"For me, being a therapist is
a calling. I am passionate about what I do."
Couples and family counselling is for any relationship.
Many couples don't consider counselling until they feel it's a last resort.
Some couples wait until they are at their wits end and feel like they have no-where left to turn. They would like to save their relationship but are not really sure how.
Maybe things have been like this for a while but both of you have been hoping things would just improve on their own.
If you are starting to think about couples counselling but are asking yourself “does Relationship Counselling really work?" the answer to is both yes and no.
Put simply: if you put in the work to make it work, then yes, it works. But it is really a great deal more than that.
Perhaps it may be a good idea to look at how couples' counselling works. Then you can decide for yourself if it's something that will work for you.
How it could help you?
The sessions start off with an initial consultation. This is a mutual assessment to explore whether counselling is going to be your best option, and if so which method will be most useful for you.
The main idea behind Couples Counselling is that you are in a safe space where you can talk through your issues in a more effective way.
You might have been trying to talk about something that is very emotional and all you end up doing is going round and round in circles and never coming to an agreement.
Maybe one of you gets too upset and angry, or shuts down and walks away whenever you try to work things out. This creates an atmosphere of conflict and confusion so eventually you may not feel safe to broach the subject and just feel "stuck", so start to drift apart.
The counselling room provides a calm, secure place where you can broaden, widen and deepen your conversations without getting caught up in the same destructive patterns that have been getting in the way of you reaching an understanding.
It can feel like a big step to get professional help for what may be the most private part of your life.
Just by booking your first appointment and agreeing to attend together is really significant. It shows the importance of the relationship to both of you and can often be a huge part of the healing process.
Lot of couples are anxious that I will take the other partners side, or may secretly hope I will take theirs. However, I cannot emphasize enough that I treat both of you equally, and the only side I am on is the side of your relationship. I am not interested in deciding who is right or wrong. I will not judge either of you.
I firmly believe that both people create and contribute to the relationship issues, even when they are genuinely unaware of it and do not mean to. I see part of my role as bringing this into your awareness and helping you both find a better way of being with each other.
In your sessions you will also be learning more effective ways to communicate and resolve conflict. I can teach you how to talk about emotions, and provide you with structures and techniques that will allow you to talk about the most painful things without getting derailed into arguments.
I can help you explore your arguments and identify the patterns that lead to friction.
These are skills for you to take away and put into practice in all your relationships in your day-to-day life.
I must emphasize that change does not happen overnight as these are usually issues that have normally built up over months or even years. Lasting change to your relationship is often a gradual process. However, I have worked with many couples who have experienced fundamental changes to their relationship in six to eight sessions.
Gottman Method Couples Therapy
Should you wish to explore your relationship using the Gottman method, this is an approach to couples therapy that includes a thorough assessment of the couple relationship and integrates research-based interventions based on the Sound Relationship House Theory.
Couples who enter into Gottman Method Couples Therapy begin with an assessment process that then informs the therapeutic framework and intervention.
We begin with an assessment. Then we have a conjoint session, followed by individual interviews with each partner. Couples complete questionnaires and then receive detailed feedback on their relationship.
The couple and I will then decide on the frequency and duration of the ongoing sessions.
The Gottman method therapeutic interventions are designed to help couples strengthen their relationships in three primary areas: friendship, conflict management, and creation of shared meaning. Couples learn to replace negative conflict patterns with positive interactions and to repair past hurts. Interventions designed to increase closeness and intimacy are used to improve friendship, deepen emotional connection, and create changes which enhances the couples shared goals. Relapse prevention is also addressed.
The goals of Gottman Method Couples Therapy are to disarm conflicting verbal communication, increase intimacy, respect, and affection, remove barriers that create a feeling of stagnancy in conflicting situations, and create a heightened sense of empathy and understanding within the context of the relationship.
For some, couples counselling can be about the ending of one relationship and the beginning of another.
In this situation, the couple is encouraged to work through any outstanding issues and unresolved feelings, allowing the move towards separation to be conducted in an adult and amicable manner. A quick and peaceful transition is important for every couple, but especially so if children are caught up in the separation of their parents.