Conflict over money, infidelity, parenting, extended family arguments, differing life goals or life changes are some of the reasons why partners come to couples counselling. There are also those who have fallen out of love but may or may not know it yet.
The plate is full
Often couples can deal with one problem at a time or depending on the strength in their relationship perhaps more than one. But when loss of a loved one, job problems, financial problems, or other problems come in groups of two, three or more then it can be hard for any couple to sustain that without the relationship struggling.
Partners experience hurt and rejection
Not being heard or understood in a relationship acts as a trigger for feelings of hurt and rejection. And why wouldn’t they? After all you are in an intimate relationship with someone who is supposed to understand you. You may, perhaps, expect them to understand you better than other people.
They stop talking to each other
At the heart of the issue often lies communication problems. Partners stop talking to each other. They speak and hear each other but are unable to say how they feel or really listen to the other. This intensifies as each partner accumulates feeling of not being understood or misunderstood in the relationship. Feelings of anger and resentment abound and accumulate and perhaps results in withdrawal.
It is important to get talking again
My first objective, in couples counselling, is to get their communication going again. The time this takes will depend on the complexities of the surrounding issues. Early sessions can be focused completely on this. For many couples I have worked with, this is enough. Once they are talking to each other they find that they already have the relationship to sort out their differences. For some couples this can also constitute a large part of the ongoing work as we progress through other issues.
This method works for most couples but not for all of them. Each couple is different and requires a different style of working. Am I seeing someone in the early part of their relationship history, how deep are the differences, how many layers of resentment lie underneath the differences, these are all questions that will dictate the length and breadth of the work we undertake together.
Talking about difficult issues
I help couples have difficult conversations in the couple counselling sessions with me. This work is built on previous sessions that have been used to build communication techniques. There are some ground rules that also need to be set out and agreed for difficult conversations. These are used to set boundaries to keep a dialogue close to its purpose and intent.
How I can help
I offer couples counselling in my offices in London Waterloo and in Hampton and use the techniques outlined above to help improve their relationship.