What does love mean to you?
How do you define when a relationship is going well or seemingly headed towards the rocks?
A recent study shows that around 42% of marriages end in divorce citing issues such as money problems, infidelity, interference from ex-partners and parents, differences in sexual libido, children from previous relationships, differences in communication and conflict resolution, and keeping trust and privacy within the relationship.
If you’re reading this perhaps you are feeling strain within your relationship – maybe you’re even at the point of make-or-break. Perhaps you are deeply committed to your partner and want to take things to the next level and strengthen your connection but are not sure how.
I’ve worked with lots of couples within my practice helping them to open up and start honestly communicating with one another. To achieve this I like to use a combined approach which incorporates aspects of counselling, psychotherapy and elements of practical coaching:
Learning – teaching you how to communicate effectively and listen to one another without desire to attack or defend (developing active listening skills).
Strategies– 1) Looking closely at what our needs are and seeing where they are currently being met 2) Understanding what our partner’s needs are and seeing where we meet them.
Emotional – Moving towards a state of empathy, vulnerability, intimacy and passion. Learning to let go and move towards compassion and forgiveness.
Practical – Defining our own boundaries and building autonomy within the relationship (security).
Self-reflection – Identifying patterns (and replacing negative transactions with positive solution-based communication).
Attachment styles – Understanding how our own blueprint of relationships is impacting on our current situation.
Power – Understanding power in a relationship and working towards equalising/ restoring or creating balance.
My role will be to help facilitate positive dialogue and ensure that both partners feel actively engaged in the process. In some cases – for example if one partner has been unfaithful – they might be fearful of entering into therapy worrying it will be a ‘blame and shame’ campaign with the counsellor holding court. Although it is important to self-reflect and address our own behaviour, there will certainly be no judgement on my part – I will remain impartial throughout and gently guide you both through the process.
It is important to consider that not all relationship counselling results in things ‘working out’. In some cases, both parties feel happier and healthier to end the relationship after all avenues have been explored, and in such instances we will work together to make sure that any separation is amicable, fair and respectful, paying close attention to shared commitments and responsibilities (e.g. co-parenting).