Couples Counselling

Solution Focussed Brief Couples Counselling – 6 sessions

Many people believe that couples counselling is only here to help with the major crises in people’s relationships, such as when people face divorce or separation; affairs or major conflict. But talking with a neutral third party can also help with the worries that might seem trivial or minor.

In couples counselling I work to create a safe context where we can collaborate to improve your connection. We will focus on identifying the problems that have brought you to counselling and work out ways to solve these problems. I act as a therapist, coach and mediator. To benefit most you will need to practice the changes we discuss in sessions. While engaging in couples counselling does not guarantee the happiness and longevity of your relationship, it can increase mutual understanding and change unhelpful patterns that have come between you.

I work for just six sessions (after our initial mutual assessment session). This is because we focus on communication difficulties in the here and now. It may be that one or both of you decide that you need further individual counselling to address underlying issues that may have arisen – we would discuss this if it became apparent. On the other hand you may find that the 6 sessions give you enough of a tool box to improve and maintain changes you make.

Couples  sessions are for 50 minutes and cost £80 per session.

Here are some ideas for improving your relationship:

Be appreciative. Make at least two positive comments each day. Tell your partner what you admire most about him or her.

Lie low on criticism. Criticisms appear to be more helpful in the beginning of a romantic relationship. But it gets annoying over time. Lie low on giving criticisms, especially those you have already pointed out in the past. Also let go of the unimportant negative remarks that can make your partner feel embarrassed or could reduce his or her confidence.

Give a little more time for yourself. Connect with your friends and family. Pursue your passion. Do things you enjoy. Being in a relationship doesn’t mean you have to let go of your individuality. When your energy is directed to living your life in the best way you can, you don’t get to “over-focus” on your partner in a negative way.

Listen. Sometimes, the most powerful way to connect and comfort a person is to say nothing but listen.
Take time to listen to them without interrupting, or giving judgements. Listen with an open mind and an open heart. It’s where understanding, empathy and communication starts.

Do it when you say you would. Never think that your contributions to the relationship compensates for the things you have failed to do or the promises you have broken.

Don’t hesitate to say “I am sorry”. Even if you know your fault constitutes only 20 per cent of the entire problem. Remember the fact remains that you also did something wrong (no matter how small or insignificant it is) so it is just proper to apologise. This will also encourage your partner to do the same.

Don’t demand an apology. Just because he or she doesn’t say the magic words “I’m sorry” doesn’t mean your partner doesn’t want to reconcile with you. Some people say “sorry” through deeds rather than words. Be more sensitive towards your spouse’s way of communicating his or her feelings.

Say it short. A distant partner may avoid conversations because it may feel ‘awful’ to him or her. So slow down your speech, lower your tone, and speak gently.

Stop the emotional pursuit. The more you chase a distant partner, the farther he or she gets away. So focus more on living your life in the best way you can. A distant partner is more likely to move towards you when he or she sees you are taking good care of yourself.

Exit a conversation when you start to feel you are being hit “below the belt”. During a heated argument, it’s easy to get flown away by emotions and say words we don’t really mean. If your partner starts to become rude, tell your partner that you are going to stop the conversation until he or she is ready to talk to you calmly and with respect. Be firm.

Take time to assess any dysfunctional family patterns and make effort to change them for the better.

Turn your partner “on”. If it’s your partner who always initiates sex, be the one to do it sometimes. This will make your spouse feel more appreciated and loved.

Pursue your own hobbies, wants and goals. Take a dance or a cookery class, travel with friends – cherish life outside your relationship. Keeping the balance between your relationship and personal life can reduce your stress levels and boost your well-being.

Set boundaries with technology use. Technology is essential to our daily life but too much of it can affect the quality of our personal relationships. Agree on “time-out rules” where each one of you is prohibited from using mobile phone, computer or any gadget. These rules are best during mealtimes, at least an hour before bedtime, during intimate moments, holidays, and the like.

Be willing to change for your partner. But not to the extent that your core values, beliefs, goals and priorities are compromised.

Set limits and let your partner know about them.

 

Helpful Reading:

The Relate Guide to Better Relationships

Harville Hendrix – Getting The Love You Want

Pia Mellody – The Intimacy Factor

David Richo – How to be an Adult in Relationships