FAQ’s

Frequently Asked Questions

Married couple holding hands

On this page you’ll find a list of the most common questions I get asked about marriage counselling:

How can I be certain it will work? Can couples conunselling really help me and my partner to get back to the kind of relationship I want?

Of course you want certainty, we all want certainty, it’s one of the basic human needs. But I can’t guarantee your results. And you should be very wary of anyone who does. Why? Because your relationship is unique, there are too many variables in play and one size doesn’t fit all.

So… While I can’t guarantee your results, I can offer you one of the best chances you’re going to find in South Devon for saving your marriage.

But don’t take my word for it.

Reliable research has shown the systems-focused approach I use offers 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.

What makes your approach so much better than other relationship therapy models?

I follow the evidence wherever it may lead. I’m not wedded to one single approach to couples therapy which means I’m able to choose the best tools from the best methods of couples therapy available. Other therapists take a more ‘one size fits all’ approach to your relationship. The models of therapy I use are based upon sound, tried and tested, repeatable studies of what works in helping couples in crisis. I’m very proud of the research these systems are built upon. For example EFT (Emotionally Focused Therapy) meets the gold standard from the American Psychological Association (AMA) for evidence-based therapy.

Because of the science and research therapists like me can be confident we’re offering the best solutions available.

Put simply… EFT and The Gottman Institute (the two models of therapy I use the most) work and are proven to be effective.

If you want the gold standard of couples therapy…

…Congratulations, you’ve just found it.

Reality Check…

A lot of therapists offer couples therapy without getting trained, and a lot of couples therapy is offered without rigorous research behind it. As a result, most therapists have no real idea or training in how to work with couples – especially ‘difficult’ ones.

I know you came here with your own questions, but here are three questions you really should be asking of a potential relationship therapist:

Question 1: What is your training and background in relationship therapy?

You need to know this because many people, well qualified in individual therapy, assume working with couples is the same deal, just with more people in the room.

This couldn’t be further from the truth.

Why?

Because individual therapy is based on individual empowerment. When you’re ’empowered’ you say things like: ‘I was weak now I’m strong, screw you I’m leaving!‘ Using this model a therapist will applaud your decision to leave which can be an absolute disaster for your relationship.

The couples counselling I offer is very different.

My goal is the reconnection between you and your partner. My aim is to help you recognise and eventually express your needs for:

  • Love
  • Comfort
  • Support
  • Protection

Both of you need to be able to send clear messages to each other and be better able to hear the other’s perspective. The tools I share with you, will help you to collaborate, problem solve and compromise better.

It’s a research-based approach to relationships and it can work for you too.

Question 2: What is your attitude towards salvaging a troubled marriage versus helping couples to break up? 

I think you and I can agree you got married for a good reason. You and your partner had a beautiful dream together and somewhere along the way you’ve lost sight of that dream. I like to keep this in mind when working to help you both reconnect with one another.

If you have children, it’s my experience that any divorce you think you’re going to get is mythical and it’s going to be expensive for everyone…

…And not just financially, but emotionally too.

Truth is, your partner is going to be in your life forever. Even when your kids are all grown up there will be grandchildren.

Before divorce, it can be helpful to figure out where you got stuck in a cycle of pain and see if you can get reconnected. This is what I do, even if you’re not sure it’s what you want right now.

Question 3: What is your approach when one partner is seriously considering ending the marriage and the other wants to save it?

In my experience, it’s common for one person to be certain the relationship is over and is looking for a way out. Whilst I don’t need both partners to be invested in the marriage, I do need both parties in the room long enough to be able to show you the negative cycle you’ve got stuck in and then help to reconnect you.

The only exception to this is where someone is getting abused in a way that is actually damaging.

If you’re getting abused, it needs to stop right now.

If you’re a woman: call the National Domestic Violence Helpline on (freephone) 0808 2000 247. The helpline is operated 24/7 and offers confidential, non-judgmental support. If it’s not safe for you to call the Helpline, the Helpline also has an online contact form (www.nationaldahelpline.org.uk ), with additional support resources available for survivors, friends, and family. Women can request a safe time to be called.

If you’re a man: Women attacking men in a relationship is more common than you might think. As a result, many men find it impossible to talk about their female partner’s violence. In the society we live in, this response is perfectly understandable. However, help is available, contact: The Men’s Advice Line (https://mensadviceline.org.uk/ ) on freephone 0808 8010 327

If you’re in immediate danger or need urgent assistance call 999

Moving on… You might be wondering…

Why do I need to talk about my emotions? Why do I need to feel that?

Because you love, you have to send out emotional signals to your partner. But we’re not taught how to do that in our society. So a lot of time people come to therapy to help themselves and their partner to send out emotional signals that help you to both feel better and to feel the benefits of your love.

But when signals get scrambled up, it’s very hard to get the benefits of your love in your relationship.

The logical part of your brain is nowhere near powerful enough to talk your emotional brain out of its experience…

I work WITH how your nervous system wired.

And to change your experience you have to get up close to the emotions.

Some folk say you can’t talk someone out of what they’re feeling. They say it’s because our survival is hard-wired into the brain. And the best GPS for our survival is the emotions. So you have to make friends with your emotions in order to ensure your own survival.

We have emotions for a reason, they have a purpose. They send important messages to you that something needs to be looked at.

Especially in a love relationship.

How many sessions will it take?

In my experience, it takes an average of 25 sessions to make lasting, measurable change. But this depends on the level of distress and the level of commitment to the relationship and to counselling itself.

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

Can I talk about my problem first on the phone?

Of course you can. Let’s be honest, you’re about to make a huge investment in hope, time and money. I’m very happy to spend some time with you on the phone to ensure we’re a good match.

Can I get after-hours appointments?

I have excellent news for you. Whilst I don’t work late into the evenings I am available for weekend appointments.

Where is your practice?

My practice is based in Dawlish.

Personally I don’t think there’s a better place to get the support you need. A stroll on the beach after therapy can be powerful medicine.

We’ve tried therapy before and it didn’t work.

As I explained earlier, not all couples therapies or therapists are created equal. Hopefully, you now have a sense of exactly why it didn’t work so well for you last time.

Do you treat issues around infidelity?

Yes, I frequently work with issues of infidelity. Whether there are issues of trust, or if there have been physical or emotional affairs, it is never too late to seek therapy. 40% of couples survive this without any professional help but there is a huge difference between surviving and full recovery.

Do you see same sex couples?

Of course. I work with couples of all genders and sexual orientations.

Do you help couples with sexual difficulties?

Yes I do. In my experience, there are a multitude of reasons for your ‘love’ life getting off track. For lots of couples the fact their erotic adventures disappeared serves as a really good indicator that they’ve disconnected.

What Next?

To schedule your appointment please go here next.

If you still have questions, please fill out the contact form below.

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