How do Couples become disconnected from each other?
Being in Relationships is the most difficult thing you will ever do and its the thing we have the least training in. So the gap between expections (fairy tales and Hollywood) and Reality (Work, effort, struggle, ups and downs, good and bad) is huge.
I appreciate that talking about your Relationship with someone you don’t yet know is hard and that you might not both want to be there. I follow the Emotionally Focussed Model of Couples Counselling. (EFT)
You may want help separating or overcoming a shock to your relationship or more commonly there is something wrong and you aren’t 100% sure what it is and what to do about it. My approach is that together we work to enable you to reconnect (this is even more important in separation scenarios with children where communication needs actually increase post separation) .
A key part of this process is understanding “The Cycle” or “Pattern” or “Dance” that is co-created by you both. “The Cycle” is the default/habitual pattern the relationship/both of you fall into when under pressure (when your connection to each other is under threat). “The Cycle” is your joint enemy, not your partner.
EFT is a semi structured model that includes reference to 1) our early attachments, 2) to how (sometimes unconscious) feelings drive behaviour, 3) has the idea of a withdrawer and pursuer (both are different ways of safeguarding the relationship) and is 4) more of a “Bottom Up” type of approach including the body (where feelings are as important as thoughts)
In order to do this we need to consider the following in your Relationship
- How you process and understand emotion individually and together (Do you purposely validate or accidentally invalidate feelings in the other?)
- How you interact with each other (Finding a balance between emotion/feelings and logic/thoughts)
- Patterns you are aware of and patterns you may not be aware of (eg How do you handle the balance of personal responsibility? How is Power & Control functioning in your Relationship?)
- Why these patterns make sense/are helpful and also how these patterns could be unhelpful/don’t make sense (I need to move away to look after myself but I realise that means we can’t solve something if i’m not there)
- How you Communicate (eg Use of words like ‘you’ , ‘never’ & ‘always’)
- How you understand and handle vulnerability. (Vulnerability is taking a risk to say how you really feel and what you really think, particularly if you are unsure and things are messy in a particular moment)
- How you and your parents interacted and what conscious and unconscious messages you picked up as a result of this (eg We didn’t talk about feelings. Or If I spoke my truth I got into trouble so I learnt not to)
So during a First Session we can talk about your expectations, a bit more about how I work, and practical issues, like time, cost and regularity. We can discuss if having a session each on your own would be of benefit.
After a few sessions we would then discuss your experience so far and your expectations going forwards. Six sessions onwards is a good idea to get an idea how things really work and what the next steps would need to be for your Relationship
Relationship counselling doesn’t just need to be for gay or hetero couples in romantic relationship who are experiencing issues. It can be for any two adults eg mother and daughter or father and son or siblings or for work colleagues. It can also be for couples wanting help to separate in the best way possible for the sake of themselves and/or their children. Or for new couples who want to do preventative/understanding type of work