‘Fixing’ marriage problems for a relationship in crisis does not mean ‘fixing’ either you or your partner. Couples counselling is about fixing the ‘we’, which means how you relate, first to yourself and then to each other. Communication is important and some skills can be learned, especially how to de-escalate the conflict and reduce arguments and anger. However, for real change to have any lasting impact, emotional connection is essential. Firstly, you need to understand what is going on in your brain, perhaps when you are suddenly triggered and within a split second, become enraged, lashing out in anger and sometimes abuse. You also need to understand and track the pathways of shame, fear, abandonment and guilt. Once I help you understand these triggers and where they come from, you can start to heal your marriage problems.
While the dynamics of your family of origin and early childhood attachment are significant and they do lay the foundation for how you navigate your life, the good news is that you are not doomed to a sentence determined by past experience. Your family history only reveals one perspective and often does not fully embrace the rich story of your life and your journey to the crisis of marriage problems that exist for you at this present moment. I believe we are who we are, partly due to early childhood, but also due to our genetic inheritance and the many encounters experienced in family, school, work and society as children and throughout our adult existence. Culture, gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, religion, spirituality and geography also have a profound impact on our stories.
During our work together, I’m interested in how your present inner life is driving your thoughts, feelings, and emotions. I’m curious about the story you and your partner tell about yourselves and each other and how you came to write those scripts. I’m also curious about the story others tell about you and how those scripts came to be written. Ultimately, I see my role as helping you to re-write new stories, both as individuals and as a couple, and to then learn the skills you need to make those scripts an enduring reality, both now and into the future.
I have two goals in our work together. The first is to realise your own best hopes, as individuals and as a couple, both for counselling and for your future lives. That may be to reduce the conflict of your current marriage problems or to increase intimacy, or it may be to recover from infidelity or help you decide if you even wish to remain together as a couple. These are very significant stories and I can help you resolve the challenges that each of them present. However, my second goal is to make myself redundant as quickly as possible. I believe that therapy for marriage problems should be brief and effective, so you are quickly empowered with the skills, emotions and wisdom you need to make lasting change and become well prepared to navigate any future storms.
Working with me you will both learn how to get in touch with your core selves….your values, your virtues and all that is noble and good about you and your relationship. You will also learn how to connect with your inner lives and fill them with love, joy and intimacy. You will each learn how to understand your feelings as guides into your deepest core and how to protect your higher self from the destructive emotions of anger, blame, fear, loss, despair and irrational guilt or obligation. Ultimately you will each discover how to strengthen your connection to your core or higher self and keep negative forces under control.
Life is too short to be lonely and disconnected, especially in your relationship. You may decide that you want to end your marriage and move on or you may decide to commit to making it work. I can help you reach that decision, but whatever direction you choose, it’s time to put your marriage problems front and centre. This is your time…take the next step and don’t regret wasting more years being unhappy. Let’s get started on improving your relationship and your life!