Dr. Bryce Kaye’s Approach to Counseling

Bryce Kaye, Ph.D. photoSee Below For Reviews From Past Clients

In an old Greek myth, a host named Procrustes had a peculiar fetish for making his guests fit their bed at night. Instead of trying to “fit” a person’s needs into one school of therapy, I do my best to make sure my therapeutic approach fits a person’s needs. While my techniques are varied, my style does lean in one direction. I have a reputation among therapists for being extremely active and direct in the form of an “active advocacy”. Many clients have found themselves dissatisfied with prior therapists who have merely been passive and emotionally supportive. My style is more ambitious. The first thing I do is to help the person clarify goals and get an agreement about what we are trying to accomplish. From then on, I direct focus and energy toward whatever will be most helpful toward reaching those goals. Very often, a person’s history is relevant in understanding how certain emotions or beliefs became conditioned to their current state. However, I find that insight and understanding alone are usually insufficient to produce most emotional changes. To bring about changes in emotion or emotionally determined behavior, a well-designed plan of intervention is necessary. When I make recommendations for a course of intervention, I always explain the principles of psychology and emotion behind it.

In the course of therapy, I do a fair amount of personalized teaching. One way that I do rely on insight is to teach a person how to influence their emotions. Our emotions follow a somewhat different set of rules than ordinary behavior. Usually, we can immediately choose how we want to behave. With emotions, we can’t. Our feelings are learned in a different way than what we think of as ordinary learning. We learn to feel certain ways through either powerful or repetitive emotional experience. The technical term is called “conditioning.” My style of therapy has been influenced by my years of study of psychophysiology and how emotions are “conditioned.” My theoretical orientation incorporates Russian research on perception and conditioned reflexes as well as western research on the brain circuitry of attention, perception, emotions and learning. I have found that while our emotional conditioning can’t be immediately changed, it can be gradually altered if we learn to use the correct tools. Very effective therapists will use tools like these and people can make dramatic changes in their feelings. So the paradox is this: feelings can be changed but you just need to learn some new rules about how to influence them without trying to control them.

These are some of the different therapies I do:

Adjustment Counseling & Stress Management

 This type of therapy is the most simple and entails what people refer to as “counseling.” It usually involves a lot of teaching and prescribed exercises at home.  A significant part of counseling is to teach clients about human nature so that they have realistic expectations of themselves. Clients are often taught how to more effectively relax, how to fashion realistic goals from their own needs and desires, how to journal to promote emotional growth, how to compartmentalize grief, how to confront and replace automatic irrational beliefs, how to use autosuggestion for shifting emotions, how to manage situational cues to influence their emotional states, and many other self-management strategies. My style of counseling has a reputation for being very direct and friendly.

Marriage Counseling-Relationship Therapy

Many therapists employ a communication model for couples work that assumes that most couples’ problems derive from dysfunctional communication. The assumption seems to be that teaching better communication should resolve their difficulties. Unfortunately, most well-controlled studies show that only about one-third of the couples going through marital therapy are reporting significant post-treatment benefits after one year. After two years, the benefits shrink another 50 %. Those are not impressive statistics and they do not give much support for a simplistic communication therapy model. I find that a couple’s communication usually breaks down because of more complex emotional dynamics. Those dynamics can involve historical shame issues, personality deficits, knowledge deficits, and boundary interactions. These issues can be quite complex but are still understandable. Much of my couples work involves clarifying the emotional dynamics and then working with the couple to design a strategic intervention. The necessary intervention will depend upon the needs of the couple. My philosophy of treatment is to try the simplest feasible intervention first. When we’re lucky, we can be successful on the most superficial level through mere education. I’ve had some couples who merely needed 2 to 4 sessions to correct their problems. This might involve educating the couple regarding the care and feeding of emotional needs within a relationship. Assigning intimacy exercises would be a part of this type of intervention. Teaching skills for managing mood states and conflict strategies would still operate on the educational level. However, more time is usually needed, especially for learning conflict management strategies.. Three to 4 months is the norm for these types of cases.
What people don’t like to admit is that communication and affection frequently break down due to issues of personal incapacity. By personal incapacity I mean the inability of either individual to engage in certain mood states within their relationship. These emotional states include the following:

  • The ability to become curious about and to draw pleasure in exploring the mind of their partner. This constitutes the highest form of loving because the mind of each partner constitutes their truest self. When both partners love and relish each others minds, then both of them will feel “close.”
  • The ability to express their desire within the relationship for various forms of fun and pleasure. Unless this is happening, then one or more of the partners will feel “trapped” in the role of constant responsibility. They may even begin to state that “they don’t know who they are” anymore.
  • The ability to energetically confront their partner to prevent their partner’s desires from completely ruling their life and eclipsing their own desires. Unless this confrontation takes place, the feeling of being dominated will usually result in losing sexual desire for their partner and even possibly displacing it outside of the relationship in the form of an affair.
  • The ability to sooth themselves with a sense of higher emotional priority when their partners feel angry or hurt. Unless a partner has this capacity for momentarily switching to a higher emotional priority, they cannot approach risking c) or possibly b) if it might lead to conflict. They won’t be able to risk intimate exposure.

The model that I use for relationships is that both parties must have the emotional resources for dynamic balancing between the states of nurturance/connection and autonomy/self-reliance. Decades of work have shown me that the best model for predicting the quality of relationship is the dynamic balancing between these two emotional states.  You can read alot more more about this relationship balancing in the book chapters provided in the Marriage Problems First Aid Kit.

When either individual lacks the emotional capacity to engage in any of the 4 emotional states above, then marital or relationship counseling needs to shift to a deeper level. This usually involves individual or group therapy to establish the missing capacity. Group therapy is useful in training in a “theory of mind” so that the individual can become more empathetic and curious about what their partner is experiencing. If a person’s background involves emotional trauma, then their anxiety may need to be reduced via EMDR therapy. Anxiety reduction may be necessary before they can relax enough to become sufficiently curious about their partner. When shame issues block a partner from expressing (or knowing) their desire, then individual hedonic inhibition therapy will be necessary for the individual to avoid feeling eclipsed in the relationship. If a person is blocked from using healthy anger in the form of assertiveness, then EMDR may be used to reduce their sense of helplessness.  (Read more about EMDR here.)   If a person is too fearful of feeling guilty about their partner’s anger or disappointment in any potential conflict, then conflict inoculation training may be necessary. And if a person fears their own rage in potential confrontations, then conflict inoculation training again is the likely requirement.  In other words, personal incapacity can take many forms. The necessary intervention can take many forms as well.

PTSD Therapy

Over the past 18 years I have independently researched psychophysiology to develop a more powerful therapy to heal trauma.  EMDR has been the usual course of treatment with good results for many years.  More recently we have observed astounding results from a new procedure we call “HRG.”   It is quite common for HRG to resolve a traumatic memory or a life-long inhibition in a single session.

Schema-Focused Therapy

Schemas are those nasty little rules that reside in your unconscious.  They can keep tripping you up, over and over.  Rules such as:  If my needs conflict with another person’s then I must always defer to him; or  If I ask for what I want then I will be selfish so I must never ask.  Schemas aren’t logical in your adult life but they were probably adaptive in your childhood.  Some of the same procedures we use in HRG for trauma are very effective for changing schemas.  It’s not uncommon to get free from an old schema with just one session of HRG.  The HRG procedure is very complex but is based on more neuroscience than most therapies.  If you would like detailed information about how HRG works, call the center (919 467 1180 and ask for me (Dr. Kaye) to return your call.  I would be happy to explain why and how it works.


Reviews From Past Clients


My fiance and I had booked a marriage retreat (love odyssey) with Dr./Captain Bryce Kaye and his wife Helen to work through some major relationship issues that we thought only a retreat could fix. Having never done so, we were somewhat apprehensive about what the experience would be like. We were intrigued by the prospect of doing the counseling on a boat versus the standard “in-the-office counseling” so many other retreats were offering. All the while, we both felt that sharing our most intimate issues with a counselor we had never met would be a daunting task, especially in such a confined environment. Nothing could have been further from the truth. Bryce was amazing in analyzing and identifying our problems in no time while being extremely tactful and likable. The presence of his wife made the atmosphere very relaxed and an air of humor was added to all counseling sessions. This made it very easy for us to share our most intimate and at times embarrassing secrets. The overall experience itself was well beyond what we could have imagined. As we were working through our problems, the beautiful North Carolina backdrop made for a romantic getaway that in addition to all the valuable advice given by Bryce and Helen made for a memorable experience we will cherish for years to come. I can confidently say that our relationship has never been better. Bryce and Helen have truly brought our relationship to a level few people will experience. In addition to Bryce’s book, the Marriage First Aid Kit, the retreat is something every couple would greatly benefit from, whether they are in crisis or not.1



Hghly recommend Dr. Kaye and Love Odyssey Tours. Practical, proactive, and professional, we left with the tools we needed to help reinvigorate our marriage of 19 years and helped us better understand each other. After returning and beginning our follow-up work, my wife and I both agree that we could not have made a better investment in ourselves and our family. A heartfelt thank you, Dr. and Mrs. Kaye.



Dr. Kaye is an extremely effective and powerful therapist. He is truly a therapist, because what he does is actually therapeutic — he is intent and intense on his goal of treating and healing, which can be a stark and shocking contrast to other therapists. When you go into a session with Dr. Kaye, prepare to be genuinely challenged, to be engaged actively, and to be challenged to grow and heal.


I have had many therapists over the years, and they were all fine, but I needed a therapist that was more than fine. I needed someone smarter than me, someone that could see through my bs, and that could offer practical solutions for moving forward. I had grown weary of other therapists simply wanting to rehash the past, but never quite helping me to get on with life in a healthy way. Before Bryce, I always seemed to be left with the feeling of, “well I know how I got here, but what do I do about it?”. In a relatively short amount of time of working with Bryce, I was able to effectively manage issues that had plagued me my entire life. His methods have proven to be invaluable for becoming a healthy, autonomous adult.
I recommend Bryce to anyone willing to put in the work it requires to strengthen your inner core. He is not for lazy people that just want a magic pill to fix it all.


I am a former couple’s counselor, myself, and I feel incredibly blessed and grateful to have found Bryce Kaye. Without him, I doubt my relationship with my boyfriend would have lasted. But now, because of his intervention, we are getting along better than ever, we trust each other again, and the bedrock of our friendship has been restored.

Bryce’s method of helping couples goes far beyond what almost all other therapists and counselors offer: in addition to helping couples improve their communication, he teaches us how to get along with one another and establish a balanced relationship based on just the right blend of satisfying our personal needs, the needs of our partner, and the needs of the relationship itself. He knows just when to share (unbelievably valuable) information (i.e., educate us) and when to pull back and let us talk to each other during the sessions.

He introduces concepts that I’ve never heard of before, concepts that truly made all the difference to my boyfriend and me. He’s knowledgeable, has decades of experience, and his understanding of psychophysiology informs the advice he gives–and it works!

He is a kind and fair person; easy to talk to; non-judgmental, always considerate of both parties.

If you have read negative comments about Bryce, I recommend that you ignore them, because I assure you that he is the best chance that you have to saving your relationship – here in the Triangle area, and probably in the entire southern region. I consider myself very lucky that we live so close to his office – I’d drive hours to get help like this; help that I have been unable to find elsewhere.

We had to pay full price for Bryce, because our insurance doesn’t cover couple’s counseling. But he is worth every penny (and more). After all, my relationship with my significant other is among the most important investments in my life.

If you do go see Bryce, I recommend that you approach the experience as if you were taking a course in school; because Bryce takes an active approach: he teaches, he educates. I had my own ideas of how to “fix” my broken relationship, but I set them aside, listened to what he had to say, and I tried the things that he suggested. So did my boyfriend. And they worked. His book “The Marriage First Aid Kit” was a very helpful adjunct to our therapy, and reading it shortened the amount of visits we needed.

It so happened that we were able to cut through a boatload of confusion, fear, anger and pain in only 4 sessions. You might require more or fewer; the important thing is, Bryce is not after your money. He lets you lead the way with whatever your agendas are, and when you think you are finished, he doesn’t recommend that you keep seeing him, although he certainly leaves the door open to go see him again, if needed.

There are few health care providers that have impressed me as much as Bryce Kaye. If you go see him, you are making a wise choice; I can’t imagine any couple with any problem that he can’t help you solve. He cares, he wants to help, and he does.


contacted Dr. Kaye to help my fiance and me navigate some tough roads with respect to family transition, step-children, and relationship development. We read his book and attended approximately 6-8 sessions. Dr. Kaye gave my fiance and I the tools to significantly improve our relationship along with our relationships with our children.

I later met with Dr. Kaye in a 1:1 setting for another 10-12 sessions. I have to say that Dr. Kaye has helped more than words can express. I happen to have a degree in Psychology, and therefore I had a pretty good idea of what to expect as it pertains to talk therapy. I was wrong. We did not dwell on specific issues, but rather we worked intensely on developing the tools, identifying important qualities, and internal mental structures to allow me to constructively deal with any situation. Dr. Kaye did not help me fix a specific problem, or help me come to terms with something specific from my past, but rather he helped me build a framework to reconcile any issues I identified (or may identify in the future) from the past. Moreover, the tools, or strategies, have helped me develop a much more confident, open, caring, understanding, empathetic, compassionate, and overall happier ‘me.’ I can not speak highly enough of Dr. Kaye and his methodology.


I have struggled with addiction for many years. During my difficult journey I attempted to quit multiple times. I saw a handful of therapists and unfortunately for me I was able to deceive them and act as if I was getting better. Then I met Dr. Kaye. He saw right through my deception and provided me very direct feedback and held me accountable for my own recovery. So if you’re serious about getting well there is no one better to help you than Dr. Bryce Kaye. I owe my life to him.


My wife and I had some relationship questions due to a number of recent stress inducing changes (job induced separation, etc).

We love each other very much, and value our marriage, and thought it would make sense to find an expert, though I confess I put going to a “marriage” counselor, somewhere between dental surgery and the opera. But Dr Bryce Kaye was excellent — we came out of there armed with a number of helpful items, and I have no doubt he’s a subject matter expert.



I initially thought Dr. Kaye was a divine intervention, and I still do!

Your mechanic, hairdresser/barber, doctor and psychotherapist are all people that when you find a good one, you hold onto them.

My wife and I were separated and moving apart, and it all seemed so senseless,
sort of like being in another country and not knowing the language, but the miscommunication was with the most important person in my life. We had tried another counseling service in the area prior to our separation that I believe had good intentions, offering us help and purporting “Solutions,” but only proved to smear around the hurt and anguish with buzz phrases and happy thoughts. It was like putting a clean bandage on a festering wound, and we both knew it, hence the subsequent separation, but we still had no tools to create healing or even understand what was causing the wound.
I needed support to deal with our impending divorce and purely by accident, or so I thought, found Dr. Kaye for individual counseling. I immediately found him to be very different and refreshing from previous counselors; very knowledgeable, personable and extremely astute. Dr. Kaye eventually accepted us for couples counseling sessions and “yada, yada yada” we are now not just happy, but more happily married than we had ever understood. It’s too much to express, but it is not an intuitive process building a relationship, the language has to be taught, and there are few that have the skill and the tools to allow you to understand and help yourself. Dr. Kaye is one of those few, and, though I may not want him creating my hairstyle, working on my car or performing surgery on me, he’s a good one and has made all the difference in my life,… in our lives!

P.S. We are expecting our first born in January.


I first met Bryce by attending a lecture he gave. His model of attending to the unconscious directly, where many problems lurk and originate, immediately struck me as superior to mere “talk” therapy that tries to get at deep-seated issues from a superficial layer. Indeed, in working with Bryce, I found it so (as did many of the friends I sent to him).

Sometimes Bryce will just talk with you, which can be beneficial, but he’s far more than just a talk-therapist should the need for a different approach arise — so much so, that I think of him less as a therapist and more as a wizard of the mind.


Bryce Kaye and Cary Counseling Center is the best in the Triangle area. Dr. Kaye provides the right mix of compassion, direction and accountability for being the best you possible. Forget just talking about your life, Bryce is the one to see if you want to change it.


For more than 30 years I was treated by psychiatrists, psychologists, and social workers for “severe depression.” Though progress was made, I endured two psychiatric hospitalizations and received a variety of medications including some that were very harmful to me. Throughout all that my symptoms persisted and family life and work remained difficult.

My last MSW suspected EMDR therapy would help me and she referred me to Dr. Kaye. Dr. Kaye was the first therapist to accurately diagnose my condition. Depression was an evident symptom that was masking my real illness, dissociated identity disorder.

Over several years of EMDR and talk therapy with Dr. Kaye my symptoms are dramatically reduced and I am happier than I have been since I was a child. I can heartily recommend Dr. Kaye without any reservations.


Cary Counseling Center is an excellent choice for any couple in need of marriage counseling. Dr. Kaye helped us to strengthen our marriage as well as improve other aspects of our lives, both as a couple and individuals. As a result, we are much happier now and feel a sense of impowerment over our marriage and lives. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Cary Counseling Center to friends, family or strangers alike. Thank you Dr. Kaye!


Cary Counseling Center has helped us stay married for 24 years. When things got rough and relationships were tough Dr. Kaye has helped us reconnect and work to make things better and moving forward! I have and still recommend counseling with Dr. Kaye when friends are struggling to stay married. Counseling is smarter than tearing apart families and lives through divorce!

My Next Book

If you would like a more intimate view of my philosophical views about human nature you can read the initial chapters of my next book When Love and Anger Got Married:  Human Paradox and Spiritual Growth.  These chapters are still evolving and are displayed on my Love Odyssey marriage retreats website.  You can access them HERE.