Couples and Relationship Counselling

What are the Main Causes of Conflict with Couples?

Couples and Relationship CounsellingCommunication gaps and misunderstandings are the biggest cause of unhappiness and building resentment in relationships.You think you are doing ok, until the misunderstandings begin to build, or until you hit a crisis. Then all the issues you have never really cleared or resolve start to rise to the surface. Every interaction becomes an argument or disagreement, even if it is not meant to be.

Each person will have different reactions - you may shut down and avoid the other person, or you may become more frustrated and increasingly vocal to try to get through to the other person, ending up shouting and saying things you cannot take back.

You probably do a bit of both at different times.

Move on, forget the past!" is a common request (command!) made after difficulties. But this is, without question, easier said than done. Especially if you do not have the skills to resolve conflict and arrive at a deeper understanding.

Unresolved Issues can Accumulate

Often what is not resolved can end up accumulating and building up.So when there is conflict, you are not only fighting about the current issue, but a lot of the unresolved past issues as well. Quite a burden to carry!

Communication Technique

Most couples will learn a basic communication technique, where the focus is on how we communicate, and how we listen. So easy in theory, but more challenging when our past emotions and issues surface.

Exploring Patterns

We explore over time what patterns of relating and communications have developed over time. Some helpful and some destructive. Understanding means we can start to make small changes where appropriate.

Understanding The Parenting Role

Most relationships start to take strain with the arrival of the first baby. We look at some of this history, and if appropriate explore how baby brought stresses into the relationship. And how this can be managed. Or how it affected the parental and family relationship over time.

Understanding Blended Families

Step parenting and merging families bring their own set of challenges (as if parenting your own children is not challenging enough!). How to build up the 2 merging families is explored; what each child brings, what each parent brings, discipline issues, communication issues...

Divorce and Separation

So prevalent in our time. We look at the effects on the family, children and extended family, and explore how this can be managed effectively, with the minimum of conflict where possible.

The Challenges

The biggest challenge I find is that couples leave counselling for too long. Couples keep putting it off to a later time, as it feels sometimes "easier" just to carry on and avoid the real issues - especially if you do not know how to handle things constructively or to find solutions. You keep on getting stuck in the same old patterns.You may hold a fear of what may emerge once counselling starts; that you may be blamed and accused of being wrong or at fault, or that counselling can make things worse.

Focus On Understanding

Couples and Relationship UnderstandingMy sessions focus on understanding how you get into these cycles of conflict and misunderstanding, and once you start to see these cycles so much begins to make sense. Often anger and frustration can dissolve over time, to be replaced with better communications and more tolerance and acceptance.The Process of Couple / Martial Counselling

  • In the first session of couple counselling, we explore the reasons why each person has come to the first session.
  • We then explore what each person would like to get out of the sessions. This may differ, and it is important that each person has a chance to express him/herself.
  • We look at some general history, such as how long the couple has been together, and what major influences have occurred in the past few years, if there are children, their ages, and some other issues depending on the couple and what is happening.
  • I then describe what couple counselling can look like, how I work, some of the things we can do, some of the things we cannot do... so that each person can feel more comfortable in their expectations. The focus is practical and realistic.
  • We then take it from there and together explore what is the next step