Difficulties couple therapy can help with
Couple therapy enables couples to discuss and resolve problems that can cause conflict or unhappiness in relationships. These could include:
* poor communication * fertility issues
* conflicts * sexual difficulties
* arguments * differences in values
* anger * separation or divorce
* betrayal or affairs * depression
* lack of trust * anxiety
* jealousy * stress
* controlling behaviour * illness
* uncertainty about commitment * addictions
* life transitions, e.g. birth of a baby, loss
Please note, I do not work with couples where there is current domestic violence. There are other services which offer support in these circumstances, including Women's Refuge.
What to expect from the first session
The first session is an assessment session. Here you both have the opportunity to discuss the difficulties you are experiencing personally and in the relationship and start to consider what goals you would like to work on. You will be asked questions about the nature of your difficulties and other aspects of your lives and history. You may be given psychometric tests for further insight. Some people find it hard to discuss everything at a first meeting so you can set the pace.
Based on our conversation, I will outline how couple therapy could help you and suggest approximately how many sessions may be beneficial. You can decide at this point if you would like to arrange further therapy sessions or the next session can be booked at a later time.
Further individual assessment sessions
I typically offer each member of the couple a further individual assessment after the initial couple meeting. This allows further in-depth exploration of your individual history and things you are struggling with, both in the relationship and in your personal life. Often things are shared that may then be discussed together later in the safety of couple therapy. These individual sessions also help us gain a clearer understanding of the individual and relationship dynamics, guiding the focus within couple therapy.
Integrative couple therapy
In the first session after the assessment session, we together develop a formulation of the patterns of interaction between you both. We will consider the reasons these patterns have developed and the functions they serve (for example, ways they reduce distress in the short term), whilst also looking at how these patterns are problematic (for example, maintaining distance between you). You can then agree together on what changes you want to make to improve - your goals for therapy.
Over the course of therapy we may focus on exploring and learning skills in the areas below to lead to lasting change in your relationship:
* learning to accept and develop greater tolerance for differences between you, building closeness
* improving communication skills
* problem solving
* learning to care for each other more
* coping with stress
* sexual difficulties