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Couples therapy

What sorts of relationship problems warrant Couples Therapy?

Many couples hit a rough patch, when neither of them is getting what they need from the relationship and problems arise. Any number of things can cause this, such as sexual problems, negative emotional states (e.g. depression, anxiety, shame or guilt), unhelpful behaviours (e.g. avoidance, addictions, infidelity), uncertainty about commitment, starting a family or fertility issues, financial problems, work stress or redundancy, when a child is born or leaves home, or a bereavement. However, it is often the couple’s responses to these triggers and their communication styles that can cause further difficulties.

When couples find themselves stuck in a vicious cycle of arguments, where the same grievances are met by the same rebuttals, when blame, resentment and frustration starts to occur, seeking help from an impartial professional can prevent a lot of heartache, before difficult issues get out of hand.

What is involved in Couples Therapy?

The early sessions are exploratory. Initially, we will identify a list of your problem(s) that you want to address. Alongside this, we will develop realistic goals you would like to achieve; these are flexible and reviewed regularly. We will look at each partner’s thoughts and beliefs, childhood, and attachment styles to understand the link to your behaviours towards each other.  This helps to conceptualise how your relationship difficulties have developed and what is maintaining those difficulties.

Your therapist will then move onto teaching communication skills that we use as a framework to work through each issue you have brought to therapy. At this point the sessions will become more practical.

Therapy can help a couple to: step back from their difficulties and consider alternative and healthier ways to deal with their problems; relieve stress and improve communication difficulties; manage feelings and conflicts; solve problems, make decisions together and promote acceptance. You will learn strategies to: regulate emotional experience and expression; address your physical relationship, revise perceptions and increase caring behaviours and support. 


Marriage preparation sessions

Marriage preparation sessions are designed for engaged couples, couples that would like to explore the idea of getting married, and couples where one or both partners have been married previously and are wishing to build a strong and lasting relationship. Taking time to invest in a relationship’s future enables a couple to move into marriage with their eyes wide open. It allows them to ask the hard questions before tying the knot. Exploring issues both in the present and anticipating those that might arise in the future can be important as couples begin their lives together. The sessions will involve exploring and learning the following:

  • Communication – expressing feelings and learning to listen.

  • Problem solving and decision making as a couple.

  • Making each other feel loved.

  • Resolving conflict

  • Having a fulfilling sexual relationship

  • Understanding and appreciating your differences

  • Spending time together

  • Recognising the influence of your family background

  • Discussing expectations and future goals e.g. children and parenting

  • Roles within the relationship

  • Having compatible lifestyles

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