Relationship dynamics can feel exhausting, especially if you are stuck in a repeating cycle of blame, attack, defend, shut down.
Couples often argue about issues such as jealousy, money, sex, children, loading the dishwater, etc. The root of these arguments often stems from one partner not feeling connected, not trusting and feeling unsafe 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. As a result you may feel anxious,angry, fearful, numb, withdrawn, hopeless, etc.
Due to our relationship histories and the negative 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.
The main aim of couples counselling is to work on exploring those patterns and work on changing the negative interactions between you in a neutral, safe, non-judgmental and confidential environment.
Before long, couples usually begin to recognise and eventually express their underlying needs for love, support, protection and comfort that are often hidden or disguised by angry exchanges of words, resentment, sulking, stonewalling, etc. Partners can then begin to listen with their heart. This doesn’t mean listening for the meaning of a partner’s words in the literal sense, but listening for the feelings that lie beneath the words. In return, the other partner is better able to respond from their heart in kind.
I view the building of safety and trust in your relationship as my primary task and the focus will be on your primary needs – which is often to feel close, secure and responded to.
Once safety and connection have been 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. You will also be able to send clearer messages and hear your partner’s perspective without becoming so overwhelmed by your feelings and defensive.
The aim of couples counselling is to help you to:-
- Explore your presenting issues and how external factors such as gender, family values, attachments, lifestyle, etc. may affect your relationship.
- Reflect on your past in order to understand how it may be affecting you currently.
- Understand, acknowledge and change your part in the ‘dance’ between you.
- Learn what your emotional “triggers” are and de-escalate arguments quicker.
- Communicate more effectively.
- Re-connect emotionally and physically.