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The ACCESS Program is led by a queer mental health therapist in the Psychology and Neurosciences department at the University of North Carolina. ACCESS stands for Affirming Couples Counseling to Engage Same-Sex partners.

Our team specializes in working with couples. ACCESS is a small treatment research study of a no-cost couple therapy program. To be eligible for this pilot study, you and your partner must meet the following criteria:

  • Living together more than 6 months
  • Age 21 or older
  • Identify as cisgender (sex assigned at birth aligns with gender identity)
  • Identify as female
  • Have a certain level of distress in your relationship, including stress related to living in a heteronormative society (this will be assessed on the phone screen)

Questions? Interested in a screening phone call to determine if you’re eligible? Contact Kim Pentel (she/her) at with subject line “ACCESS.” All inquiries are confidential.

Also check out the other tabs on this website: Meet our Therapists, and FAQ




Study Title: ACCESS: Affirming Couples Counseling to Engage Same-Sex partners. UNC-CH IRB #: 17-2482, Non-biomedical. Date Approved: October 17, 2017.