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Meet Susan Lager of The Couples Center in Portsmouth

Today we’d like to introduce you to Susan Lager.

Susan, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I grew up in New Rochelle, a suburb of NYC. I then lived in Manhattan for ten years during college and graduate school, and escaped the madness for the wilds of Maine to be with the sweet man I’m still married to after 32 years.

I knew I’d survive the relocation from New York when I discovered the beautiful, historic little city of Portsmouth on the coast of New Hampshire, with its winding streets, great restaurants, and music everywhere. I have happily maintained a lovely, waterfront office there for many years in my psychotherapy practice, The Couples Center PLLC, doing psychotherapy with individuals and couples.

In early 2010, I opened a division of the practice called Couplespeak™, providing live and online coaching, mentoring, training programs, workshops, retreats and written materials for people in different kinds of partnerships. Through this coaching division I authored The Couplespeak™ Series: short, cheeky workbooks about how to communicate more effectively, and how to become more “relationship smart” without spending your life in psychotherapy.

I’m still passionate about this work, which is NEVER boring! My clients are courageous pioneers, and they’ve taught me lots I’ll pass on.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
One of the biggest obstacles I’ve faced in developing my psychotherapy practice has been the “managed care” frame of insurance companies who have sought to control the therapeutic process, based on costs to them, not necessarily on what’s best for clients and the therapists who provide care. I did not want psychologically unskilled, uninvested outside parties determining the nature of my work, so several years ago I made the bold decision to limit my “in network” participation with insurance carriers, knowing this might limit my referral base.

I’ve never regretted this decision, as I’ve been able to maintain clinical control of the therapy process, have developed referral sources based on my solid reputation as an individual and couples therapist, and have retained prerogative about how to make the services financially manageable for clients.

The other major challenge for me was the formation of Couplespeak™, the coaching division of my practice. In order to fulfill the requirements for trademarking the name, I was required to write the first two books in The Couplespeak™ Series about relationship issues and communication. It also required me to develop an extensive online presence: original published articles, a blog, and a BlogTalk Radio show, (not to mention an elaborate, functional website). This was no small feat for someone who had previously avoided online activities like the plague! But, I followed my own advice, and plowed forward, reminding myself that it wasn’t rocket science, just some new skills I was developing. As a result, I’ve not only survived, but thrived, personally and professionally.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about The Couples Center – what should we know?
The Couples Center PLLC is my private psychotherapy practice in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. I provide individual and couples therapy, as well as consultation to other healthcare professionals. I also provide coaching, online programs and materials, a BlogTalk Radio show, and informational books through a division of the practice called Couplespeak. ™

I specialize in couples work, providing comprehensive services to partners at all stages of the coupling process. I’m known for my interactive, “tell it like it is” style, which makes the work not only more collaborative and effective, but also inspiring, transformational, and often enjoyable for clients. I am proudest of the safe, productive connections I am able to make with couples and individuals in distress, providing them with important tools to work through their problems.

One sub-specialty which sets me apart from others is my work as a trained Discernment Counselor. This highly effective form of brief treatment is designed for couples on the brink of divorce, where one or both spouses are wrestling with ambivalence about staying together. At the time of this writing, to my knowledge, I am the only clinician in New Hampshire formally trained to do this highly sensitive work.

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
My “can do” attitude, my warmth, wisdom, and my sense of humor.


  • $250. for an initial 90 minute evaluation
  • $175. for subsequent 50 minute couples therapy sessions
  • $150. for subsequent 50 minute individual therapy sessions
  • $325. for an initial 2 hour Discernment Counseling session
  • $250. for subsequent 90 minute Discernment Counseling sessions
  • Anthem Blue Cross/Blue Shield covered session fees based on each subscriber’s policy
  • Online coaching programs individually priced

Contact Info:

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