Relationship & Couples Counselling
"Ultimately, it is the quality of our relationships that determines the quality of our lives."
I believe that relationships with loved ones truly form the bedrock of our emotional wellbeing. When there is discord in the important relationships in our lives, significant psychological and emotional distress often results. This is why many dyads (lovers, spouses, partners, siblings or parent-child pairs) seek Relationship Therapy.
The initial process of Relationship Therapy begins with 4 sessions, as follows:
Assessment Session 1: I would like to meet with you and your therapy partner (this may be your romantic partner or adolescent, for example). Together we will discuss your initial reasons for seeking therapy; main areas of concern; expectations/fears/hesitancies regarding therapy; as well allow me a chance to explain the rules of our engagement together.
Assessment Session 2: I would like to meet with either you or your therapy partner alone. If the Relationship Therapy is between you and your adolescent, then I will ask to see your adolescent alone for this session. Allowing the adolescent the “first chance” to speak to me privately (before I meet with you, their parent, privately) often helps them to trust me a little more and not simply see me as “an adult that’s going to be on their parent’s side”.
Assessment Session 3: I would like to meet with you/your therapy partner alone.
Feedback Session 4: I meet with you and your therapy partner to give feedback on what I believe to be the main areas of concern, and I will provide some guidance as to how we might go about addressing those problems. One always hopes that part of this feedback is that there is clearly a desire from both parties to work on their mutual relationship. Occasionally I find that one party is not truly interested in making any changes to the relationship. In this case, feedback makes this clear and the suggestion is that we do not enter Relationship Therapy until such time that both parties are willing to work on their relationship together. Therapy is expensive in terms of time, energy and money, and so it is best not to enter into it without at least some willingness to be there in the first place!
It is not unusual for couples to report an improvement in their relationship simply by virtue of having gone through the entire assessment process together.
If we all agree to work together, then we will meet on a weekly basis thereafter. Relationship Therapy for partners who generally have a strong relationship, and parent-child relationship therapy, tends to be more structured than traditional individual therapy. Often all that is required is a few sessions to work through the main concerns and develop new behaviour strategies and communication techniques. Of course I will be able to give a better estimate of the expected therapy course and duration once we have completed the assessment.