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Irina Firstein, Individual, Marriage & Couples Counseling in NYC

Irina Firstein, LCSW
Top Three Best Marriage Counselors in New York, NY

My name is Irina Firstein, LCSW and I am a licensed New York City therapist providing couples therapy, marriage counseling and individual therapy to Clients throughout the 5 Boroughs of NYC from downtown to midtown to uptown (10075 area) and beyond. I’ve helped individuals and couples resolve relationship issues for over 27 years. I provide services to couples in New York who are married, who are going to get married, and anyone in a relationship who needs help. I also work with individuals on a range of personal issues including trauma, depression, anxiety, addiction as well as most other issues they may face.

Call (212) 953-1388 to book today or contact me online to set up an appointment.

What To Look For In A Therapist

Finding the best individual or couples therapist in NYC does not have to be a daunting process. A therapist should have the experience treating the type of psychological conditions you are facing, be compatible with your own personality and needs, be licensed in New York, and have a strong online presence with trust-building reviews. You should see a therapist that has the right combination of temperament, education, training and experience. Often someone with a Clinical Social Worker or LCSW background, like myself, may be the best fit, depending on the mental health issue, personal problem or challenge you want to address.

The goal of my work is to enhance and expand my client’s ability to experience a deeper connection with themselves, their partners and others. That connection is the key to physical and mental health and feeling alive.

I am open for business and taking new individual & couples therapy Clients. I have both an in-person therapy office location in Manhattan (370 Lexington Ave #514, New York, NY 10017) and the ability to see Clients virtually. Please call (212) 953-1388 to talk or get in touch online here.

We are especially convenient to Clients near Grand Central Station which makes it easily accessible to Midtown Manhattan, all Downtown, Times Square (10018), Lower Manhattan (10007), Upper East Side (10075), Upper West Side (10024), East Village (10009), Murray Hill, Flatiron (10011), Rockland County, Westchester and all areas of New York City including Brooklyn and Queens. I do my very best to accommodate all potential clients with timely appointments.

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How Therapist Irina Firstein, LCSW Will Help You

It is my belief that relationships are crucially important and without close and secure connections with others, we as human beings can not thrive in everyday life. Disruption of such connections is the reason we feel emotional pain and suffering. If you are feeling this way, I want to help you and your partner heal, grow and change your life and your relationship. Most issues that people bring to me are, inevitably, an exploration and healing of relationship trauma or disruption of connection with a significant person or people in his or her life.

    Schedule A Virtual or In-Person Appointment Today


    Let’s get to know each other. You probably found my website by searching Marriage Counseling NYC or some other issue related to therapy for which you have a need. Now that you found me, you can email me or call my New York City Office at (212) 953-1388. Take the first step and I will begin to help you.

    Whether you have been married for decades, you’re a newlywed couple or you are transitioning to become parents or retirees, a marriage counselor helps you build a better life together.

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    Benefits of Marriage Counseling

    • Work through major life transitions together
    • Resolve ongoing problems related to schedules, finances, & communication
    • Release and prevent resentment
    • Identifying what’s most important in your marriage
    • Keep your marriage on track by minimizing conflict
    • Open the flow of communication
    • Learn to share and frame your feelings
    • Become proactive in how you manage your relationship
    • Reconnect and rekindle the romance in your marriage

    Benefits of Couples Therapy

    • Forge tighter, closer relationships by creating trust and safety
    • Learn to talk about common points of conflict i.e. money, sex, intimacy, infidelity, children, family, etc. without escalating into fights
    • Build a closer, deeper connection through willingness to be vulnerable
    • Improve general communication by better listening with more empathy and care about the other
    • Learn to discuss problems without falling into a negative cycle
    • Learn to communicate from a more emotionally vulnerable place
    • Address unresolved resentments in a way that leads to greater connection and understanding

    Irina Firstein, LCSW
    Licensed Couples Therapist in NY, NY

    I am a licensed New York City couples therapist who provides services to individuals seeking couples therapy, marriage counseling and individual therapy for trauma, depression, anxiety, addiction as well as most other issues they may face.

    My Approach To Working With Couples

    While the basic approach I use in working with couples is based on Emotionally Focused Therapy, as most therapists, I bring my own personality and style into the experience as well as being in a marriage for over 20 years. I understand personally and professionally what couples are going through.

    I also make it my business to get training and am continuing to do so in areas that are essential to working with couples, such as sex therapy and sexuality as well as understating and treatment of trauma.

    I dedicate my life to the mysterious nature of relationships and what makes them work.

    "When we recognized that we weren’t able to resolve our issues without professional help, we decided to see a marriage counselor. We needed someone who would hear what we were saying, help us to hear one another and above all be trusted with the intimacies of our marriage. Thanks to her measured non-judgmental approach, sound counseling and abundant kindness , Irina Firstein expertly guided us to a more balanced approach to dealing with our problems while providing a safe environment for us to do so. Irina Firstein is a 10+, we feel confident in recommending her to those seeking couples therapy." - Barbara C.

    "Finding the right therapist is EVERYTHING, especially in delicate situations like a marriage. I was so glad that Irina was ours. I've had bad therapists in the past that very negatively influenced my life, and Irina is one of the best in NYC. My life is so much better now because of her. Highly, highly recommend." - Summer R.

    "I am an individual therapist who has referred many couples for couples therapy to Irina. I believe she is amongst the top therapists in NYC. She is very well trained, extremely experienced and she tailors her treatment approach to each client’s needs. My clients have told me that Irina makes them feel comfortable and safe from the get go. She is my “go to” couples therapist!" - Keira C.

    "Irina is a very skilled counselor. She is very perceptive and provided me insight into the relationship issues with which I was handling. She then gave me suggested responses which have been most helpful. I recommend her without reservation." - Shari W.

    "My husband and I saw Irina for a couple's session. Irina exceeded our expectations. She's very smart, knowledgeable, and effective. Irina was able to quickly understand a complicated situation and offer valuable insights." - Dariya G.

    "I was going through a very trying time in my relationship and needed someone to help navigate us through the rough patch. Irina went above and beyond to ensure both my partner and I felt heard and the conversations were productive. Since going to her, I have noticed a huge change in my relationship with my partner and our family environment is much more positive for everyone. I highly recommend Irina should you ever need counseling!" - Darby W.

    I saw Irina Firstein when I had a difficult time in my life a few years ago. She very quickly helped me resolve the crisis I was experiencing. Recently I had another very difficult situation. I reached out to her, she saw me within 48 hours and I, again, was helped by her. She is sensitive, very smart, really understands me and quickly tunes in. I highly recommend her for individual therapy. - Macey D.

    Irina is a fantastic therapist. She is a great listener, very insightful and tells it like it is, but very sensitive and empathetic. She has just the right mix of what one would want in a couples or individual therapist. I did both with her at different times. I recommend her highly. - Gabriella A.

    Irina Firstein is second to none. She is straight forward yet warm, and has the sharpest, most refined sense of perspective you know is coming from the best of places. She is the essence of compassion, honesty, and absolute trust. - Diana V.

    I have been seeing Irina for quite some time I can honestly say she has saved me! She is very straightforward and tells me what I need to hear (even if it's not what I wanted to hear haha). She is intelligent, honest, and truly insightful and I have no idea where I'd be without her. Thank you Irina!!! - Misha P.

    In-Person Individual and Couples Therapy NYC

    In the years following the pandemic and complete reliance on virtual therapy, I continue to be stunned and amazed at how many of my couples and individual clients want to, in fact, prefer to come in person to my Manhattan office. This is in spite of the convenience of working from home and the general tendency these days for most people wanting to spend more time at home. It is not something I would have predicted.

    The reality, however, is that while many people balk at having to go to their offices to work, they want in-person therapy. I believe deep down, when it comes to therapy, people want that personal face to face contact. This, to me, speaks to our want and need for personal connection. This is true for younger as well as older clients. I am happy to be there with my clients face to face as, frankly, I also missed it while working only on Zoom.

    My office is a safe space where the kids are not in the next room, the dog is not barking and the cat is not sitting next to the laptop, though there is something special about that too. There is room and space for both.

    In-person couples therapy is especially important for a couple in high conflict who needs safety and privacy or a traumatized client wanting to do an EMDR session.

    I am happy that I am able to provide this and experience it myself.

    What To Do If Your Relationship Is In Trouble

    If you are experiencing tension or trouble in your relationship or relationships, you may be feeling rejection, abandonment, lack of empathy, disappointment, hopelessness and helplessness, shame, and many other feelings. These are common human experiences that traumatize all of us and become symptoms that are manifested by depression, anxiety, addictions, health problems and all other symptoms and illnesses. If you feel that you need advice, work with a compassionate couples & marriage therapist–someone who will really listen to you and provide you with the marriage and couples counseling that the relationship you care about most needs. Work with me. I have helped thousands of individuals and couples both emotionally and spiritually.

    New York City-based Therapist, Irina Firstein has discussed several topics such as pre-marital counseling and her philosophy on individual and relationship therapy in the Daily News,, CNN, Forbes, and more.

    What Happens in Therapy Sessions?

    If it’s your first time, you may have a sense of trepidation about seeing a therapist. Rest assured there is nothing to fear. The stigma of seeing a professional therapist is a thing of the past. Why close the door to an opportunity of repairing and saving your relationship and live a fuller life?

    My clients consider me a straight-forward and active therapist, and this is what you can expect in our sessions. As a result, most of my referrals come from past and existing clients. I have spent my professional career learning and searching for the root causes of human suffering and the issues that divide couples and strain relationships. I utilize the most efficient, effective and innovative ways to help my clients. To this end I use “old school” proven therapeutic modalities as well as the latest research and cutting edge techniques, such as EMDR and EFT.

    Also, in my job as a couples counselor, I help couples close the gap between where they are right now and where they want to be. I also provide counseling and therapy sessions to Russian-speaking clients. If you are looking for a Russian Speaking Therapist near you, contact Irina Firstein, LCSW. Sessions are available in person, by phone or by via Skype/Zoom.

    As a Couples Therapist and an Individual Therapist, I will give you all the information, tools and assistance you need to get relief from pain and to find connection.

    To schedule an in-person counseling session or discuss setting up virtual sessions with Irina Firstein, call (212) 953-1388 or contact us online.


    Frequently Asked Questions

    • How long will couples therapy take?

      It is difficult to answer this question. I don’t think any experienced couples therapist can answer this question. This is an extremely individual situation. The length of the therapy depends on the severity, nature and how long  the couple is dealing with presenting issues. It also depends on a couple’s motivation and each person’s ability to be honest, open and open minded to new ideas, experiences and behaviors. It is also important in my work that my couples are willing to take emotional risks with each other, meaning say and do things that are vulnerable. It is also important that  there is a good fit between the couple and therapist, meaning aside from personal chemistry, each person in the couple feels understood and the couple feels the therapist “gets” them. It is important that the feedback and the interventions in the therapy sessions land well and make sense.
    • Do both partners need to attend every session?

      In the model I use, EFT (Emotionally Focused Therapy), the protocol is the first session is couple together, then second and third session each is seen individually for one session to get more personal information and to create an alliance. Then the 4th session is again together. This is not a rigid protocol in how I use it. Sometimes, depending on the situation, I will see both partners more than once together before I see them separately. Also I have occasionally seen each partner or one of the partners more than once with a consent from the other partner. Basically, the work is with the couple. The couple is my client. I will often refer one or both clients to an individual therapist if and when appropriate.
    • Is marriage counseling/couples therapy effective if only one partner wants to go?

      I really prefer to do marriage/couples therapy with both partners if at all possible. There are times when one of the partners refuses to participate. I do feel therapists need to be flexible and sometimes working with one partner and getting them to make some shifts will make a relationship better. Sometimes when this happens, the other partner is more open to joining. Though one cannot count on that. All that being said, relationship problems are best treated when both partners are present.
    • What if my partner doesn’t want to come to counseling, how can I get my partner to go to couples therapy?

      This is a tough issue. I think in my experience, there is not much that can be done. It is helpful if it can be understood what the resistance is about. Maybe it can be discussed and battled about between partners, but usually it does not help. Unfortunately, the resistant partner will agree to go to therapy when it’s too late. When they know they are about to lose their partner. This is always heartbreaking.
    • How does a couple prepare for couples counseling?

      Couples ask that often. I don’t think there is much in the way of preparation. Usually in my first session I have a plan and I ask many questions. It helps if partners have thought about and analyzed their story or have had prior therapy together or individually. It helps me if they have questions for me in terms of our process in the sessions. But basically, showing up, being honest, open and motivated is all that I hope for from the couple.
    • What issues can couples therapy address?

      Couples therapy can address all issues that are important and pertinent to the particular couple. It is very interesting that EVERY couple I meet, when I ask what brought them to me, say “COMMUNICATION PROBLEMS” unless there has been infidelity. Communication problems means nothing to me as it encompasses every issue. What they mean is that when they try to talk about something difficult, they get into a conflict. And sometimes, it’s not even something difficult. It can be totally mundane. Misunderstanding in a very plain sense, or someone gets triggered by a topic, work, gesture, look. Essentially couples come to therapy because they don’t know how to deal with conflict. The topic is not that important to me. It’s how they get into their negative cycle and where they get stuck. And then, of course, there is sex. Which can also be a communication problem but in a sexual area.
    • How much does couples therapy cost in NYC?

      The cost of couples therapy or marriage counseling can vary. Some of the factors that affect cost include the therapist’s experience, specialization, type of therapy, session duration, and therapy location.
    • Is marriage counseling only for those on the brink of divorce?

      I should hope couples therapy is not only for those on the brink of divorce. In fact, those can be the toughest couples to help because they are too far along in their disconnect and estrangement. The sooner people come for help, before the resentments are solidified and they still have good will and care, the better outcome.
    • How do I go about making an appointment with you?

      Please email me your request or call me on my office phone #. It is helpful if you visit my website and take a look at the page about the issue you need help with. It is also helpful to look at my Practice/Fees Page. Another helpful point is to let me know what days or times work for you so I can give you the best appointment time for both of us.
    • Do you offer Pre-Marital Counseling services in NYC?

      Yes I do. The Pre-Marriage Counseling I offer is not the same as provided by religious organizations. I offer two kinds of counseling. One is a more open ended counseling to address any issues the couple is struggling with and wants to resolve or have a better handle on prior to marriage. It is usually a relationship issue. Another type is a more structured short term counseling to address specific topics a couple should discuss in a safe atmosphere, such as children and parenting ideas, finances, families of origin, where to live, friends and leisure, work/careers after baby. Also pre-marital counseling can be very helpful for those previously married as there are often issues of ex-spouses and children that need to be discussed and thought about.
    • Should I get Marriage Counseling/Couples Therapy?

      Chances are if you are asking yourself this question, the answer is YES. If you and your partner are having same fights which get more and more escalated and eventually you move on without resolution because you can’t stand the conflict, only to get into the same argument at a later time, it is a good idea to consider professional help from a marriage counselor. My sincere advice is that if this has been going on for a while and keeps happening and you feel that you are getting more and more disconnected from each other, do not wait. So many couples say to me after a session or two who should have been here 3 years ago. Sometimes, couples come in when it may be too late or the damage is so deep that it takes a long time and very hard work to re-establish connection.
    • What are the everyday signs that my relationship needs Marriage Counseling?

      My personal perspective is that you do not run to see a marriage therapist at the first sign of trouble but that it is not a good idea to have same chronic issues for a long time. If same argument or conflict comes up over and over with discussions leading to further escalation and disconnect, it would be a good idea to seek professional help. Conflicts usually do not resolve themselves; marriage counseling will provide an opportunity to hear and understand your partner, to take in their way of seeing things in a new and different way and maybe develop tolerance or empathy about your differences that may not be possible if you try to do it alone. Counseling for married couples provides a safe atmosphere and becomes a safe place to be yourself, to be seen and heard by your spouse as well as to learn to have difficult conversations.
    • How do we know you are the right therapist for us?

      I think this is a hard decision. The best suggestion I have is to visit my website and read the pages. I wrote every word of this. Also take a look at the and CBS videos. They give you a true sense of me in person. Take a look at some of the articles as they truly express my views and positions on different issues pertaining to relationships. My “Connections Blog” is also a helpful resource.


    NYC Office Location

    Irina Firstein, LCSW – Individual, Marriage & Couples Counseling NYC

    Phone: (212) 953-1388

    Address: 370 Lexington Ave #514, New York, NY 10017


    Monday 9 AM–9 PM
    Tuesday 9 AM–9 PM
    Wednesday 9 AM–9 PM
    Thursday 9 AM–9 PM
    Friday 9 AM–8 PM
    Saturday 11 AM–3 PM
    Sunday 11 AM–3 PM

    Sessions available in person, by phone or on Skype.