Couples Counselling

Relationships are both wonderful and challenging. They can be loving and supportive institutions yet can become toxic with hard feelings and negative thoughts.

Couples Counselling is about trying things out at home and then reflecting on them to share back in the safe therapy space. It is about making space to be heard and reflect. It can be frustratingly slow but gives time to really learn about yourselves and what you really need and want from a relationship that makes you both feel good.

Couples Counselling makes you stronger, not just in the relationship but also as an individual. Relationships are about relating to yourself and the other. A healthy relationship with the self naturally grows and evolves into healthy relationships with other people. In the same way challenges in a relationship can also be an indication that there is a challenge in how you relate to yourself as an individual because sometimes you have to consider whether what you are pointing at in the other person is not also within you, either reflected or inverted.

There may also be other causes or contributions to relationship difficulties that may require reflection:

  • Grief, bereavement, loss
  • Difficulties with parents or children
  • Work and / or financial stress
  • Moving
  • Physical illness
  • Mental health issues

How Do I Help You as a Therapist?

I am a facilitator and can share new ways of understanding and looking at self and relationship. I am not there to tell you what to do, give you a magic script or a what-to-do list of things you can start using. I help by helping you explore, be heard and listened to as well as listen to each other. It is about getting to know the real person that you are and who your partner is, the one who lives behind what you project onto them. Sometimes we no longer know the person we are living with. So we have to see the process as a new process of getting to know the real person behind the projections we had of them. This takes time but is the most rewarding part of a deeper more real and more loving relationship.

Sometimes it is about trying to get to know the person they really are and who they really have been all along. We all project our own ideal person onto people outside of us. And we all project an ideal projection of ourselves towards others and the world that may or may not be really true. In couples counselling we explore those masks and projections so we can really understand the other as well as ourselves. Couples Counselling is a real experience but can be difficult and uncomfortable and is why you have to make time and space to talk about some of the ideas and tasks we introduce in the therapy sessions at home.

Couples Counselling offers new ways of looking at things, at yourself and each other.

Here are some of the obstacles on the path of resolution that can help you approach Couples Counselling in a more positive and constructive light:

  1. The couple thinks the therapist will ‘fix’ the relationship.
  2. One or both partners have a hidden agenda or have a conflicting agenda.
  3. One of the partners think they have no responsibility in the conflict or struggle.
  4. The blame projection is too powerful from one or both sides.
  5. Trauma responses are too powerful – fight or flight, freeze or fawn.
  6. When one partner wants to rescue or fix the other.
  7. When one partner has not consented to couples counselling.
  8. When individual counselling may be more appropriate than couples counselling.

If we turn these obstacles into opportunities for growth we have something much moer positive and exciting to work with:

  1. The therapist creates a space of dialogue and communication for you both to be heard and to share your thoughts and feelings.
  2. Both partners begin to see their self-defeating and maladaptive behaviours – reactions, actions, defence mechanisms, fogged-up reactions, agendas, self-preservation, trauma responses (fight, flight, freeze, fawn) in their interactions with each other. They take ownership of them and begin to control them and substitute them for healthy adaptive and positive ways of reacting and sharing with their partner.
  3. Both partners acknowledge their responsibility in the relationship and how they might consciously or subconsciously sabotage a healthy way of relating.
  4. Blame is held back and both partners acknowledge there are conscious and subconscious actions and reactions at play and they need to made more conscious so change can be identified.
  5. Trauma responses are natural but can be maladaptive and applied in situations where there is actually little or no threat at all. Trauma responses like fight, flight, freeze and fawn may actually be misapplied subconsciously. By talking about them they can be made known and therefore controlled and adapted.
  6. The therapist and the partners all acknowledge that no one can save, rescue or fix anyone else. Only we can fix our own individual issues and that is our own sole responsibility.
  7. Consent to couple counselling by all parties must be clearly acknowledged and respected. There must be equal desire to address a relationship’s needs.
  8. If certain issues like grief, bereavement, depression, anxiety, anger, addictions, mental health diagnoses, past trauma, sexual dysfunction, unresolved issues from the past related to an individuals life then there may be a need to seek support for that issue in individual counselling.

These 8 components of couples counselling help establish a foundation for meaningful and successful therapy to take place.

If you would like to have a FREE consultation online either via Skype or Zoom or other platform email or call below.

Alternatively the three of us can have an in-person meeting in Stockbridge but this will have the usual fee of £60.

Contact me with no obligation for your consultation:

01794 278372

© Martin Handy 2022