Relationships are the heart of our lives and when not functioning well can cause distress and unhappiness which can pervade the rest of our lives. Working to change and improve this can be initially painful, but then have a truly transformative effect. My counselling is appropriate for all aspects and stages of relationships, including relationships with family members and other adults, and parenting when separated or divorced.As a couple or individual, you may want to work through relationship issues, you may be facing a crisis or be at a make or break stage. You could be suffering from issues of poor communication, control or abuse, or be contemplating ending your relationship. Individuals may want counselling and support through the stages of loss associated with ending or recovery from a relationship and re-defining yourself emotionally, physically and spiritually. Counselling can help you identify, clarify and focus on the issues in your situation and work through appropriate steps for change.
Couple counselling is a specialist area as it involves managing the delicate balance between two people who are in a tense and unhappy state. My 20 years of intensive couple counselling experience with Relate has enabled me to gain the skills to offer the necessary impartiality, sensitivity and insight to enable couples to work through their difficulties until they get to a place where they can move forward.The couple counselling process often starts with exploration of the immediate situation which can be emotionally charged.One partner may have had counselling previously, the other not and so feeling at a disadvantage. It may be uncomfortable expressing feelings in front of each other at first, but once adjusted, it is a liberating and rewarding experience.Issues raised are often about communication, finances, parenting, sex, time together, not feeling loved or appreciated and feeling let down or criticised. One partner may have had an affair and they want to see if they can recover and repair. If the relationship has completely broken down, then it will be an opportunity to decide whether to focus on separation or rebuilding – the latter needing the necessary time, effort and willingness to change in order to be successful.
Working as a couple is faster and more dynamic than counselling as individuals, as both are able to immediately respond to each, correct misinterpretations and often hear about feelings not previously expressed. I do often, however, offer individual sessions within the couple therapy if this is helpful.
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The number of sessions required
The length of time spent in counselling is flexible and varies according to individual needs. Some people make rapid progress; others find themselves in a position of requiring longer-term support. Usually counselling sessions are weekly until the acute stage is passed and then may become fortnightly and finally monthly or stop when clients feel there is some form of resolution and they have the necessary skills to maintain their relationships themselves.
My theoretical approach
I integrate various theoretical approaches in my counselling, including systemic theory, attachment and loss, person centred counselling, psychodynamic therapy and transactional analysis, also using aspects of cognitive behavioural therapy and neuro linguistic programming.