Couples Therapy

Has The Sparkle and Fizz Gone Out of Your Relationship?

Couple in distress needing therapy

Do you feel stuck in your relationship?

Couples therapy can help you if you answer ‘yes’ to any of these questions:

  • Has you soul mate become your cell mate?
  • Are you scared your relationship is beyond help?
  • Has the sparkle and fizz gone out of your marriage?
  • Do you regularly find yourself thinking ‘I want a divorce’?
  • Does it feel like everything you do or say is misunderstood by your partner?
  • Do you look at your partner and wonder: “What the hell did I ever see in you?”
  • Do you wish things could be like they were back when you two first met?

Nobody likes to admit their marriage isn’t the way they want it, that life with their loved one is a major source of sadness, disappointment or pain in their life.

The pain of feeling disconnected from your loved one can be a very uncomfortable place to be. When the two of you first got together, there was a spark, a desire to be with one another and that passionate energy can sustain a couple for a long time.

But now that’s gone, your relationship has changed and what’s left might seem beyond saving.

A truth nobody talks about is all relationships change with time and as you know, change can be uncomfortable. It can lead to a failure to connect, to miscommunications and both of you behaving in ways that damage the relationship and hurt each other.

All Couples Fight

Psychological clinician John Gottman studied couples for over four decades, observing divorce prediction and marital stability and he’ll tell you that all couples fight and fall out.

It’s normal.

But what’s the difference between those couples who get back together again quickly after a fight and those who don’t?

It’s communication.

And over time a lack of effective communication can lead your relationship to a point where negativity takes over, then the focus changes from the love your partner offers to the problems your partner creates.

There’s Hope

You might be feeling really stuck right now or deeply upset because you can’t see any way out other than to end your relationship. The truth is difficulties in relationships are common, they’re the result of two different individuals – each with their own flaws – working at living together.

The good news is, with the help of couples therapy, the pain your experiencing now, can be an opportunity for growth in your relationship.

Let me explain…

My experience as an Emotionally Focused couples Therapist (EFT) in Dawlish has lead me to the conclusion that it’s unlikely to be your partner that’s the problem. And I appreciate that might be a hard truth to swallow. Because if it’s not your partner that’s the problem…

What is?

From the EFT view, the problem is the negative cycles you and your partner have got into. And if you change these negatives cycles, you’ll change your relationship.

I can help you to identify these negative cycles and to replace them with healthier, nurturing cycles instead. EFT is powerful, but don’t just take my word for it. Reliable research has shown couples therapy using EFT techniques can give a 70 to 75% recovery rate in 10 to 12 session. And retests of couples at 3 months, 6 months and two years show stable results and in some cases even improved results.

Sounds Good, But…

The most common objection I hear about couples therapy takes this form: “How do I get my partner to come with me?”

It can be very difficult to raise concerns about your relationship with your partner for a number or reasons

1. You don’t want to hurt their feelings – But if you don’t have truthful conversations with your partner, nothing will change and you could end up feeling like you’re never going to be fulfilled in your relationship.

2. You’re scared they’ll get angry – If you’re with an angry partner, it makes sense that you don’t want to ‘Rock the boat’. But it’s possible your partner is struggling with how to mange their feelings better. Having an EFT trained couples therapist in the room can help to make sure both of you have a chance to speak and to be heard.

3. They don’t think talking therapy works – Why do they think this? Have they had a bad experience with counselling in the past? Or do they believe that if a relationship is ‘meant to be’ then it doesn’t need any support? Getting clear on their objections towards couples therapy can help you to challenge their assumptions and help them to be more open minded towards relationship therapy.

4. They don’t think there’s anything wrong with your relationship – Sometimes just having the space to talk about and explore your relationship can help to make it better. People happily seek coaching to do better in all aspects of their lives, let your partner know your relationship with them is so important you want to make it a priority and find proven ways to make it even better.

5. They think they’re going to get the blame – Hey, it takes two to tango right? As an EFT trained therapist, I’ll be helping you to identify the negative cycles in your relationship and helping you to interrupt them and replace them with nurturing cycles. I won’t be pointing fingers, that’s not how EFT works.

Couples therapy can provide a safe, supporting place to have honest and open communications and help you both to make your relationship work. Let your partner know you love and care for them and you want to get professional support to make your relationship with them stronger, more loving and better.

Don’t Leave It Too Late

Studies of couples who come for couples therapy suggest they ‘put up with’ the problem for an average of 6 years.

Can you see the problem?

You’re absolutely right, 6 years is a long time to be living in an unhappy relationship, so don’t be like these couples, don’t wait until it’s too late.

Be like the couples I work with.

Most of them are looking to improve their relationship because they’ve got stuck in some kind of power struggle or negative cycle.

Don’t wait until your relationship is seriously damaged before getting couples therapy.

The good news is that with the help of Emotionally Focused couples Therapy you really can get back to the relationship you deserve and desire. A relationship free from the pain of heartbreak and fear you are stuck in right now.

Couples Therapy – How We’ll Work Together

  • The first session is 1 to 1.5 hours. We’ll meet together and explore what the problem is and where the relationship hurts for both partners
  • Then there will be an individual session with each partner (45 mins)
  • After which you’ll resume working together as a couple (45 mins per session).

Here’s a map of the three EFT stages we’ll be following:

Stage 1: We’re Caught in a Trap

The first stage of couples therapy lays a foundation for a deeper, lasting change in the relationship. The aim here is to help you de-escalate the conflict, tensions or intensity of arguments between you and your partner, so you can start having different, more connected conversations about the issues that brought you to therapy.

The main points of this stage are:

  • Understanding your own unique arguing cycle
  • Recognising moments of attacking, blaming and defending
  • Identifying who pursues/who withdraws
  • Finding the softer emotions that are rarely felt, much less shown
  • Calming the arguing cycle, coming closer

Stage 2: Knowing Me, Knowing You – There is Something We Can Do

When you and your partner feel more able and safer to reconnect, you start to be more accessible, responsive and engaged with each other. You start reaching out for each other in new ways. This is how lasting change happens, so you will not be caught in the trap of an escalating conflict again.

At this stage we will be focusing on

Understanding the more withdrawing partner:

  • Recognising your own fear & needs
  • Reaching out in new ways that promote the kind of relationship you want

Understanding the more pursuing partner:

  • Recognising your own fears & needs
  • Reaching out in new ways that promote the kind of relationship you want

For best results these stages require regular, weekly sessions.

Stage 3: Facing the Future Together

The work is almost done! At this point of your journey, both of you can feel safe, engaged and trusting each other. Old issues are dealt with, or you are confident that you can rely on each other to resolve them.

Once again you are looking into the future together.

This stage focuses on:

  • Continuing to open up to each other
  • Dealing with missteps as they happen
  • Tackling problematic issues as a team

This stage is usually very short and fortnight sessions are recommended.

I hope this brief guide to couples therapy answered some of the questions you may have about the process. Please remember this is a guide only – the journey and final destination are yours! I’m always happy to discuss any questions, issues and concerns you may have about your therapy with me.

(The guide is an edited version of the couples therapy overview from Couples Zone.)

These stages typically take an average of 25 sessions depending on the level of couple distress, commitment to the relationship and to therapy itself.

Bottom Line? I’m trained in a systems based couples therapy model which means you’ll quickly get an in-depth grasp of what you’re really dealing with in your relationship in the shortest and least painful way possible.

Using an EFT approach I’ve seen couples make it all the way back from death’s door to being in love again. I only work with couples and I’ve been doing this long enough now to be assured of the direction you need to be moving in and how to help get you both there.

Please Note: Issues such as recovery from an affair or trauma will take longer than 25 sessions. Studies suggest it takes at least a year.

Important:

Your marriage doesn’t have to die!

You don’t have to continue to lie awake at night in pain, dissatisfaction and loneliness. The sad fact is, it’s often only when the divorce papers have been signed, the contents of your home split and you’re sitting alone in your new place that reality sinks in. Only then will you realise the depth of what you gave up on when you gave up on each other.

Please don’t make this painful mistake.

What Now?

Research strongly suggests one person can change the way each partner experiences the relationship – As Dr Harriet Lerner so eloquently puts it… “Don’t wait for your partner to change first.”

So don’t kid yourself thinking time will change your situation, because the research on relationships suggests problems rarely change for the better without help. My experience has convinced me that with the right couples therapy you and your partner can get through this challenge and your relationship can be even stronger and more nurturing than ever before.

To schedule an appointment please fill out the contact form below.  If you have a question, you’ll find it quicker to take a look at the Frequently Asked Questions page as I’ve answered most of the common questions I get asked there.

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