Relationship Counselling or Couple Counselling is a very specialised area of therapy
Many issues that emerge in relationships need to be looked at from a couple perspective as two people bring a unique history and functioning to any relationship. No two people will create the same unique issues or problems together that you and your partner do.
You need to work with a Relationship Counsellor who can give you sound relationship advice and has specialist training and experience in working with couples
It is important that both partners be heard without judgment, in order to explore, understand and change from difficult patterns of relating. Both partners bring their own history with them into a relationship.
How to fix your relationship – raw spots and triggers
We bring our own ‘raw spots’, or ‘triggers’ to our relationship. Usually these come from our growing up family and other past relationships. We also bring a unique way of trying to protect ourselves. Some of these defences were useful at the time we originally used them, but often stop real connection from happening in intimate partner relationships.
Common ones are:
These defences then become a big part of the problem and stop any real communication from happening. It is important to know which one you use and how this invites your partner to use theirs.
Understanding and changing destructive patterns. Attack & defend, attack & withdraw, freeze or flight. Which one are you?
Understanding these destructive patterns is one of the first steps in Couples Counselling. When continually fighting or arguing this pattern gets locked in and can stop any real communication about important issues from happening. One of the first steps in couples counselling is to identify your unique pattern together and work towards stepping out of it…..together
Not all counsellors or psychologists have specific training in couples therapy. Seek out someone with training, skills and experience in working with couples and marriage breakdowns
Professor John Gottman Relationship Guru speaks about the seven principals to making marriage work. Dr. Susan Johnson Relationship Guru also speaks about the seven conversations for a lifetime of love.
There are stages in Relationship Counselling that will cover some of these principals and conversations in order for each couple to grow and develop and not return to the patterns that once got them stuck in their relationships.
Infidelity, adultery and affairs! Can you recover? How to save your marriage
Understanding why an affair has occurred can be a painful process. Stopping an affair is a prerequisite for attending couples counselling if you want to save your relationship. The first step is working through the pain and hurt, guilt and other emotions to try to get things back on track. Then to understand what has happened and why this may have happened. The couple is responsible for the relationship issues that may have led to the affair, but the person who had the affair is responsible for going outside the relationship and breaking the trust. There needs to be careful repair and acknowledgement for the betrayed partner and understanding of this process from the partner who broke the trust. From here understanding the patterns and issues in the relationship is important in order to grow, forgive, rebuild trust and move forward.
The Richards Trauma Process for Couples.
When there has been a history of childhood/adult trauma for individuals in the Couple, these unresolved traumas can play out between the Couple. We can see out partner as our angry abusive parents, and respond from that unresolved childhood place. Angry outbursts, fear, anxiety, depression, not listening, not understanding each other, shutting down, abusive behaviours, addictions can all be a sign of unresolved trauma. When these unresolved traumas are no longer operating in the unconscious, couples learn how to cope in healthy ways with each other and build the life they want together, and be the best parents they can. At times, Jenn will suggest the couples do these 3 x 2.5 hour sessions first, and then work on their relationship. This has a great impact on their dynamic and the health of their relationship.
Expectations, hope and fears
We also bring many expectations, hopes and fears to a relationship and make many assumptions about how our relationships ‘should be’. We may not be aware how these influence how we respond to our partner or what we are expecting of them and ourselves. Couples counselling helps to look at some of these, where they have come from and are they useful in the here and now? It also helps to work towards what is most important to both partners