Has The Sparkle and Fizz Gone Out of Your Relationship?
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.
But what’s the difference between those couples who get back together again quickly after a fight and those who don’t?
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.
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. 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 counselling, the pain you’re experiencing now, can be an opportunity for growth in your relationship.
Let me explain…
My experience as a couples counsellor in Dawlish has lead me to the conclusion 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…
The problem is likely to be the negative cycles you and your partner have gotten into. And if you change these negative cycles, you’ll change your relationship.
I can help you to identify these negative cycles and to replace them with healthier, nurturing cycles instead. Reliable research has shown couples therapy can give a 70 to 75% recovery rate in 10 to 12 sessions. And retests of couples at 3 months, 6 months and two years show stable results and in some cases even improved results.
Couples Counselling Sounds Good, But…
The most common objection I hear about couples counselling 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 of reasons
1. You don’t want to hurt their feelings – But if you don’t have honest 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 manage their feelings better. Having a trained couples counsellor 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 counselling 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 a trained couples counsellor, 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 this works.
Couples counselling can provide a safe, supportive 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 relationship counselling 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 or no longer know how to communicate with each other effectively.
Don’t wait until your relationship is seriously damaged before getting couples therapy.
The good news is that with the help of evidence-based couples therapies 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.
Relationship Therapy – How We’ll Work Together
After years of working as a couples counsellor, I’ve come to the conclusion the ‘Therapeutic Hour’ (more like 50 mins) is of little benefit for couples work.
Well, the traditional therapy session is just long enough to get couples into a really deep, raw and often sensitive place and then it’s time to go.
I believe this is cruel and potentially harmful.
Therefore I no longer offer ‘hour’ sessions.
Instead my face-to-face couples counselling sessions are two hours long.
Here are just some of the benefits my couples have reported:
- They feel protected from the intrusions of their family, their children, their work, their mobile and so on.
- They feel more invested in the work because they’ve devoted time to work on their relationship. So often I’ve heard couples report they’ve felt rushed in hour-long sessions.
- They feel a sense of momentum. By stacking the work, the emotion and the therapeutic experiences one on top of the other they experience progress and real movement.
Having a sense of protected, sacred time and the ability to build momentum allows you and your partner to go much deeper, much quicker.
You simply don’t get these types of benefits from the conventional ‘Therapeutic Hour’ offered by other couples counsellors.
I’m also heavily into assessment.
Well, imagine if you went to your doctor and without even looking at you they wrote out a prescription for treatment. You’d rightly feel short-changed. You want the doctor to examine you, check your vitals, ask you questions and then based on a thorough assessment suggest a course of action.
And I’m the same.
I’ve found assessment to be a very powerful experience in its own right.
Here’s what the stages of relationship counselling usually look like when we work together:
Stage One – Assessment
Session 1 ‘Intake Interview’ – You and your partner tell me what’s brought you to therapy, why now and what you hope to achieve. I conduct an oral interview to get an idea of who you are as a couple. If appropriate I’ll also ask you to engage in a short sample conflict. This will show me where you and your partner are getting stuck and interventions to help you smooth these conflict areas out and make them more gentle and productive. Together we begin to build a strong therapeutic alliance.
Session 2 ‘Individual Sessions’ – You tend to do relationships the way you witnessed relationships been done by your caregivers and those close to you. By conducting an individual ‘attachment history’ I get a better idea of how you’re showing up in your own relationship. It’s also an opportunity for you and me to get to know each other a little better.
Stage Two – Treatment Plan
Session 3 ‘The Way Forward’ – Based on our assessment work, we’ll look at what you’re doing well and what you’re not doing so well. We’ll discuss the sources of pain in your relationship and we’ll start the process of building/repairing the connection between you.
Stage Three – Do The Work
Session 4 onwards: Now the real work begins…
These stages typically take an average of 10 sessions depending on the level of the couple’s distress, commitment to the relationship and to the therapy itself.
I only work with couples.
I’m trained in a number of systems-based couples therapy models, 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 this 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 10 sessions. Studies suggest it takes at least a year.
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.
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 into 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.
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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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