Why might I consider couple therapy?
Couple therapy is often sought at times of crisis and despair but may be helpful at all stages of a relationship where adjustments need to take place. Taking some time to think about your relationship is a step that may lead to a happier and more positive solution to your difficulties.
There are many reasons why the balance and harmony of a relationship may be disturbed; illness, power struggles, stress reactions to life events such as pregnancy and childbirth or redundancy can all present significant strains. Other challenges like jealously and sexual difficulties may also hinder an otherwise successful partnership.
Some of the common reasons for seeking relationship help include:
Sense of something missing/lost in the relationship
Lack of communication with partner
Escalating arguments/ circular arguments, distressing patterns of conflict
Loss of intimacy and sexual desire
Impact of professional life on the relationship
Parenting issues, dealing with toddlers or teenagers
Adapting to becoming parents
Impact of post-natal depression on the relationship
Feeling badly treated by partner
Repeating destructive relationship patterns
Divorce and separation
Coping with a break up
When would couple therapy be helpful?
If you have been finding your relationship a struggle lately your first instinct might be to try to ignore it and hope for the best. However in my experience, an honest, mutual dialogue with the help of an expert couple therapist early on can reap enormous benefits for a relationship and often very quickly. A lot of couples find that when they are under stress, the usual strategies they used to use to resolve things go out the window or are no longer as effective.
Even if your relationship issues are long-standing, couple therapy can assist by helping you to identify the roots of your difficulties and help bring clarity to facilitate positive change. Couples find they experience an improvement in communication and empathy, resulting in a more satisfying relationship.
How do I work?
I work in a collaborative way with the aim of creating a safe and supporting space to explore a couple’s difficulties in a non-judgemental and unbiased way.
When working with couples my focus is not on placing the blame or responsibility on either individual, but on carefully exploring the interaction between the two people – their communication, behavioural and emotional patterns. I believe that couples work is very powerful and can help the couple gain a deeper and sometimes quite new understanding of both themselves and their relationships, often opening up a way for couples to free themselves from destructive patterns and establish new and positive ways of relating and communicating.
Although my couple therapy approach is integrative and tailored to your needs, I often work from a psychodynamic perspective as it is particularly effective at addressing repeated patterns of unhelpful behaviour and of understanding the underlying dynamics operating in our closest relationships. By helping uncover our coping behaviours and strategies it can be hugely effective in helping people to make sense of their emotions, their current difficulties, their own past and their relationships both with others and with themselves.
Who is couple therapy for?
Relationships come in many forms and anyone may benefit from thinking about their relationship and how it might be improved. Therapy will be helpful to married couples and co-habiting partners, single sex partnerships and any individuals who are struggling with a relationship or are recovering from a break-up.
At London Couple Therapy, couple therapy sessions are offered to everyone regardless of whether you are in a long-term or a short-term relationship, your sex, gender, sexual orientation, religion or background. You can attend the sessions on your own or with your partner.
Is couple therapy useful for separating couples?
Yes. Couple therapy is of enormous benefit to separating and divorcing couples offering the opportunity to air some of the difficult and complex feelings that arise at this time in a safe and controlled setting, with the aim of making parting as constructive as possible for all parties. This is particularly important when there are children involved.
You might also find couple therapy beneficial if you want to deal with the ending of a relationship.
Can I attend on my own?
Yes you can, very often just taking responsibility for your half of the issue can help you take control and break the deadlock. What's more, by changing your behaviour you will be changing the dynamic in your relationship. Instead of living with the current downward spiral – where one nasty action sparks another – you can set up a positive circle (where one kind action sparks another). In other words, you might start working on your relationship on your own but more often than not, your partner will notice the difference and become more open to change.
How many sessions will we need?
At our first meeting we will focus on the problems that are currently causing the most concern and explore with you the ways in which I might be able to help you.
I generally offer an open-ended arrangement (meaning you can have as many sessions as you need), but occasionally a fixed number of sessions are agreed to do some short-term focused therapy for specific problems. Mostly however, the therapy lasts for as long as the couple feel they want and need it. The ending of the therapy is usually discussed and planned well in advance.