Couple Counselling

“I WORK WITH COUPLES IN CRISIS, EXPLORING THEIR FAMILY OF ORIGIN, INHERITED TRAUMA” As a couple therapist working in the Redlands, I would have to say, that I am quite relaxed and gentle, yet, challenging and holistic. I bring a very open mind and ultimately my goal is to bring awareness to each person individually and to the couple dynamic.


So many couples attend counselling when they are in a crisis. Unfortunately, couples seek counselling when their relationship is so toxic that they feel that maybe a counselling session or two might just fix their relationship/marriage. Often a couple leave it until one of them feel so helpless in their relationship that they are threatening to leave. By this stage the crisis has escalated and the entire family including the children are feelings uncertain, afraid and anxious.  Often one person in the relationship is usually forced to attend by an ultimatum by the other.  This is a sign that the relationship is in real trouble.

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. That old saying; “Ignorance is Bliss” is so true. 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 fuelled by resentment and anger, yet, in my professional experience, I understand that anger is usually a symptom of something so much deeper, individually and as a couple.

So many of us carry the burdens and pain from our family of origin. When we were children, we had parents/guardians who modelled a certain way of being. For many of us we learned, that what was modelled to us, is the right way of doing things and we somehow re-create what our parents once lived when we were children. Example: when a man is raised in a family environment where his father is mentally and physically abusive, he may think that this is normal behaviour and project what he learned from his father into his marriage, causing a tremendous amount of marital dysfunction and suffering. Not all men that have witnessed violence, 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 talk through concerns and learn to understand each other more deeply. To make things more complicated, each of them have a history of traumas (we all have trauma), that are playing out in their relationship and they have no clue that this is happening, due to their lack of awareness of the impact of trauma. They tend to blame the other person for their feelings.

My role is to help the couple understand what they bring to their relationship/marriage from their previous relationships and inherited 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 responsibility, so we can end the inherited suffering passed down from one generation to the next.

What brings a couple to therapy?

  • Arguments (including fighting over parenting styles)
  • Mismatched Libido
  • Sexual dysfunctions
  • Infidelity
  • Blended families
  • Poor communication
  • Lack of general intimacy
  • Unresolved problems and conflict
  • Personal traumas
  • Domestic violence
  • Insecurity/Lack of Trust/Jealousy
  • Parenting
  • Financial problems
  • Grief and loss
  • Separation/Divorce
  • 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)
healing ourselves, heals others

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.

Bernadette’s Definition of Counselling

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 .

Healing yourself, heals others
There is always hope when healing a couple