I consider it a great privilege to sit with couples while supportively assisting them to getting clear about their difficulties and guiding them toward a more loving relationship through better self-awareness, awareness of their partner and skills in developing thoughtful, sensitive and honest communication.
Harnessing new strategies for moving forward is empowering and rewarding.
When you fall in love you have a dream and a vision of how wonderful your life together will be. However, relationships are complicated and when negative patterns start to creep in and you become blaming and struggle to remain present and available to your partner, then the relationship begins to feel unsafe.
Relationships form the foundation of your life and influence how you function in so many other areas of your life. These include your relationships with your children, your work performance, how you relate to family and friends, as well as how the underlying unhappiness and stress in the relationship impact on your physical and emotional health.
Guided by my intuition and sensitive questioning, I can support you in finding the potential of your relationship and assist you in determining whether the hurt and pain can be healed. Mostly, if people are willing to do the work, then they will succeed. However, sometimes this may not necessarily be the best outcome.
Counselling opens up a great opportunity for you to gain knowledge of the deeper cause and meaning of your feelings of disconnection with your partner and why you find yourself arguing all the time. Discussing problems in a safe space can open up the opportunity for greater clarity, more understanding and a stronger connection. With greater trust there will be a possibility for you to heal past misunderstandings and hurts. Understanding your brain and how stress impacts on your ability to reason and think will assist you in moving towards taking back your own power while self-soothing, so you don't flip your lid and have regrets about what you say and how you behave. Unfortunately, once events happen, it can take time to reverse the impact. Also broadening the lens and looking at earlier life experiences and the patterns that you have inherited from your family of origin, will move you towards understanding and compassion for yourself and your partner.
People sometimes shut their feelings down and do not say things that are important as a way of 'keeping the peace'. Unfortunately this rarely works and issues get 'buried alive' and fester and tensions build. We might like to believe that we are managing things okay, but subtly it changes the way we feel and the way we respond to our partner.
Positive changes, even small ones, feel empowering and will ultimately improve the atmosphere and love in your home. Your children will also learn by example more positive ways of relating and behaving. What a gift this is. Without change old negative patterns get passed on down the generations.
Less Than 5% Of Divorcing Couples Seek Counselling
Generally people find coming to counselling to seek help for their relationship problems very challenging. In fact, according to renowned marriage and relationship expert, Dr John Gottman, less than 5% of divorcing couples seek help. Most of us like to think that we can solve our problems for ourselves and pride and feelings of inadequacy stop us from asking for support.
Counselling Benefits for Future Relationships
Sometimes it is inevitable that a couple will end their relationship. The main issue here is that you don't want to repeat the patterns that may have contributed to the failure of your relationship and the pain you have experienced, or the pain that may have been inflicted on others. Being able to be self-reflective gives you power in being able to look at yourself honestly. Unfortunately, you often need the support of a non-involved party to assist you in achieving this, as you may not be self-awareness, or understand why you felt and behaved the way you did. Owning your part in what went wrong, will help you to recognise where you can do things differently next time to ensure a different outcome. This can be a tough journey, but one that is ultimately richly rewarding.
Seek Help Early
The majority of couples wait many years before getting help and this contributes to problems festering and building over time. Getting help early can prevent heartache. After much research Dr John Gottman discover that it is the little disappointments and irritations that creates resentment and cause the most damage.
It's Never Too Late
It is better to seek help early, but it is rarely ever too late to start working on your relationship. Even couples who have been together for 30 years can benefit and revitalise their connection to their partner, and love for each other, by learning to develop new skills, attitudes and understanding about why things are the way they are.
Good Relationships Are Good For Your Health
Studies show that people who have supportive and loving relationships are more likely to be healthier, happier and more satisfied with their lives. Consequently there will be a decrease in stress levels and the likelihood of depression. Harmonious relationships also have a positive effect on our immune system which reduces our risk of illnesses like cancer and heart disease.
Breaking-up Can Be Detrimental to Your Health
When you consider that it can often take two to three years, or more, for a couple whose relationship has ended, to begin to get their life back on track and recover from the emotional pain and trauma of the break-up, we can recognise that putting effort into making positive changes is well worth it. Sometimes breaking-up is the most desirable option, however, counselling will assist you in being able to gain understanding of what went wrong so that you will not repeat the same patterns in a new relationship.
How I Work With Couples
I draw on and integrate a number of concepts in the way I work with couples. To mention a few, Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy techniques are very effective, as well as strategies from both Dr David Schnarch's work and John Gottman's work. I support couples in improving their relating style so that they will be heard. Basically, it is about saying what we need to say in a non-accusing way and expressing how you are feeling. During this process you to work towards stepping away from the negative repetitive patterns that have taken over your relationship, as you gain understanding of yourself and your partner. This will improve your ability to be receptive to listening as you manage your hostility and put it aside. The work will be aiming at regain trust in the relationship, so that you can re-create a safe haven where you can experience real caring and intimacy.
I can help you to get past your many issues rather than giving up because it all feels ‘too hard’. Even affairs, although they create a difficulty situation, can be slowly worked through and forgiveness can take place. If the issues presented are not processed and clarified, then these old patterns and dificulties will resurface, even in a new relationship.
Skills You Will Learn
Counselling can help you to bring about change that you would not normally know how to accomplish on your own. It provides a safe and supportive environment where you can not only openly identify and discuss all the issues, feelings and behaviours that are troublesome, but you will learn skills to effectively deal with them.
Learning to communicate in a more effective way.
Learning to state your needs clearly and openly within your relationship.
Learning to appropriately express and disclose painful emotions.
Gaining an improved understanding of yourself and your partner.
Learning to negotiate for change within the relationship.
The ability to identify more clearly whether there is a possibility to resolve
problems so you can rebuild their relationship, if a couple is considering divorce.
IT’S NOT MY FAULT….
PLEASE FIX MY PARTNER
If you come to counselling with the attitude that the problem lies with your partner, it is unlikely that counselling will work. Experience tells us that when a relationship is experiencing difficulties there are usually contributing factors from both parties.
Each individual needs to be able to take responsibility for their part in the difficulties they face. It can be very challenging looking at ourselves, however, it helps us to grow as people if we can own our contribution to the difficulties and challenges in the relationship. Both people need to be open to asking the question ‘how did I contribute to the problem? Before participating in counselling you must be willing to modify some of your ways of functioning in the relationship. Don’t expect counselling to be about changing your partner.
No one has the right to change somebody else. Instead, it needs to be about looking at your own behaviour and attitude and how you have contributed to the struggles in your relationship. With this in mind, great progress can be achieved.