor specializing in working with couples from a preventative relational wellness perspective. She most frequently work with premarital or recently married couples on building a positive future together; however, she also helps couples navigate difficult life transitions and stressors. Couples work with Lauren is short-term (approximately 8 sessions), convenient (as her practice completely virtual), and always customizable (to meet the individual needs of each couple!).
We asked Lauren more about her work with clients and her guiding philosophies on therapy.
Lauren’s background and personal life
How did you decide to become a therapist?
I've identified as a helper as long as I can remember. Supporting others has always brought me immense satisfaction, joy, and sense of purpose. I have also always had a curious nature, which led to an undergraduate degree in psychology. From there, becoming a therapist was a very natural progression.
What was your previous work before going into private practice?
Before starting my private practice, I worked for an agency focused on empowering complex high-conflict families. In addition to my postgraduate studies, in which I specialized in relational systems, this work clarified the intricacies of intimate relationships and how they can get off track.
Lauren’s specialties and therapy philosophies
What guiding principles inform your work?
I firmly believe Aristotle was right when he said "the whole is greater than the sum of its parts." Somehow, when we collaborate together with a diversity of world views and lived experiences, we are significantly better than we could ever be on our own. This principle drew me to couples work and helping partners maximize their relationships.
I also generally follow Hanlon's Razor, which (bluntly) states "never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity." My interpretation would emphasize the importance of psycho-education, preventative care, and externalizing the problem from the person.
What clientele do you work with most frequently?
I specialize exclusively in preventative relational wellness, more commonly referred to as premarital counseling. The vast majority of my clients are highly motivated young professionals who are engaged to be married. I love working with this population because they are excited to learn, have a growth mindset, and value both their partner and their partnership. Not only is it an incredibly rewarding specialty, it is also really fun!
Can you tell us more about your specialty in premarital and couples counseling?
An ounce of prevention is truly worth a pound of cure. By better understanding common relationship pitfalls, partners can learn to prevent them. Relationships, like every other thing of importance, take effort and maintenance. Premarital counseling teaches couples to work smarter instead of harder while exploring topics that don't typically arise organically when dating.
Traditionally, couples would only seek counseling when their relationship was in serious trouble, if at all. This is completely incongruent with how people tend to the things they value in all other areas of their lives. Preventative care empowers couples to build awareness, healthy habits, and sustainable growth for a lifetime of love and support.
Can you tell us more about your work with couples navigating major life changes?
Whether a couple is recently engaged, moving in together, or newlyweds, taking their relationship to the next level often comes with growing pains. Counseling can help partners start this next chapter on the right foot.
Therapy sessions with Lauren
What will our first session together be like? What happens in ongoing sessions?
Since so many of the couples I work with don't necessarily have an identified "problem," they find it helpful that I provide a baseline structure from which to work. Typically, I meet with couples eight times and roughly follow this outline, although each couple's journey is unique and we focus accordingly.
- Session One - Thorough Assessment (exploring individual and shared histories, identifying strengths and focus areas, setting goals for premarital counseling)
- Session Two - Family of Origin (structure, traditions, culture, beliefs, and values)
- Session Three - Individual Wellness (stress management, needs, differences)
- Sessions Four and Five - Communication (patterns and cycles, tools, and conflict resolution strategies)
- Session Six and Seven - Expressing Affection (love languages, intimacy, trust, and boundaries)
- Session Eight - Goals (roles, expectations, finances, and family planning)
Are there any books you often recommend to clients?
I always strive to meet my clients where they are and avoid guilt-tripping them into too much homework. However, for clients who are ready for more resources, I have a list of books I strongly encourage. This includes but is not limited to:
- The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work by John M. Gottman and Nan Silver
- We Do by Stan Tatkin
- The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman
- Sexual Intelligence by Marty Klein.
Do you assign “homework” between sessions?
I encourage couples to be realistic about how much energy they can devote to their relationship's growth given their current circumstances. Some couples are eager for resources and homework, so I supplement our session time with readings and exercises. Other couples come to me in a season of feeling significant pressures on their time, so I work with them to find ways to practically apply the contents of our sessions between meetings. Either way, couples are learning to take ownership of their growth and build competencies and confidence throughout our work together.
How do you help ensure I'm making progress in therapy?
Each time we meet, I ask couples both what is working and where they notice continued room for improvement. By maintaining a solution-focused orientation we are able to capitalize upon the tools they already have while developing a growth mindset rooted in curious exploration.
How do I know that it’s time to start seeking therapy?
Preventative relational wellness is for everyone! It is never too soon to build a healthy foundation.
How can I prepare for our first session?
I encourage all therapy clients to come to session with honesty, curiosity, and examples.
How will I know it’s time to end my time in therapy with you or reduce session frequency?
Increases in intimacy and confidence are two key indicators that my role in couple's journeys has come to an end. I see my clients as the experts of their own lives and strive to make myself irrelevant as efficiently as possible.
Why should I seek therapy, rather than turning to my partner, friends, or other loved ones?
Premarital counseling with a licensed professional, such as myself, is very different from work with a spiritual or community leader. First, my role is to help couples be their own best selves, not to provide advice or judgment. Second, our work is evidence-based and rooted in relational science. Finally, working with a counselor or therapist is confidential which creates an extra level of emotional safety that is essential for vulnerability and growth.
What advice would you share with therapy seekers?
Scheduling a free consultation is a great way to not only ask your potential therapist questions, but to also see if you match well with their personality. If someone is sales-y or you don't like their style, keep looking! You deserve to receive quality care in a way you are comfortable with.
Visit Lauren’s profile to watch her introductory video, read more about her, and contact her for an initial consultation.