Relationship dynamics can feel exhausting, especially if you are stuck in a negative cycle of blame, criticism and distancing. When couples argue about issues such as jealousy, money, sex, children, etc, the root of these arguments often stems from one partner not feeling connected, not trusting or not feeling safe and secure with the other partner. Because the person you are attached to is unavailable or not responding to your needs to feel close or supported it can cause you emotional distress, pain and sadness. You may also become anxious, angry, fearful, numb, withdrawn, etc.
Due to our relationship histories and the negative interaction cycles we get into with our partners, many of us have difficulties with trust and in expressing emotions to those who mean the most to us. As a result of this we develop habit-forming ways of reacting to our partners which ends up causing much pain, injury and despair. The main aim of couples counselling with me is to work on these patterns and work on changing these negative interaction cycles in a neutral, containing, non-judgmental and confidential environment.
In a relatively short time, couples usually begin to recognise and eventually express their needs for love, support, protection and comfort that are often hidden or disguised by angry exchanges of words, sulking, etc. Partners begin to “listen with the heart” which means listening not for the meaning of a partner’s words in the literal sense, but listening for the feelings that lie beneath. In return, the other partner is better able to respond from their heart in kind.
I view the building of “a safe haven” in your relationship as my primary task and I will try to focus on your primary needs, which is often to feel close, secure and responded to.
Once this safe haven and feelings of connection are re-established, you will be better able to manage conflict and the painful or difficult feelings that will inevitably arise from time to time in a close relationship. Furthermore, without becoming defensive you will be able to send clearer messages and be better able to hear the other ‘s perspective. You will be better able to collaborate, problem-solve, and compromise – in short – you will be more of a team – which is the secret of a long-lasting relationship.
The overall aim of couples counselling is to help you do the following:
- Understand your presenting issue and how external factors such as family values, attachments, lifestyle and culture may affect your relationship.
- Reflect on your past in order to see how it operates in the present.
- Understand and change your part in the negative cycle between you.
- Learn why arguments escalate and how to negotiate and resolve conflicts, where possible.
- Learn to communicate in a more constructive way.
Sadly, sometimes couples come to counselling in order to find a way to part amicably and yet often what might seem like the end for a couple can signal a new beginning.
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