Couples Counselling Twickenham
At Couples Counselling Twickenham, I focus on relationship counselling to help couples recover from a crisis, betrayal or a breakdown in communication. I offer a solution-focussed approach which helps you regain intimacy, respect and mutual understanding. But rather than trying to change your partner, it means taking responsibility for yourself. We all have individual flaws and patterns of behaviour that get in the way of good communication.
You are much more likely to make progress in counselling if you take responsibility for the changes you want to make in yourself. This includes learning how to listen and express yourself to your partner, as well as how to negotiate boundaries and deal with conflict. It also means being willing to heal old wounds and learn how to be more empathetic towards each other. Despite our fears, communicating more openly and honestly, can make room for better understanding, without fear of attack or exposing your vulnerability.
Even loving, caring relationships may have underlying issues that haven't been addressed. This can lead to a cycle of petty arguments, while you avoid tackling big issues. And being in denial about your problems is a common feature of long-term relationships. It is often a way of deflecting from problems that seem too difficult to acknowledge.
What happens in couples counselling?
This is why relationships become stuck. Couples find it hard to talk things through or trust each other. That’s when help from a skilled counsellor can make all the difference. As a counsellor, I'm here to listen and guide you through the process, without judging you. Whilst couples counselling is rewarding, it can also be challenging. For this reason, it requires each person to take responsibility for their own change and not blame it on each other.
At EnduringMind, relationship counselling, helps you to restore more honest communication, empathy and intimacy. As a counsellor I have an open mind and a positive view of diversity in relationships, whatever background you come from. I treat the relationship, rather than the individuals, as the 'client'. So whether you are married, cohabiting or in a civil partnership you can work through your issues together.
When relationships stop working as a partnership, your mental health and happiness suffers. Often the pressures of work, family, money and health can take their toll on the way couples support each. This slowly undermines a relationship that was once loving and intimate; leaving you feeling drained, fragile and disappointed. Constant arguments lead to resentment, or worse still a betrayal or being abandoned by your partner.
What are the aims of relationship counselling?
As a couples counsellor in Twickenham, I take a practical approach which addresses old patterns of behaviour, decreasing dependency and improving communication. We will look at how love and intimacy can be revitalised, by developing positive ways of interacting. I help people engage in active listening and constructive patterns of relating. It also means focussing on how couples support each other, without making painful compromises or losing their independence. For example, helping you to explore how you develop compassion and empathy for your partner; as well as a better understanding of how they feel and think.
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
This also means looking at how conflict takes root in your relationship. Noticing at how repetitive patterns of behaviour learned in childhood can re-emerge in adulthood. Alternatively, couples may want to separate or divorce in as constructive a way as possible. A first it may help to see whether trust in the relationship can be repaired. Otherwise, it may help couples to split with more understanding and less hostility. It is important to find a counsellor with the right skills to help mediate and provide a safe place for exploring these issues.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.
Why choose Couples Counselling?
Firstly, it's quite normal for relationships to suffer over time. You may find the tensions of everyday life wear you down as intimacy, care and sex begin to fade. As affection turns to complacency and resentment, this increases the likelihood of conflict. However, everyone views conflict differently, depending on your values and experiences in childhood. While one of you turns to sadness and despair, the other may see conflict as necessary way of resetting the boundaries.
Sometimes where couples have become co-dependent, they may feel insecure as separate individuals. Once this happens a person may lose their sense of identity. While one person may become clingy and needy, the other becomes controlling. It may also be tempting to believe our partner can make-up for pain in earlier relationships, but this is unrealistic. People sometimes want to be rescued by their partner, but this comes at the cost of freedom as the boundaries become merged. This is where skilled listening and negotiation, can help you build more realistic expectations. As a counsellor, my aim is to guide you towards a satisfying compromise and develop acceptance for each others differences. I am there to help you even if you want to end a relationship, so you can explore these issues in a safe, confidential way without fear of attack.
Couples seek counselling:
- there has been a betrayal of trust, an affair, or deception
- communication leads to conflict, confusion or anger
- intimacy or sexual desire is missing
- arguments and bickering go on unresolved
- one person is seeking separation or divorce
What about conflict?
Sometimes couples may believe that conflict is bad in a relationship, but it's unrealistic to expect love to endure without arguments. Everyone enters a relationship with their own set of values, morals and beliefs. Therefore both people must be able to tolerate disagreement and feel their voices are being heard. Autonomy and freedom are the cornerstones of a healthy relationship. Otherwise people feel alienated and lost.
When couples are no longer able to communicate – mistrust and anger may surface. Occasionally, it may feel like one partner is dominating the other. One person asserting their needs, while the other remains passive. What's important is setting the right boundaries, while promoting mutual respect and understanding. Arguments themselves can be a healthy part of any relationship, if it encourages growth and change. Of course, anger can be destructive and lead to violence, so I try to help couples understand the boundaries and ‘rules of engagement’.
The causes of relationship problems:
- a lack of willingness to compromise or negotiate
- the 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
- interference from family and relatives
- alcohol, drug or gambling dependency
- an unexpected life crisis
Independence in relationships
The pleasure in any relationship is in wanting to be intimate, rather than feeling needy or dependent. True intimacy is as much about being separate, as it is about being together. This is why identity and self-respect are important. If they are absent you may want to consider how couples counselling can help:
- couples can learn ways of managing conflict
- destructive patterns of relating can be identified
- communication skills can be developed and improved
- empathy and intimacy is encouraged
- exploring the impact of life changes
- abuse and domestic violence is acknowledged
What about sex?
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, or rejected. Loss of sexual desire is an early sign of unresolved issues between couples or past traumas. Childhood sexual abuse, for example, can leave deep scares on individuals, but remain unexpressed in a relationship. Other sexual problems may have a physical or medical cause, but can often be addressed with a counsellor.
If I have covered any issues you wish to explore then arrange an appointment with me at Couples Counselling Whitton. Please also read my articles on couples counselling at Counselling Directory.