Counselling Twickenham, Whitton I work with:
counselling for depression
counselling for anxiety
survivors of rape
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Firstly, it is quite normal for relationships to suffer as the tensions of everyday life begin to intensify. As intimacy, care and sex begin to fade, they may be replaced by resentment, anger and rage. Everyone views conflict differently. Each partner begins to feel opposed, depending on their values and experience of family life. One may turn to sadness and despair, while the other views conflict it as unproblematic or a temporary blip. Sometimes where couples have become hastily attached or co-dependent - in response to sexual passion, pregnancy or neediness. This may lead to regret and disappointment, as the initial excitement fades.
This is where skilled listening, empathy and negotiation, can help with an experienced counsellor. Couples Counselling in Whitton can help you build more realistic expectations, find a satisfying compromise and develop deeper intimacy in relationships. It can also help couples work out a less conflicted break up, if that is what each person wants. Couples do not have to be sure either way. As a counsellor, I am there to help you explore these issues in a safe, confidential way without fear of attack. When it’s appropriate to seek couples counselling:
• If there has been a betrayal of trust, an affair, debt crisis or secret
• If communication leads to conflict, confusion or anger
• If separation or divorce has been broached
• If intimacy or sexual desire is missing
• If arguments and bickering go on unresolved
You are more likely to attend couples counselling together at my Twickenham practice; unless there has been open domestic violence or fear of personal harm to one partner. Couples counselling can be undertaken with individuals as a more comfortable option. Of course couples may learn to manage conflict and arguments as part of a solid foundation to their relationship. It is unrealistic to expect love can endure without conflict or that arguments can be avoided. Everyone enters a relationship with their own set of values, morals and beliefs. Therefore both people must feel that their voices can be heard in order to maintain autonomy and freedom. This may mean exploring new communication skills or the boundaries between them need to be reaffirmed; otherwise people feel their personal identity is being lost. Occasionally it may feel like one partner is dominating while the other is passively submitting their will. What is important is setting the right boundaries and creating the conditions for assertive communication, which promotes mutual respect and understanding. As Zahava Starak explains: 'what is realistic is to strive for a relationship in which you and your partner feel comfortable standing up for your rights and expressing your beliefs; a relationship in which you have confidence in making reasonable requests and in refusing unacceptable ones; and a partnership in which there is mutual respect as part of the package that goes with love. What we are talking about is a relationship in which both partners are free to assert themselves.' (Z. Starak, 2010)
Arguments themselves can be a healthy and essential part of any relationship. It encourages mutual growth, change and even revitalises a relationship and promotes better understanding. Anger that is directed without awareness however, is very destructive. This can lead to abuse and breakdown in trust. Couples Counselling, EnduringMind, can help couples to understand the boundaries and ‘rules of engagement’. The causes of relationship problems:
• There may be a lack of willingness to compromise or negotiate
• A feeling that one partner has all the control and power
• Physical or mental illness can be a burden for both partners
• The birth of a child can leave one partner feeling abandoned
• An affair can leave a partner feeling betrayed and rejected
• In-laws and relatives can lead to family disputes
• Alcohol, drug or gambling addictions can lead to a loss of trust
• An unexpected life crisis, bereavement or change in circumstances
If conflict remains unresolved and ongoing this can lead to unhappiness. The wellbeing of couples can be deeply affected. It may feel like each partner in the couple is repeating patterns of conflict in order to take revenge. It may also be tempting to imagine that our partner can make-up for earlier pain in a previous relationship, but this hope leads to further disappointment. People sometimes believe they have been rescued by their partner, but that has come at the cost of freedom as one of them becomes more controlling. The boundaries become merged and need to be re-established without fear of loss or harm. The pleasure and intimacy in any relationship is in wanting to be with someone rather than feeling needy or dependent. True intimacy is as much about feeling independent and separate, as it is about being together. This is why self-respect and indivudal identity are important aspects of a healthy relationship. If they are absent you may want to consider relationship counselling to address them. How couples counselling can help:
• Couples can learn easier ways of conflict management
• Destructive patterns of relating can be identified
• Communication skills can be developed and improved
• Empathy and intimacy is encouraged
• The impact of change and loss is explored
• Abuse and domestic violence is acknowledged
For most of us, sex can be a source of pleasure and bonding in a relationship. However, any problems with sexuality can leave one partner feeling abandoned, rejected or angry. Loss of sexual desire is an early sign that there are unresolved issues between couples. Sexual problems can be a sign of unfinished business in a relationship or past traumas. Childhood sexual abuse, for example, can have a deeply negative impact on an otherwise happy relationship. Other sexual problems may have a physical or medical cause, but can often be addressed with a couples counsellor. Communicating and staying connected during a life crisis can sometimes feel like an impossible obstacle. When couples are no longer able to communicate or their relationship is in crisis – mistrust and anger can surface. This may lead to a betrayal or affair as the relationship begins to breakdown, and one or both partners ‘act out’. However, skills are available to help you listen and be heard, to develop empathy and understanding, particularly when unbearable things need to be heard or acknowledged. As Dr. Sue Johnson (2008) claims couples need to be emotionally focussed on the mutual needs and benefits of the relationship, without go so far as sacrificing their individual self-needs.
If couples seek help they may discover a new depth of understanding and renewed love, or couples may feel they must separate or divorce in as constructive a way as possible. If couples come to explore counselling for separation and divorce, it can help to see whether trust the relationship can be repaired. Otherwise, it may help couples to split with more understanding and less hostility. I believe it is important to find a counsellor with the right skills to help mediate and provide a safe place for exploring these issues. If I have covered any issues you wish to explore then arrange an appointment with me at Couples Counselling Whitton. Please see my articles on couples counselling at Counselling Directory.
At Couples Counselling Twickenham, EnduringMind, (£65) I focus on relationship counselling to help couples recover from a crisis or breakdown in communication. This includes learning to express yourself and communicate more openly without resorting to conflict. Listening to your partner and healing old wounds without fear of attack or exposing your vulnerability.
I offer a solution-focussed approach which helps you regain intimacy, respect and understanding. It means taking reponsibility to change yourselves first, not each other. we all have our flaws and unconscious patterns of behaviour, which may never have been explored. Even loving, caring relationships between couples have their ups-and-downs, and sometimes underlying problems can lead to arguments or avoiding big issues.Being in denial about your problems is a common feature after long-term conflict. People can take up defensive positions, become closed and fall into repetitive patterns of conflict where no-one wins.
At this point relationships become stuck and couples find it hard to talk things through or trust each other. Where once there was love and affection, opposing interests prevent couples from finding a satisfying resolution. That’s when help from a skilled couples counsellor can make all the difference. Whether you feel things aren’t right or encounter serious difficulties, like conflict, I'm here to observe, listen and provide support, without judgement as you find a positive outcome. Whilst it is rewarding it can also be challenging, as it requires each person to take equal responsibility for change and not blame it all on the other person.
At EnduringMind, couples counselling or relationship counselling, is a form of counselling which helps you explore communication, empathy and a loss of intimacy. It used to be called marriage guidance – but also includes long-term relationships, cohabitation and civil partnerships. As a couples counsellor I have a positive view towards inclusivity and diversity in relationships. I treat the relationship, rather than the individuals, as the 'client'. Our very closest relationships rest on our ability to express intimacy and trust.
When relationships stop working due to internal or external pressures, our mental health and happiness suffers. Our sense of identity and self-worth often rests on the strength of our relationships and we can fall into despair when they fail. Often the pressures of work, family, money and health take their toll on the way couples support each, other or express themselves. Suddenly a relationship that was loving and intimate, may leave us feeling drained, fragile and disappointed. Or worse still, frightened and alone after a betrayal or conflict. So I aim to take a practical approach which addresses what Lisa Benson (2002) says: is about changing perspectives of the relationship, modifying outmoded behaviours, decreasing emotional dependency, improving communication and promoting strengths the couple already possess.
As a couples counsellor in Twickenham, my aim is to help people engage in active listening and constructive patterns of communication, as well as how to engage in more healthy conflict with each other. Conflict can be construtive and lead to necessary change, but not if it becomes overwhelming. I help people find mutually inclusive ways of supporting each other, without losing independence or making painful compromises. Exploring how you develop insight, compassion and empathy for your partner. As well as a better understanding of how they feel and think. We will look at how love and intimacy can be revitalised. And how negative patterns of attachment, learned in childhood often re-emerge in adult relationships, as we repeat patterns from our original families. I can also help couples mediate their way through separation or divorce counselling so a relationship doesn't have to end in messy disagreements, especially where children are concerned. Indications of relationship problems:
• communication breakdown
• one or both partners have betrayed each other
• sexual intimacy has come to an end or is causing problems
• arguments and conflict continue without resolution
• domestic violence erupts between partners
• physical or mental health problems recur
• the couple’s bond of trust is eroded or broken
Individuals - £45 Day / £50 Eve
Couples - £60