Marriage and Couples Counselling
Couples generally come for counselling when they feel they can’t resolve their differences themselves. Misunderstandings and resentments have hardened into permanent patterns of neglect and conflict.
I create a safe, neutral and non-judgemental space where partners can express their concerns and hear the concerns of the other.
One session is often enough to create some good will and hope in the relationship, allowing spouses to break out of negative patterns and begin acting differently with each other.
Sometimes couples are able to work through their issues with a minimum of communication coaching from me, but usually I help clients with specific communication skills:
- How to constructively express grievances about the other
- How to listen better
- How to be more accountable
- How to negotiate with each other
- How to be more (or less) assertive with each other
I also help couples to better understand the recurring patterns or “couple dances” they are locked into: When Jill does X (which John can’t stand), then John does more of Y (which Jill can’t stand). And when John does more of Y, Jill does more of X. And so on, and so on.
Part of couples work usually involves helping partners see how their behaviour and needs have roots in family-of-origin experiences. It can be very healing for a relationship when partners come to realize that their spouse acts a certain way because of what he or she went through with their parents as a child.
I encourage couples to remember the reasons why they got together in the first place. This can also be very therapeutic for the relationship.
I generally ask couples to work on making specific changes in their behaviour in between sessions. That is obviously when most of the real work is done and how good will is restored in the relationship.
Couples work is challenging and requires real commitment. But it can make all the difference in a faltering relationship.
I help couples with issues such as:
- Intimacy/Sex Issues
- Challenging Family Members
- Cultural Differences
- Blended Families
- Broken Trust
- Money Problems
- Pre-marriage Issues
- Life Transitions
- Addictions (including porn use)
I am trained in the Gottman Method Couples Therapy (The Gottman Institute, gottman.com)
I have a Certificate in the University of Guelph’s/American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists’ Couple and Family Therapy Studies program.
I have been doing marriage and couples counselling for over ten years.