It is almost impossible for couple and family relationships not to go through periods of upheaval.
Life events: redundancy, illness, bereavement; or those supposedly positive events like a new job or birth of a baby can all put stress on a relationship.
Working through these events is an inevitable and natural process that helps strengthen our relationships. But only when the stress related to these events does not outweigh our ability to cope with them.
When that happens the outcome can be very different.
Overwhelmed by circumstances our instinct can be to withdraw or fall back on coping mechanisms; alcohol, food, spending or sex.
We may feel trapped, bored. Walking on eggshells, scared to put a foot wrong, or say a word out of place.
Inevitably relationships, become strained.
No matter how much friends and relatives may want to help it can be difficult to remain impartial. Finding support from natural allies no matter how well meaning, can often exacerbate the situation.
This is where a good couples counsellor’s can be a relationship lifesaver.
How we work
The primary focus is resolving current difficulties and developing the relationship and communication skills to work through future challenges in a different way.
The process starts by identifying the couple's "presenting" problems as well as the couples story – how they met and how the relationship has progressed.
We also look at the couple’s joint family tree and important life events such as the death of a parent, divorces.
We look at similarities and differences in the couple’s family history.
We are looking to understand the relationship patterns and communication skills that each party learnt and how they are applying them in their current relationship.
As the weekly sessions progress we look at issues that are arising and look to develop the relationship skills that will help the couple to resolve these together.
After six to twelve weeks, couples usually discover that they can continue this work on their own.
During the process we may identify specific areas that one or both parties would find useful to focus on - together or individually - and help facilitate the process of working through these specific areas.