I offer counselling for people with relationship issues – both individually and with both of the couple in the room. This type of work is fundamentally about improving communication. I have 5 years experience of working with multiple clients, whether this takes the form of husband and wife, people early in their relationship or even with different generations e.g. mother and daughter. I have experience of working with couples who are straight, gay, black, white, asian, mixed. I have experience of working with issues within the counselling ranging from anger management, infidelity & sexual difficulties through to violence, trauma and children & wider family.
My role is to help those present to understand what they really feel & think and then to help them to express this in addition to attempting to see the world as the other party does. So often the issue is that something is unsaid or unacknowledged or one half simply cannot see that the meaning something has for them is not the meaning it has for the other. My role is not that of a judge, if I'm taking sides I'm always going to be missing at least some of the whole truth. Rather it is to help both truths to be expressed and understood and to help with contextualising what's happening or provide alternative perspectives on behaviours, feelings or beliefs.
I have never worked with a couple where there hasn't been at least one significant thing that they were just not getting about the other – and once they realise that what seems so unreasonable (for example constant 'nagging') has it's roots in something they themselves desire or can relate to (such as wanting to feel safe and loved) conflict cannot happen in the same way. Counselling can then help with these needs being communicated and received in a more constructive and less provocative manner.
So whether the issue is boredom, constant bickering, full-blown screaming arguments or increasing distance and less engagement – counselling can help in it's utilising of the care implicit in seeking help to try and build bridges of understanding. Just like in individual therapy openness and honesty are vital – and when we're getting near to that which is vulnerable and difficult we're also usually getting close to that which is where most transformation can occur.
What often happens is that we try to avoid this through ignoring, denying or rationalising it – or simply attempting to distract ourselves or our partner. There comes a point where this 'solution' becomes worse than the original problem and it's here where starting to explore what's really going on can seem a positive idea – and once it's faced it's surprising how even long-standing problems can melt in the presence of genuine appreciation and understanding.