If you’re like many of the people I see for Couples Therapy, you might find the following thoughts or feelings about your partner familiar:
- he/she/they doesn’t/don’t love me anymore
- this is never going to get any better, so why bother trying
- he/she/they needs/need to grow up!
- did we ever love each other?
- my partner feels more like a flatmate
- we can never agree on anything
- better not to argue… then I’ll be safe
- my partner thinks they’re always right
- we don’t have anything in common anymore
- will we ever have sex again?
- can I ever forgive him/her/them?
- we keep having the same arguments about the same things
- if I’m really honest, this is just so hurtful and I don’t know if I can stay
During sessions with me, couples often report that they’ve been able to:
- improve their capacity to do conflict well
- get better at communicating their needs
- find a renewed sense of appreciation and respect for each other as well as improved intimacy
- heal old relationship wounds
- understand how an affair happened
- forgive a partner who has been unfaithful & create a new relationship together
- feel more connected to and understood by their partner
- talk about topics that have previously been taboo, such as sex, money, in-laws, and parenting styles (to name a few)
- discover if they want to stay together or separate
However, Couples Therapy is not a magic bullet and it doesn’t work for everyone:
According to a 2011 journal article in the Archives of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, for Couples Therapy to be successful, both partners:
- must be trying to improve the relationship
- want to undertake therapy for mutual support or help with problem-solving.
- want to prevent or solve problems in their current relationship that caused previous relationships to fail.
- want to prevent an accumulation of difficulties and strengthen their bond.
The same articles suggests that when Couples therapy usually doesn’t work, there is:
- there is a history of abuse or violence between partners (can include emotional, physical or sexual abuse).
- there is an active or untreated mental illness or addiction with one (or both) partners.
- one or both parties are engaged in infidelity and lack the motivation to give those outside relationships up for the good of the primary relationship.
- one or both parties have already made the decision to separate or divorce.
If you’re experiencing any of the difficulties mentioned above, I encourage you to start with individual therapy and actively engage in working on those issues before you try Couples Therapy
I invite you to get in touch to see if I might be a good fit for your individual work. I offer all potential clients a free 20 minute Zoom consultation for this purpose.
How sessions work:
I practice the Gottman method of Couples Therapy and am trained to level 2 in this approach. We start the work together with a joint interview. I’ll ask you first of all, what brings you to therapy. We’ll then have a conversation about your relationship history as well as your hopes and dreams for the future.
Session 2 is split into two parts. I will meet each of you for a private conversation about what you see as the key challenges in the relationship, any theories you might have about why things are the way they are and what you might have already tried. I’ll be keen to learn more about you as a person in this session; what matters to you, what aspects of your history are having an impact on your relationship and what your role models have been.
At this second session, I’ll invite you to complete a compulsory online assessment, which each partner completes independently. This provides me with very objective information about the strengths and weaknesses in the relationship and clearly pinpoints the areas for us to focus on together.
At session 3, we’ll talk through the results of your online assessment and agree on a way forward together and if we have time, will close the session with a short exercise.
I do like couples to practice the skills learned in sessions at home and I will provide suggestions for activities after each session.