As a couple therapist, I understand how painful it is when a couple are faced with the possibility of separation as a result of long term couple issues. My approach to couple counselling is warm and gentle, yet, challenging and holistic. I bring a very open mind and ultimately my goal is to bring self-awareness to each person individually, and then to the couple dynamic.
So many couples attend counselling when their relationship is in a crisis. Often, but not always, one of the couple build so much resentment and struggle in isolation and this is when a couple most likely show up in a counselling session. By this stage the crisis has escalated and the entire family, including the children are feelings uncertain, afraid and anxious.
Couple Counselling offers hope to the relationship. I provides a safe place for the couple to explore their relationship, as it is, and to bring new awareness, so that each person in the relationship gains an understanding of the part they play. Taking full responsibility for your part is very empowering.
Sadly, in some circumstances, one partner is oblivious to the marital issues, while the other is desperate for them to notice that their relationship is in crisis.
In many relationships one person just doesn’t want to admit that their relationship is in trouble and will keep avoiding the issues. “Avoidance is the biggest strategy to misery”
Many couples attend counselling fueled by resentment, anger, pain, sadness, uncertainty, fear, worry, anxiety and feelings of depression. All of these symptoms are warning signs and inform us that the relationship is in trouble and needs some kind of intervention, to bring about calm or where necessary, to consider separation.
So many of us carry the burdens and pain from our family of origin. When we were children, our parents/guardians modelled a certain way of being. Family of origin teach us how to communicate with others, express our emotions, and how we get our needs met. Family of Origin issues also include domestic violence, emotional abuse and neglect.
Example: when a man is raised in a family environment where his father was mentally and physically abusive, he learnt that this is normal behaviour and abuses his partner causing a tremendous amount of pain and suffering, not only to the partner, but also to his children. Not all men that have witnessed or experienced violence, will use violence against women.
I have found a very common theme in couple counselling and that is; the couple struggles to truly understand each other. They use resistance, defensiveness and poor communication styles to deflect what they are feeling and experiencing. They neglect to create a safe space for each other to work through their concerns and to learn to understand each other more deeply, from a space of love, compassion and kindness. We all want a safe place to fall in difficult times!
My role is to help the couple understand what they bring to their relationship or marriage that may have carried over from previous relationships or inherited family trauma, as we begin to make sense of their thoughts, feelings and actions.
Relationship can be challenging, yet when we begin to understanding our “SELF” (more deeply) then the relationship has a chance of surviving. We have to stop blaming each other, and begin to take responsibility for what we bring into our relationship.
If the relationship includes children, then we MUST take full responsibility for our part, so we can significantly reduce the family suffering.
All families and relationships crave a sense of calmness and connectedness.
What brings a couple to therapy?
- Arguments (including fighting over parenting styles)
- Mismatched Libido
- Sexual dysfunctions
- Blended families
- Poor communication
- Lack of general intimacy
- Unresolved problems and conflict
- Personal traumas
- Domestic violence
- Insecurity/Lack of Trust/Jealousy
- Financial problems
- Grief and loss
- Illness of one partner
- When one person decided to work on themselves and out grows their partner
- Family conflict (in-laws and other family members)
I do believe that when we heal ourselves, we heal our relationship and we heal our children. When we heal our self and our relationship, we heal inherited trauma by breaking the cycle. If you would like to know more about inherited trauma, I highly recommend you read “It Didn’t Start With You” by Mark Wolynn. I recommend that every adult on Earth read this book.
Counselling is so much more than talking, its an opportunity to tune into a language that we don’t often give a voice to and that is our inner world. So many people avoid what they feel inside and try and fix it with solution focused techniques. I want to hear your inner world speak to me as we gently explore all aspects of self, unfolding the layers of life and eventually tapping into the authentic being, the true aspect of self .