What is couples counselling?
Couples commonly hide their relationship problems and are afraid to admit that anything is wrong. Couples counselling (which can also be referred to as marriage guidance) is a form of therapy that looks to recognise conflict, improve communication and resolve issues within an intimate relationship.
Why do couples seek counselling?
Most couples have ups and downs in their relationship. However when the bad times outweigh the good times it can feel unbearable, which leads to stress, frustration, sadness and resentment. Many people in an unhappy relationship spend a lot of time telling their partners what is wrong with them or their behaviour and how they’d like them to change. So when your relationship is not thriving, this affects your emotional, physical health and well being.
Couples frequently come to therapy to improve their patterns of interaction. Often they are unskilled in their ability to deal successfully with their differences. Their exchanges are painful and the couples are unable to recover from fights or periods of withdrawal. They want support and nurturing that is not present or is insufficient. In my experience as a relationship therapist, I firmly believe it is essential to take time with the couple to identify the type of relationship they would like to create.
What to expect in a couples counselling session?
The main purpose of couples counselling is to put you and your significant other in a room with a neutral mediator to help you make sense of what’s going on. If you’re having trouble communicating with each other, then the counsellor is going to help guide you.
The couple counsellor’s responsibility is to the relationship and both of you will get equal time, attention and understanding. No relationship is ever entirely smooth sailing. Whatever trouble your relationship is in, and no matter how severely your relationship is being affected, almost all couples can benefit from couples counselling at some time in their relationship.
It is important to note that couples counselling is not all rainbows and roses. It is not necessarily the counsellor’s job to save the relationship. Sometimes, the counselling is more about figuring out how to make a amicable split.
My approach to couples counselling sessions
I see you both at the first session so I can hear your story together. After that you will both attend a one-on-one session with me, before we return to couples sessions. Occasionally it might be beneficial to have an individual session during the therapy, but if I see one of you for an individual check-in, I like to balance that out by seeing the other individually also. It is very important that neither of you feels that I am more aligned with one partner than the other.
Benefits of couples counselling
Couples counselling can be beneficial for those who are looking to strengthen their emotional connection, in all stages of their relationship.
Minimise criticism and blaming behaviours
Identify and nurture relationship strengths
Increase emotional and sexual intimacy
Benefits of individual partner sessions
Meeting individually with the partners at certain opportune times can provide leverage for the counsellor.
Some of the advantages are:
Improving rapport on an individual level, so I can understand more completely both the depth and origin of this partner’s emotions and viewpoint.
To gain a complete picture of what is happening from each partner’s perspective.
To hear a summary without activating the other partner’s defensiveness.
Uncover vulnerability in a more protected environment.
Pursue more complete information about secrets or hidden issues like substance abuse.
My promise to couples
I promise to be there for you both every step of your journey. My goal is to help you both grow from your struggles, heal from your pain, and move forward to where you want to be in your relationship.