Couple Therapy

If you'd like to talk with your partner about how you can improve your current relationship or manage a separation, you may find couple coaching helpful.

Relationships are often seen as the foundation of humanity. If there’s conflict or discord or continuing frustration, relationship difficulties can be a major source of stress. That’s when many people turn to couple therapy. The disruption and emotional pain of relationship problems can be very difficult to bear.

You’re welcome whether you are married or in a civil partnership, living together, divorced or separated, and whatever your sexual orientation or identity. I respect differences of culture, ethnicity, gender and sexual orientation. I am experienced in working with same-sex couples as well as male/female couples or other forms of relationship.

It can be easy to blame the other person and focus on the problems. Yet each person in a couple will be contributing to the relationship dynamics, either actively or passively. Each partner will inevitably have their foibles or deficits.

But the key thing is that fulfilling couple relationships are enabled by an honest relationship with yourself as a start point. This helps build a secure sense of personal identity alongside the values and vision within the couple.

Imago therapy

My approach to couple coaching is based on the Imago model, which focuses on building connection through communication. This involves coaching for improved conversation skills so that each of you feels more favourably inclined towards understanding each other’s needs, so you can overcome any blocks or tensions towards a more fulfilling and enjoyable relationship.

There are several Imago tools and techniques which we can use to support you:
* Imago dialogue – conscious communication for understanding and connection;
* Imago relationship vision – bringing your ideal relationship into reality;
* Personal imago template – looking at your expectations and patterns together;
* Appreciations – seeing the good in each other;
* Behaviour change request – asking for what you truly want.

The principles of Imago include:
* being clear about your own needs and expectations;
* recognising that your partner is a different person!
* managing your reactivity to create an atmosphere of emotionally safety;
* zero negativity by eliminating blame, shame, criticism, and judgement.

What does couple coaching entail?

Couple coaching can help you take time to see your relationship from a fresh perspective. You can discuss your feelings, values and expectations, and your therapist may work with you on how to communicate more clearly. You and your partner have an opportunity to explore with your therapist your roles, desires and behaviour, to think about what you want from your relationship and what you can do to change your situation for the better. It also gives you the space to explore, in confidence, complex or difficult issues, including areas of less obvious tension or conflict and your sexual relationship.

Often relationship therapy explores the dynamics between you and your partner and how your interactions can be improved, sometimes by focusing on your communication skills. You may be carrying expectations and ideals about what you want from your relationship; you may be burdened by past hurts, the impact of infidelity or cheating or porn. Therapy can help understand the baggage you may be carrying, as a result of being hurt or misunderstood. On a more positive note, therapy can serve to acknowledge what you appreciate about your partner.

I have been trained in a range of approaches for working with relationships. I usually lead with the Imago model. After listening carefully, I tend to recommend that we follow a short programme that I have devised, which brings together the best of approaches such as resetting the relationship vision, understanding sources of conflict, ways of building intimacy, differentiating yet maintaining togetherness.as

What if sex is the problem?

As a psychosexual therapist accredited by COSRT, I know how important sex can be as part of a relationship. But sex can also be affected by all sorts of issues such as cheating, porn, mind and body difficulties with sexual functioning, often as a result of traumatic or unwanted sexual experiences in the past. It’s also quite common for couples to develop different levels of interest or arousal regarding sex.

You can be assured of my sensitivity to these types of issues, as well as the positive reassurance that there are tried and tested ways of addressing sexual problems. I can provide guidance on things to practice in your own time at home, which can greatly improve the situation.

Staying together or separating?

Couple counselling can help you decide if you wish to maintain your relationship. However, if you decide to separate, these sessions can support you in managing an ending in a mature  and pragmatic way. If appropriate, I can recommend several solicitors and mediators whose expertise may be beneficial to you. This is often applicable in cases of separation or divorce, financial settlements, or child custody and access.

If you are interested in talking to me about working together, then please do get in touch.

We can have a brief chat on the phone to discuss your interest in starting counselling or in the equine-facilitated approach, with a view to arranging an initial appointment for you.