Talk to Each Other

It's not working reason reason.
Find the reason, get it working.

92% of couples who see me report greater awareness and significant improvements within 6 to 12 sessions.


Welcome to Sean Delaney Relationship Therapy

Couple Therapy Doesn’t Work

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, couple therapy is tough. In most cases, we’re trying to disentangle and correct dynamics that have been entrenched over many years.

Two Voices

No-one wants to be in a failing relationship. And all of us have this voice which tells us to forgive and forget, to show love and understanding. The problem is we have a louder voice telling you not to. Telling you not to put up with this, to keep your guard up, or even that attack is the best form of defence.

This voice has been passed down through generations and been forged in childhood and early romantic relationships. It tells you what how a relationship should look and what you should expect from a partner. Equally, this voice doesn’t care if you’re unhappy, it doesn’t care if you are locked in conflict. All it cares about is whether you listen to it.

Couple therapy is not about denying this voice, but trying to work out when to listen to it and when to ignore it, when it is healthy and constructive and when it is less so.


Sean Delaney Couple Therapy


How I Work

Sean Delaney Relationship Therapy Pine Court Bournemouth


Reasons Why
You are reading this because your relationship is in trouble. Perhaps arguments go from 0 to 100, or you keep arguing over nothing, perhaps communication has broken down or the trust is gone, or you are just stuck in the same old patterns, unable to break free. You’ve probably also tried to fix it yourself. Done the date nights, tried to make time for each other, to start afresh, being emotionally available etcetera etcetera. But for whatever reason it hasn’t worked.

My view is clear: therapy is about the three of us finding that reason. What is it that blocks you two from connecting? What is it that derailed previous attempts at reconciliation? Does this reason lie in the patterns formed in childhood or previous romantic relationships? Or is it linked to fear, frustration or anger connected to current or historic behaviour? For some it may be an inherent incompatibility, a desire for something that simply cannot be. Or maybe it’s none of these things, or all of them. Either way I work from the premise that you can’t change what you don’t control, and you can’t control what you don’t understand.


Long and the Short of It
For many therapists, six months is classified as short-term and a normal programme of therapy is considered to be 12-18 months. Although that may be a good business model, my view and my experience suggests the opposite: if the issues cannot be identified and resolved within 10-12 sessions, it is unlikely to happen. What normally happens is the same old dance which previously involved just the two of you continues, now with the therapist as the third party.

The counter-point, however, is that meaningful change requires time. Many people who arrive in therapy are in crisis. They fear their marriage is over and they are prepared to do anything to save it. While this may have brought you to couple therapy, it is essentially fear-based behaviour. The challenge is as the fear subsides, as the immediate threat slips into the distance, the older patterns return.

My approach is to split therapy into two periods: awareness and implementation.The first stage is normally 6-8 weekly sessions in which we gain awareness, explore blocks to reconciliation, and identify strategies for change. The second stage normally involves weekly or monthly sessions to see if the changes identified can be successfully implemented over the longer term. For the vast majority of couples two or three follow-up sessions is sufficient to ensure both parties stay on-course.

Attachment Styles
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:

  • Secure – confident in their view of themselves
  • Anxious – underlying concern they are good enough for their partner
  • Avoidant – underlying fear of emotional intimacy

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.


Drama Triangle
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.


Life Pressures
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.


Sean Delaney Relationship Therapy



Please contact me if you have any questions or would like to arrange an initial consultation.
I will always aim to respond within two working days.

Suite 17, Pine Court,
36 Gervis Road, Bournemouth

Sean Delaney Psychotherapy Bournemouth


Eaton Gate Practice
2 Eaton Gate, London

2 Eaton Gate, London

© Sean Delaney Therapy 2023
BACP Registration Number: 378390

ICO Registration Number: ZA539059