“One of the most precious things you should always preserve in a friendship and in love is your own difference”
John O’ Donohue
What is couples counselling?
Couples counselling is a therapy tailored to couples that acknowledges the particular problems faced by them. I support couples by providing a safe space in which they can unburden themselves and work towards their own solutions with support.
Who is it for?
Couples therapy is for engaged couples, young couples, long-married, same-gender, and heterosexual couples.
Why do couples get into difficulties
There are many reasons why :
- Individuals bring their history and learning from past family and couple relationships into their current relationship.
- They bring their differences which is both the potential juice of connection and a driver of the conflict.
- Not good at handling conflict because they fear it.
- A lack of communication skills to navigate it, especially to heal ruptures.
Couples in difficulty avoid real communication and have trouble feeling empathy for their partner, because, unsafe, they are in survival mode. They can’t openly listen to or hear the other when they’re looking after themselves in this survival mode.
Why go to therapy?
Couples therapy helps the two individuals improve the communication and behaviours that cause stress and distance in the relationship.
Some couples will come to meet me face to face or online to work through separation or divorce in a mutually respectful and healthy way.
What is the best counselling approach for couples?
I use a gentle structured approach that places a safe and warm relationship at its core. It places a practical focus on relationship issues in order to renew the connection between the individuals in the couple. It also promotes each individual’s reconnection with self. Sadly, in couple conflicts, each individual has lost sight of themselves in some key way.
Couples’ problems include trust breaches, lack of affection or understanding, emotional issues, communication issues, loneliness, infidelity, fighting or bickering, financial and parenting issues.
Will counselling help my relationship?
Counselling will help your relationship by heightening your awareness of what’s really going on within its dynamic. From there you both will have the power to choose to change that dynamic. In my experience, making that conscious choice is what helps.
Is therapy effective?
Yes! For most couples research shows. Relationship distress leading to complaints that drive the couple apart goes way down as a result of couples therapy.
Does Couples therapy always work ?
Not always. When relationships are abusive then couples therapy fails. In that case, individuals need separate therapy to address their own process and role in abusive, unsafe, relationships.
Then, with safety established, they can successfully avail themselves of couples therapy. Here, they will learn a new way to listen, ensure they are heard, respond to each other as equals and take responsibility for their actions.
What to Expect in Therapy
I combine behavioural approaches to relationship enhancement: We will focus on
- learning how to listen and communicate,
- setting appropriate boundaries,
- argue constructively and fight fairly,
- enhance pleasure and intimacy,
- how to turn conflicts into solutions, with using a psychodynamic investigation which helps both partners understand how their past experiences may contribute to the types of attractions and conflicts which arise in their adult relationships.
In addition to the therapy sessions, couples are given exercises to practice at home to deepen their understanding and practice of the ideas discussed.