Counselling Conversations
...turning things around

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0131 225 4596

Why Couples Counselling?

When our relationships break down, staying connected becomes difficult; it becomes hard to see or listen to the person we love, particularly, if what is being said seems unbearable. Yet it may be necessary, to bring the unbearable out into the open, in order for a couple to be able to move on and find a future together, rekindling their love or, as sometimes happens, separating peacefully.

This can feel easier and safer to do in a neutral space, with a trained counsellor present, than it might feel at home. The counsellor can help both partners develop the skills they need to listen to each other and communicate what they each want to say. With good will, friendship and commitment on both sides, even the most broken relationships can be repaired, with a new relationship developing that is deeper and possibly more meaningful than before.

The Right Time for Couples Counselling

Couples often delay seeking help until their relationship is engulfed in a crisis, by which time trust may have been shattered by an event such as an affair, the discovery of a secret or one partner declaring that they want the relationship to end. While couples counselling can help at these times, it can help avoid such crises, when couples are just stuck, and are beginning to be unable to resolve difficulties for themselves.

Signs of A Relationship in Difficulty

• Inability to negotiate a common future

• You and your partner no longer communicate

• Arguments continually re-occur without resolution

• You or your partner no longer trust each other

• Sex has stopped or is causing problems

• Separation or divorce seem like the only option

Common Causes of Difficulty in Relationships

• External pressures, such as work or the other person’s family

• A breach of trust, such as an affair, a secret life

• Disagreements about money

• Different attitudes to sex, pornography

• Destructive patterns of behaviour by one or both parties

• Drug or alcohol misuse

• Debt

• The birth of a child

• Children leaving home

• Long-term illness

• Life changes

• Infidelity

• Violence

The Counselling We Offer – Gottman Method Couples Therapy

Counselling Conversations offers Gottman Method Couples Therapy developed by Drs. John and Julie Gottman. This is a science-based and effective therapy that has identified the principles that successful couples use to have lasting, healthy and fulfilling relationships. It is fundamentally educational in its approach to helping couples become better friends, manage conflict constructively and to support each other in their dreams for the future.

The Benefits of Gottman Method Couples Therapy

Helps identify and eliminate destructive conflict between a couple

Teaches couples how to handle their conflict constructively

Promotes friendship between a couple

Encourages partners to be appreciative of each other

Encourages partners to be supportive of each other

Teaches people how to create a meaningful life together.

Provides a safe space away from family and friends to sort out your relationship

Overview of Gottman Method Couples Therapy

Assessment

One of the distinctive features of Gottman Method Couples Therapy is its comprehensive assessment and planning phase. This involves three sessions.  In the first, the couple are interviewed about their joint history. Starting with, questions such as how they met? What they liked about each other? Why they decided to get together? With their permission, and to help with identifying destructive patterns of conflict, they will also be filmed having an argument together. Finally, each partner will be given a detailed set of questionnaires to complete for the second session where they will meet individually with the therapist for forty-five minutes. In these individual interviews they will be asked about their individual hopes, concerns and past history. Between this interview and the third session the therapist will review the interviews, film and questionnaires to present the couple with an overall picture of their relationship, to help them see where things have gone wrong and to suggest a plan for counselling to help them. This is discussed with the couple and, once they are happy with the plan, counselling can begin.

The Counselling

This proceeds on a number of different levels based on the Gottman’s Sound Relationship House Model and is tailored to each couple’s needs. It will usually include work on helping couples to understand each other better and to express their appreciation for each other, so that they learn to trust each other again and turn towards each other, helping the relationship to improve. Also included for most couples will be work on how to manage conflict constructively.

It is worth remembering that arguments and conflict occur in all relationships. They do not need to be destructive however. With good will, trust and a readiness to listen to the other, they can be healthy and bring a sense of being alive to a relationship. In the long run, trying to avoid them is unhelpful, as it tends to lead to indirect anger, bickering and festering problems that threaten to re-emerge later.

Gottman Method Couples Therapy helps by:

1. Teaching couples how to identify and then minimize destructive patterns of conflict.

2. Teaching couples how to raise issues, which need to be raised, in ways that are safe and allow each person’s side of the conflict to be heard, before searching for a mutually satisfying resolution.

As a couple learns to turn towards each other and to manage conflict constructively, they will be encouraged to build a life together based on their shared meanings and understanding of what is important to them in life. Finally, a couple will be taught techniques and strategies for maintaining the gains of couple therapy, to protect their relationship from future difficulties and ensure that their love, support and appreciation of each other continues to grow.

Tips for Successful Couples Counselling

• Both parties need to be committed to the process. Couples therapists are not magicians who can fix or rescue relationships. A partner who is reluctant to attend or who is not prepared to be clear that they want the relationship to end, will often sabotage any chance of progress.

• It is good to choose the counsellor together, so you both are clear about your commitment.

• Don’t be disappointed if your counsellor fails to take your side and point out all your partner’s failures. It is not their job and it would destroy any chance of success. The counsellor is there to be neutral and non-judgmental, to help you sort out your problems together.

• Remember, in couples counselling it is patterns of relating that are the problem, not you and not your partner.

• Remember, seeking couples counselling together is not a sign of failure; it is a sign of commitment to the love that brought you together in the first place. A commitment to learning how to communicate in ways that enrich each other and that lead to long-term satisfying relationships.

Costs and Duration

• Counselling Conversations for Couples cost £85*.

• Counselling Conversations last for an hour and a half unless otherwise agreed.

*The full fee will be payable unless 48 hours notice of cancellation is given. This may be waived at the discretion of Counselling Conversations.

 

 

Love is an act of endless forgiveness, a tender look which becomes a habit."

Peter Ustinov, English actor & author (1921 - 2004)

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