Better Your Relationships
- Create a vision of the life you both want.
- Change negative repetitive patterns of behaviour.
- Develop new, direct, empathic ways of interacting.
- Become aware of historically unmet needs that you may be trying to fulfill within your current relationship.
- Work as a team.
- Build a secure emotional connection with your partner.
- Married or common law, the issues tend to be the same.
- Married couples often have years of deeply rooted problems and issues that repeat, especially when one or the other is struggling with stress and difficult life situations. It is never too late to ask for help.
- In marriage counselling, I will help you find solutions to better your relationship and create a deeper love that is irreplaceable, intimate and caring.
In Healthy Relationships
- You share your dreams.
- You talk together about what is important to each of you, even if you disagree.
- You hear each other out without feeling threatened.
- You affirm each other’s right to be different and still be together.
- You appreciate how your differences contribute to the richness of your relationship.
What to Expect From Couple’s Therapy:
Couples are often uncertain about what to expect from the process of couple’s therapy. They are not sure what to expect of the therapist or whether the therapist has any expectations of them. Here is an outline for our first sessions:
- You will attend your first session together. The purpose of this session is for me to become familiar with your patterns of interactions. I want to know what works and what doesn’t. I want to find out where you are stuck and help you understand what is required to establish a successful relationship.
- Next, I will see you each for an individual session. In these sessions I will get to know you individually, including your background and family history. I will help you become aware of how your adaptations and coping strategies from the past are influencing your responses to stress in your current relationship.
- After the individual sessions, I will see you as a couple again. We will discuss and suggest a plan of action. Some of the topics to discuss include:
• What kind of life do you want together?
• What kind of partner do you wish to be in order to build the life and relationship you want?
• What is preventing you from becoming the kind of partner you want to be?
My approach to doing couples therapy as doing a mixture of individual and couple’s sessions depending on what is required and your motivation and desire for change.
Sometimes individual work is required before continuing with couples’ sessions.
I will coach you to communicate effectively and give you exercises to do at home. Individually I will help you grow to be the partner you want to be.
I do not keep any secrets between couples when working individually. In my mind I am working with both of you even when seeing you individually.
Note: If there is ongoing physical abuse or a drug / alcohol problem, I will not see you as a couple. I recommend individual therapy with another therapist to overcome these issues first. If you have control over these issues and are already seeing an individual therapist, I will continue couples’ therapy with discretion.
How to Get the Most Out of Couples Therapy
Focus on Changing Yourself Rather than Your Partner
- You can’t change your partner. Your partner can’t change you. You can influence each other, but that doesn’t mean you can change each other. Becoming a more effective partner is the most efficient way to change a relationship.
- You can learn a lot about yourself by understanding what annoys you and how you handle it.
- The more you believe your partner should be different, the less initiative you will take to change the patterns between you.
The Importance of Communication
- The three most important qualities for effective communication are respect, openness and ability to listen without judgement.
- A couple’s vision emerges from a process of reflection and inquiry. It requires both people to speak from the heart about what really matters to each.
- We are all responsible for how we express ourselves, no matter how others treat us.
Effective communication means you need to pay attention to:
- Your management of unruly emotions, such as intense anger.
- How you are communicating. Effectively? Clear? Honestly and truthfully? Blaming? Whining? Critically? Expressing feelings? Ae you owning your reactions?
- The outcome you want from the discussion and to verbalize what you want effectively.
- You partner’s major concerns and to take them seriously.
- What you can change about yourself to help your partner become more responsive to you.
Some ineffective things we do in relationships:
- Blaming or attempting to dominate
- Disengaging / withdrawing
- Resentfully complying
- Denying or confusing the issue
These are normal emotional reactions to threat or high stress. Improving your relationship means better management of these reactions. When you manage your reactions there is potential for establishing a fulfilling relationship.
Relationships improve when you work together as a team and you both have motivation, desire and intention. Together Each Accomplishes More!
The Couples Developmental Approach:
The Bader-Pearson developmental model integrates attachment theory, differentiation, and neuroscience.
The four stages of
- The Honeymoon
- Emerging Differences
- Together as Two
Conflict is inevitable, especially during the Emerging Differences stage. Avoidance and hostility cycles do not work. Instead, learning skills to tolerate normal anxiety and to be there for one another is essential for a long lasting relationship.
“I would say that differentiation is the fuel that allows normal couples to attain exceptional or uncommon results and helps them become increasingly committed to one another and over time to recognize that their love is irreplaceable.” (Ellyn Bader, 2009)
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