I offer relationship counselling for couples, including same sex couples, providing a confidential service in a safe space where you can both share and explore the issues and problems you are experiencing in your relationship.
I am a BACP Accredited Counsellor/Psychotherapist and work with couples within the person-centred modality. I am working to understand what is going on for each individual as well as the relationship itself and reflecting this back in an empathic, non-judgemental, considerate manner.
In couples counselling the counsellor does not take sides and strives to ensure equality, fairness and balance in the work that is undertaken and attention that is given. They are there to provide the therapeutic space for issues and problems to be raised and worked through as well as offering their experiencing of what is being presented as a reflection.
One of the key issues that affect couples is communication. It has either never been there or has been lost. This is the starting point for the therapy – what is actually going on? How do each of you feel? What are your expectations? What would you like to happen? How are you hurt? And so on.
Never underestimate the power of true communication – which is not just about hearing what the other person is saying – it’s the other person feeling that they’ve been heard and understood.
From this comes understanding, insights, clarity, perspective and hopefully empathy and compassion for one another. If you are able to put your own stuff, your thoughts, feelings, wants and expectations aside, you will learn what is going on for your partner. And in turn, receive this level of attunement and connection yourself.
It is from this place, a place where full, open, non-blaming and honest communication is present, resolution can begin. We can continue to unravel the issues, get clear on its core and begin the process of healing.
Some couples have never learned to communicate so it can be a huge learning curve to begin to communicate with each other and experience being heard. I can support you with this.
Others have just lost their way. There may be old or new hurts (or both) preventing them from being open and vulnerable with each other. I can provide the space for this and facilitate the communication and feelings, until there is a breakthrough and a new level of understanding, connection and respect is reached.
Some reasons why people seek couples counselling:
- They’ve lost or don’t appear to have the ability to communicate with each other;
- There’s poor conflict resolution – they’re unable to conclude arguments, to reach an understanding and agreement, and then move forward;
- They’re struggling to understand what each other wants;
- They don’t feel heard or that their needs are being met;
- There is a feeling of aloneness or isolation within the relationship;
- Something has happened that has caused an issue in the relationship – this can be anything from infidelity and trust issues, the death of a loved one, caring for elder parents, illness, having children, parenting conflicts, children leaving home, redundancy, change in financial situation, stressful job or career, no longer wanting the same things;
- There is a lack of intimacy – physical, emotional, sexual;
- One or both of them are no longer satisfied or happy within the relationship;
- They are wanting facilitative support in navigating their way through separation or divorce.
“Do you want to be right or do you want to be happy?”
What’s more important – making your relationship the priority or winning the argument?
Before embarking on couples counselling it can be useful to consider the following:
- How open are you both to change?
- Do you still have some, even if minor, positive feelings for each other?
- Are you able to identify, or work to identify, and agree upon a shared goal for the counselling?
It is important to stress that you cannot change another unless they want to change. You can only change yourself. However, in changing yourself, your partner or spouse will respond differently to you and this may provide the desired change (or maybe an even better one) that you wanted.