Couples Counselling

in Bagshot, Surrey and Surbiton

We all know that sometimes romantic relationships can be hard work. Like cars, they require regular maintenance to keep them running well. If there is a problem, it’s best to have it repaired right away to avoid further complications down the road.

Often we can do some of the basic maintenance and repairs ourselves. Other times, despite our best efforts, we need to rely on a professional to take a look and give us a hand.

It is interesting how easily and quickly we take such steps to repair or prevent damage to our vehicles. But when it comes to our relationships, we often avoid taking action until the situation has become much more serious.

Unfortunately, many couples try couples therapy when a significant amount of damage has already been done.

Research indicates that the average couple is unhappy for SIX YEARS before seeking couples counselling.Misconceptions about what couples therapy is and its purpose can also prevent couples from seeking help early on. Some might think couples therapy is only meant for very serious issues affecting a relationship, including infidelity or addiction.

Others may view it as a last-ditch effort before making the decision to end the relationship.  Some think of it as a way to force their partner to change because they are “the problem.” Many people are not aware of the benefits of couples therapy in treating a wide variety of relational issues. They don’t know how instrumental it can be at improving overall relationship satisfaction that affects individual mental health.

What Is Couples Therapy?

Couples therapy is a type of psychotherapy in which a therapist with clinical experience working with couples, helps two people involved in a romantic relationship gain insight into their relationship, resolve conflict and improve relationship satisfaction utilising a variety of therapeutic interventions. Although the practice of couples therapy may vary depending on the therapist’s theoretical orientation, all couples therapy tends to involve the following general elements:

  1. A focus on a specific problem (i.e. sexual difficulties, Internet addiction, jealousy)

  2. Active participation on the part of the therapist in treating the relationship itself, rather than each individual separately.

  3. Solution-focused, change-oriented interventions early on in treatment.

  4. A clear establishment of treatment objectives.

Couples therapy will usually begin with some standard interview questions regarding the history of the relationship as well as some exploration into each partner’s family-of-origin, values and cultural background. The therapist might use the initial sessions for crisis intervention if necessary.

The couples therapist will then assist the couple in identifying the issue that will be the focus of treatment, establishing treatment goals and planning a structure for treatment.

During the treatment phase, the therapist will help the couple gain insight into the relational dynamics maintaining the problem, while helping both partners understand each of their roles in the dysfunctional interactions. This will help them change the way they perceive the relationship and each other.

Although gaining insight is important, another crucial aspect of couples therapy involves actually changing behaviours and ways of interacting with each other. Most couples can come away from couples therapy having gained insight into relational patterns, increased emotional expression and developed the skills necessary to communicate and problem-solve with their partners more effectively.  

I’m Ready Who Is It For?

Couples therapy is beneficial for any kind of relationship, whether partners are straight, gay, mixed-race, young, old, dating, engaged or married. For example, a recently engaged couple might find premarital counselling an invaluable opportunity to address relationship expectations prior to getting married. Another couple, together 25 years, might discover couples therapy is an effective way for them to regain a sense of excitement and romance in their relationship.

Couples therapy can resolve a current problem, prevent an exacerbation of problems or simply provide a “check-up” for a happy couple that is experiencing a period of transition or increased stress. Common areas of concern addressed in couples therapy include issues with money, parenting, sex, infidelity, in-laws, chronic health issues, infertility, gambling, substance use, emotional distance and frequent conflict.

How I can help

A romantic relationship is one of the closest forms of relationship that we may have.  However, very few relationships exist conflict free.  It is during these times that an experienced couples counsellor can help to facilitate change and bring about a resolution.

The overall aim of couples counselling is to help you look at the following:

  • Be able to communicate in a more constructive way.
  • Understand how arguments can escalate.
  • Negotiate and resolve conflicts.
  • Understand how external factors such as family values, religion, lifestyle and culture can impact on your relationship.
  • Reflect on the past and how it can operate in the present.

If you are concerned about your relationship or would like to maintain a healthy relationship and address any concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me and I will be happy to talk through your issues in more detail.

BACP Member

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