Differences and even behaviour and words that cause intense emotional pain at some point, are inevitable in most relationships….
The problem comes in when there is an inability to speak from the heart, listen attentively, no regret, no apology… only a lot of anger, frustration, hurt, fear or shame.
What if both of you were able to tune into, identify and accept your own emotions and needs?
What if both of you are able to recognize when you are feeling disconnected and distant from your partner and both are able to speak candidly about your needs and emotions.
What if your partner is actually able to listen to you, understand you, validate you and is able to have empathy for you?
What if you are able to learn to refrain from blame, criticism and judgement and instead express your needs?
What if all of this is possible and you are able to restore your relationship to one of respect, deep love, connection, intimacy and safety.
Perhaps because our intimate partnership relationships offer the most apparent and intense arena in which to explore and encounter ourselves I have a particular interest in premarital, marital and couple therapy. I also believe that one of our greatest challenges as people is to live fully as individuals while sharing an enduring and nourishing partnership with another person. My approach is to sensitively explore the patterning of couple relationships and to clarify and deepen the partner’s understanding of self and other.
Sometimes couples seek counselling because they have a sense of having “grown apart” over the years. Sometimes marital therapy is sought to assist with adjustment to a specific event.
My work with couples includes the following;
- Preparation for marriage
- Dealing with infidelity. Read the feedback of a couple who had to deal with this injury in their relationship here.
- Adjustment to significant changes in life circumstances
- Restoration of communication
- Dealing with miscarriage or the inability to fall pregnant
- Adjustment to being a couple with children
- Adjustment to children leaving home
- Negotiation of differences between marriage partners and resolution of conflict.
- Facilitation of healthy separation and divorce processes
- Dealing with blended families / stepfamilies
When to seek couple counselling
When couples encounter problems or issues, they may wonder when it is appropriate to seek marriage counseling. Here are seven good reasons to take responsibility sooner, rather than later.
1. Communication has become negative. Negative communication can include anything that leaves one partner feeling depressed, insecure, disregarded, or wanting to withdraw from the conversation. Negative communication can also include any communication that not only leads to hurt feelings, but emotional or physical abuse, as well as nonverbal communication.
2. When one or both partners consider having an affair, or one partner has had an affair.
3. When the couple seems to be “just occupying the same space.”
4. When the partners do not know how to resolve their differences. If a couple is stuck, a skilled clinician may be able to get them moving in the right direction.
5. When one partner begins to act out on negative feelings. Negative feelings such as resentment or disappointment can turn into hurtful, sometimes harmful behaviors.
6. When the only resolution appears to be separation. When a couple disagrees or argues, a break often is very helpful. However, when a timeout turns into an overnight stay away from home or eventually leads to a temporary separation, this may indicate a need for counseling. Spending time away from home does not usually resolve the situation. Instead, it reinforces the thought that time away is helpful, often leading to more absences. When the absent partner returns, the problem is still there, but often avoided because time has passed.
7. When a couple is staying together for the sake of the children.
Our marriage definately got so much better. It’s like chalk and cheese
It’s given me hope that we can make this work
My approach to couple counselling
In my opinion, couple counselling is a specialized area of psychology and psychotherapy, something like when you have had a heart attack, you go to a cardiologist and not a GP.
Depending on the couple that sits in front of me and the dilemma between them, I will either use Imago Therapy or Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT). Both these very specialized relationship therapy approaches require post-graduate training and certification. Follow the link for Imago therapy and EFT if you would like to read more on these approaches.
What should you do now?
Contact me for more information or setting up an appointment to discuss your situation by sending me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org I will get back to you as soon as possible.
Vandat ons hier is, is ons konflik 90% minder
It was so amazing to communicate such intense, accurate vulnerabilities in a controlled environment.