Save your marriage and get you back to the couple you once were.
Many people are hostile to couple’s therapy, think it’s a waste of time and it never works. And although as a relationship therapist I wouldn’t agree with this, equally it is important to be aware that for many couples this is their experience. And with good reason. No matter what theoretical model or style is followed, and no matter who you work with, couples therapy far more than individual therapy is up to you. Ultimately if you want it enough, it will work.
If you think at one time you were a loving, happy, couple; you had time for each other and were interested in what each other thought; you were excited, generous and intimate. Over time this changed, and for whatever reason conflict replaced compromise, intolerance replaced understanding.
However just as you took this path away from intimacy, you can return. And in many ways attending couples therapy is a statement of your commitment to each other. Through our sessions together we can step away from the conflict and move towards trying to rekindle the emotional and physical tenderness that is essential in any health relationship.
Often by the time couples have reached therapy communication may have broken totally broken down, both parties may have stop speaking to each other except to blame or make demands. The challenge is to reach a place where both parties can speak and feel listened to. Part of this process may involve exploring the following issues:
For many couples moving beyond an affair can prove to feel to be an impossible task. There are times you feel able forget and forgive, only for the pain, anger and raw emotion return and you feel you just can’t carry on.
Although both parties may wish for things to go back to how they were before, it is worth reflecting this probably overlooks the faults in the relationship. One of the most difficult aspects of this process is accepting that to an extent both parties created the environment in which the other felt unhappy.
Through therapy we can rebuild the trust and create a relationship different from before, but perhaps more honest and open.
In a sense, all couples who present at therapy have essentially only three options: try to change; accept the status quo or separate. For couples locked in conflict, and even for those who wish to remain amicable, separation can come with many challenges. There will be numerous difficult decisions and negotiations which come at a time when you may be over-whelmed with feelings of anger, confusion, grief and despair.
As a therapist I offer a safe and confidential space where we can go through the main issues, focus on areas of contention, allowing time explore any blocks to this process and ensure we reach a conclusion which is fair and acceptable to all parties.
I offer an initial consultation at a reduced fee, the purpose of which is to give you an idea of me and of how we will work together. And if you don’t feel we connect or are unsure, you are free to try someone else.
Tailored to You
Like individual therapy how I work with couples varies with each couple. You may be in constant conflict, or trying to recover from an affair. Some parties just want an action plan to get them back on course, others have frustrations simmering under the surface, or it might just feel the intimacy and care you had for each other has faded and you fear you are drifting apart.
In couple counselling however, no sides are taken and both participants can expect (and indeed are expected) to be respected and listened to in a non-judgemental environment. I always ensure that both partners get a chance to share their responses, in order to promote understanding and also model of way of talking that can be replicated outside the counselling room.
Multiple Sessions Per Week
For some couples, depending on budget and availability, multiple sessions per week might be more helpful. When you are locked in conflict mode, breaking out of an entrenched pattern of blame and demand is crucial and there are times when once weekly meetings may simply insufficient to get beyond the stalemate.
Moving between Individual & Couples Therapy
As someone who works with both couples and individuals, it can helpful to move parties between individual and couples counselling. There maybe issues that arise in relationship therapy that you feel you would rather discuss in private, or that are blocking your progress as a couple. Sometimes this may come from you but equally there are times I may suggest a period of individual therapy which can either run along-side or alternating with couples therapy.
Statement of Commitment
You may find it useful to have a typed document outlining what both parties can expect from each other. This can be helpful in situations where there are considerable family and work pressures. Such agreements could include: the notion of a date night or agreement to have weekly check-in sessions, to who picks up the kids on what day or an agreed monthly budget.
We all bring our personal histories into our relationships. Attachment styles is an attempt to explain scientifically why some relationships work when others fail. It believes our relationship with our parents is repeated in adulthood resulting in three distinct styles:
However the point of therapy is not to shift you to a secure attachment; it is about giving you an insight into how both you and your partner think or behave and use those insights to create a more harmonious relationship.
The drama triangle describes a pattern of behaviour that some couples fall into and has three roles: victim, persecutor and rescuer. As opposed to talking like adults, you might find yourself constantly criticising your partner, or often feel as if you’re partner is letting you down. You may be petrified of disagreeing with your partner for fear of their reaction.
One aspect of this model is the shift in roles (for example from rescuer to persecutor) and the often violent arguments that follow seemingly from nothing. As with attachment styles, the aim of therapy is to increase your awareness of what is happening, and step in before it escalates.
But equally it is important to understand conflict within a relationship can stem from more than mal-adaptive attachment styles or conflicting personality types. Often therapist tend to down-play the practical issues, but maintaining a healthy relationship, running a harmonious household particularly when children are involved, takes a lot of hard work, negotiation and difficult decisions. It is easy for communication to break-down into petty arguments and hostile behaviour under the pressure of being in each other’s space. Therapy can provide an opportunity to work out the finer details in a neutral environment and gives each party a chance to heal the relationalship and discuss unmet needs.
Please contact me if you have any questions or would like to arrange an initial consultation.
I will always aim to respond within the same day
ICO Registration Number: ZA539059