"The conflict you are experiencing is not only normal but inevitable and even valuable"
- Harville Hendrix & Helen LaKelly Hunt
Couples Counselling and Therapy
Relationships are central to our lives, so why are they so difficult?!
I start from the perspective that relationship challenges, whilst uncomfortable, are opportunities for us to understand our partners and ourselves better. Although difficult to see initially, these difficulties can often provide the raw material for personal growth and a deepening of connection. However, we are rarely taught how to explore and understand our differences and challenges in a way that leads to this growth and depth.
Couples counselling is different from individual counselling and therapy because the primary focus is on "the between", the dynamic of the relationship itself. I support you as a couple by helping you to understand the patterns that have developed between you, identify strengths and weaknesses in your relationship and working with you to develop new approaches that build connection and intimacy.
I do not take sides. I support each of you to notice your own patterns of relating, how your combined patterns of relating are affecting the relationship and what you can do differently to break the relational patterns you are in. In addition to supporting you to explore and understand what is underneath the surface of your difficulties, the sessions can also be practical, working with live issues and experimenting with different approaches of relating to one another.
Learning any new skill requires us to slow down and be deliberate in our approach. We don't become experts in understanding one another and managing our relationships overnight, just as we cannot learn to play the piano overnight. However, with a supportive therapist and a willingness to experiment with different ways of engaging with one another, significant changes can happen.
Just as with my 1:1 work, when you work with me as a couple, there will be times of serious reflection, but there will also times of lightness. I will engage with you both actively, including sharing ideas and practices that will support the development of your relationship.
The couples therapy process includes an initial assessment phase, which includes:
An initial exploration of your challenges together - 50min initial consultation
An individual session each to raise awareness of your personal perspective and learned patterns of thinking and relating - 50min individual session each
Psychometric questionnaires to support the identification of strengths and weaknesses in your relationship
An exploration of your relationship history - 50min couples session
Following these steps, we will get together to discuss the key themes identified and agree goals for our work together - 50min couples session
Once we are beyond the assessment phase, we will initially meet weekly, exploring live challenges you are facing together and practicing new ways of relating to one another. I will often ask you to practice with new ways of relating and building your relationship between sessions to move things along more quickly. When you have made good progress, we will typically reduce the frequency of sessions for period and then move to completion. Some couples continue to return periodically to support the growth and development of their relationship over the long term.
You can make an initial consultation appointment on the bookings page of this website or you can contact me via text, email or phone to make a general enquiry. I sometimes have availability not shown through the online booking system so please get in touch if you don't see a suitable time.