About Couples Counseling Associates

Couples Counseling Associates is one of the few professional counseling practices in Chicago that exclusively specializes in couples, marriages, and relationships. Founded by Dr. Sara Schwarzbaum in 2008, Couples Counseling Associates works with individuals who want to improve their relationship regardless of age, marital status, or sexual orientation.

Please note: Each therapist is independently licensed and practices independently of Couples Counseling Associates.

Specialized relationship counseling matters.

Eighty percent of therapists in private practice work with couples, but only 12 percent of therapists have training specific to working with distressed couples. We fall in that 12 percent.

We root our work in specialized relationship training and the latest research findings about what makes a successful relationship. Each therapist at Couples Counseling Associates shares the same philosophy about how to serve individuals and couples in relationship distress and each specializes in couples and relationships.

Jump to: About Sara | Jump to: Our Associates

Learn more about how to find the best-qualified couples counselor.

Our Approach

Our direct, problem-solving style is tailored to the needs of each couple. Because every relationship is unique, we do not use a one-size-fits-all approach to couples counseling. After the first couple sessions, most couples have a good idea about whether or not our work can help their relationship.

Our Strengths

  • Experience with couples in distress
  • Specialized training in working with couples
  • Problem-solving orientation
  • Compassionate and direct approach
  • Focus on helping people move forward and get back on track

About Dr. Sara Schwarzbaum



I believe that couples have few road maps to help them navigate their lives successfully in today’s complex relationship world.

I want to give couples the tools they need to improve their relationship. My approach is direct, focused on problem solving, active, and collaborative. I have experience helping couples learn new ways to communicate, reduce the number of fights, and facilitate re-connection. I also coach people to decrease negative interactions and increase sexual intimacy.

I was born and raised in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where I studied clinical psychology and marriage and family therapy prior to emigrating to the U.S. in 1982. I continued my training as a marriage and family therapist here with leaders in the field and have continued this work for the past 25 years.

After I finished my doctoral degree at Northern Illinois University in 1995, I became a Professor at Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago. I was the Coordinate of the Master’s Program in Couple and Family Counseling, where I trained the next generation of couple and family counselors. I retired from that position in August, 2016.

I have authored numerous articles and two books. My writing has appeared in the Psychotherapy Networker, Counseling Today, and the Journal of Multicultural Counseling, among other publications. (And I regularly contribute articles about love, relationships, marriage and more here on our blog).

I speak at couples counseling workshops for social service agencies and professional organizations and run supervision groups for therapists who work with couples. Media outlets frequently seek my input about couples distress and improvement strategies for couples.

I founded Couples Counseling Associates in 2008 in response to the growing need for specialized relationship counseling services in the Chicago area.

Click on the associate's name below to read more about them.

Our Associates

Some associates can see you at additional locations.
Dr. Sara Schwarzbaum →
Dr. Sara Schwarzbaum →
Ed.D, LMFT, LCPC | Founder
I founded Couples Counseling Associates in 2008 in response to the growing need for specialized relationship counseling services.
Briar Gartner, LCSW →
Briar Gartner, LCSW →
Associated Therapist
I use an interactive, integrative, strengths-based approach promoting self-worth and self-love.
Linda Lazzara, MSW, LSW →
Linda Lazzara, MSW, LSW →
Associated Therapist
I received my Master’s degree from Loyola University specializing in Child and Family Therapy.
Michael Villarreal, LCPC →
Michael Villarreal, LCPC →
Associated Therapist
My work is client centered and grounded in cognitive behavioral therapy, narrative and family systems therapy.
Katerina Fager →
Katerina Fager →
Associated Therapist
I am a Licensed Professional Counselor, Associate Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, and Divorce Mediator.

Please note: each therapist is independently licensed and practices independently of Couples Counseling Associates.

Why Couples Counseling Associates?

Don’t wait: If you’re worried about your relationship, reach out today.

All inquiries and sessions are strictly confidential.

Couples Counseling Associates