Good communication is very important and most problems are either caused or exacerbated by poor communication. In a desperate attempt to feel heard we may raise our voices but sadly that usually does not work as our partner will either attack back or retreat. Many of us find talking about our feelings and emotions difficult as it makes us feel vulnerable. Together we can look at techniques to enable you to communicate in a way that avoids conflict and promotes a greater understanding of each other.
I aim to create a caring and non-judgemental place where you will feel it is safe to express yourself.
It may be that you have a history of failed relationships or are experiencing difficulties in your existing one. We can look to see if there are any negative patterns in your history and, if so, where they came from and how they might be changed.
Self esteem is essential to a contented life. Low self esteem can be a real obstacle to a healthy, intimate relationship and, again, we can look to see where this came from and how you can begin to gain confidence in yourself.
Couples experience many pressures. Work stress and the demands of raising a family often mean there is little time or energy for nurturing relationships. Very often sexual desire can diminish. We can investigate ways of re-energising relationships.
The responsibility for disharmony in a relationship is almost always shared. We cannot change our partner’s behaviour but with a willingness to improve our relationship we can freely choose to change our own behaviour. Together we can learn from past mistakes and find new ways of interacting.
There are likely to be many strengths in your relationship but during times of stress they can be forgotten. I can help you find them again and build on them.
Any long lasting relationship will need to adapt to periods of change - having children, children leaving home, the wish to pursue new directions, becoming older, etc. These changes can feel frightening but gaining a greater understanding, through talking about them, they need not continue to pose a threat.
I am not a child counsellor but I work with families with children over the age of ten. My experience is that children can often see what is going on better than adults can and I have great respect for their wisdom. The first session would be with the parent/s to gain an understanding of the problem from their perspective. Soon after that I would probably wish to see older children on their own before bringing the whole family together. My task is to create an atmosphere where all members of the family feel respected and listened to.
Depression and anxiety
Up to about 10% of the population of the UK will be experiencing depression at any one time so, if you are feeling depressed, you are not alone. Whilst anti-depressants can help, most people will benefit from talking therapy. I can work with you as an individual but if you are in a relationship, depression and anxiety will inevitably impact on your partner who may struggle to know how to help. The way your partner responds will, in turn, impact on you. If this is the case, working with you and your partner together can be more effective.
The effect of an affair on a couple can be devastating. Trust has probably been destroyed and will take time to be restored. The partner who had the affair may be full of regret and want to put the whole matter to one side. For their partner the situation is very different and they may need to talk about it. Taking responsibility for choosing to have an affair is important. We can look at the reasons why it happened and if there were problems in the relationship, making the necessary changes can be an important step to restoring trust and building a stronger relationship.
Separation and divorce
Sadly there are times when the best way forward for some couples is to separate. This is likely to be painful and difficult with a strong feeling of loss. Together we can find ways to minimise the impact of this and begin planning the future.
Where children are involved it is important to look at how best to support them. It may be difficult to know what to share with them and there is often a fear of upsetting them. We can look at what to do and what not to do to help them cope during what is likely to be a difficult time for them too.
Client confidentiality is very important and would only be broken if I became very concerned for your own or someone else’s safety. Should this happen I would discuss my concerns with you along with my thoughts about a responsible course of action.