"If you start to feel that you have given up too many parts of yourself to be with your partner, then one day you will end up looking for another person in order to reconnect with those lost parts"
~ Ester Perel
Having a disagreement with your significant other is common, but if you are always walking on egg shells around your partner – it may be time to think about Couples Therapy. Currently, the world is experiencing a huge transformation in the wake of the Covid -19 pandemic, which has created a great deal of uncertainty and change for all of us. At its core, it can raise deeper concerns and anxieties about stability and longer term financial security, concerns about health and protecting our loved ones, as well as impacting our most intimate relationships. Added to this, we seem to be moving into a 'new normal' where staying socially distant is 'desired' and inevitable in contrast to contact and connection generally. Such change can certainly bring added pressure to a relationship already experiencing issues in negotiating differences and/or communicating effectively, and this can exacerbate difficulties further.
Whatever your concerns as a couple, there is nothing wrong or any shame in wanting to seek out help to improve your relationship. This is a sign that you recognise and care enough about your partner to be pro-active in trying to fix what is happening. Talk to your partner about your feelings and why you want to start therapy. You might have heard the statistic that over half of marriages end in divorce – however, there is the help to assist you in a successful, meaningful marriage or partnership.
Couples Therapy can help you communicate more effectively
Sometimes relationship issues include continued arguments and bickering without a resolution in sight due to a complete breakdown in communication. Perhaps trust has diminished or has been broken through betrayal (affairs, lies or secrets) or maybe a partner is struggling with depression, tension or other health problems which have contributed and exacerbated the issues in the relationship. Learning and developing the art of communication is a fundamental part of couples therapy and a way forward in beginning to unknot, understand and repair the existing issues. However, couples therapy does require a level of commitment - time and effort from both partners and an acceptance that sometimes it can be a challenging process.
We offer an integrated approach to couples therapy which allows flexibility to work with couples specific needs and with varying levels of complex relational issues. The approach is informed by humanistic and relational theories and perspectives including techniques and skills from the Encountered-centered Couples Therapy Model developed and presented by Hedy Schleifer.
A Collaborative Process and an enpowering opportunity to transform your Relationship
Many people have a conscious list of what they are looking for in a spouse or partner e.g. tall, handsome, ambitious, responsible etc. However, it may be that all of us have an unconscious list - one that is outside of our awareness. We look for someone who has parts of us that we have not developed (or been allowed to express). Our unconscious looks for love that feels familiar enough. It may not be an exact replica of mom and dad, but it is close enough; someone who for example can be fun, but is also just a little emotionally unavailable. Love that might be strong, but also a little critical.
Sessions are usually weekly and can be between one and two hours in duration. This is negotiated, agreed and reviewed by 'us' throughout the therapeutic work and is also dependent on your needs as a couple and availability. I am often able to offer a degree of flexibility for working couples by offering early morning and late evening appointments. If you would like to know more about whether couples therapy is the next step for your relationship, then please do not hesitate to contact me to discuss your needs or to book an initial session.
"As 'Bridge Builders' our task, now more then ever, is to support each other in shaping a world where the relational space is safe and sacred, where we honor the 'Other,' and where together we create the conditions for the Encounter." ~ Hedy Schleifer