Relationship counselling and couple Therapy
You may be considering couple counselling if you or your partner are concerned about:
- How frequent or intense arguments are getting
- Communication difficulties
- Managing strong emotions
- Increasing feelings of disconnection and lack of intimacy
- Feeling dissatisfied with your sexual connection
- Issues of power and control
- Damaged trust and betrayal
- Adapting to life transitions like having children, teens and launching young adults
- Increasing conflict over parenting, money, extended family or work
If you found a lump, would you get it checked out quickly or let it go? If you let it go for 6 yrs you may be in some serious trouble.... as with couples having difficulties in their relationship, many "wait an average of six years of being unhappy with their relationship before getting help," says John Gottman, Emeritus Professor of Psychology and renowned relationship expert. The longer relationship difficulties continue, the harder it is to change entrenched patterns.
Relationship distress and conflict can seriously impact your health and those you love, and is found to be strongly associated with individual depression, addiction, anxiety, social impairment, poor health and depressed immune function. It can also seriously affect how you parent, putting children at risk of depression, substance abuse and behavioural problems.
Couple therapy is most successful when both partners seek help earlier in their relationship when they first notice difficulties, are committed to change and attend sessions together. However, sometimes one of the partners may refuse to attend. Despite this, change in the relationship is possible if the more motivated partner is committed to examine their own needs, expectations and behaviour.
Sometimes couples attend therapy when one or both partners have decided to separate. Therapy can help to contain strong emotion and assist both partners to make important decisions and sorting through the issues involved in separation. Despite separation being a stressful time for a family, research reassures us that it doesn't have to negatively affect children. In saying that, children whose parents continue their conflict well after separating have very poor developmental outcomes.
As part of my Masters degree in Couple and Family Therapy, and my additional training in couple therapy, the approaches I draw on in my work with couples are systemic, emotionally focussed, psychodynamic, experiential, process oriented, differentiation based approach of Murray Bowen, David Schnarch and Harriet Lerner, Gottman's approach and that of Harville Hendrix. I often speak with couples about their shared values, intimacy and spiritual dimensions of their sexual relationship and draw on Tantra teachings and contemporary sex therapy approaches. I also consider socio-cultural factors that influence couples like, gender roles and stereotypes, inequality, power and cultural narratives and conventions like marriage and how individuals adapt to these structures.
Much of life's greatest joy and sorrow is experienced in our closest relationships. Relationship and family therapy could be your greatest investment for the future of your own wellbeing and that of the ones you love most. If you are considering relationship counselling it is important to find a therapist you resonate with and who has specific training and experience, because the skills required to work with more than one person in the room is very different to individual counselling. Susan Johnson, professor of psychology and co developer of Emotionally Focussed Couples Therapy advises that "Couples therapy can do more harm than good when the therapist doesn't know how to help a couple."
After many years of experience and specialised training working with couples and families, I can help you develop profoundly satisfying intimacy with yourself and your partner, and the capacity to interrupt and change unhelpful communication and behaviour patterns in the moment.
If this feels like what you want or need please contact me and I can help you decide what service may best suit your situation.
Steve Marriott provides counselling and psychotherapy services to individuals, couples, families, children and adolescents who live in the Northern Rivers of NSW, or online.