Moving Towards Each Other with Couples Counselling
If you are looking for help with your relationship, you are probably struggling with one of the following:
- Constant arguing and hurtful exchanges that are hard to control
- You don’t seem to make progress on the same issues
- Communicate in ways that make it harder to understand each other
- You have lost a closeness and connection
- Loss of trust from betrayal
- Discussions that degenerate into proving who is right or wrong
- Lack of intimacy and poor sex life
- Thinking about ending the relationship or fear your partner will leave
I am sure you didn’t start your relationship with arguing, blaming, emotional distance, and betrayal. You more than likely, started out with lots of playfulness, hope, excitement and loving feelings.
So why did things change?
There seems to be a time in all relationships where challenges arise. It is particularly apparent as you notice differences and things about each other that you don’t like. As this happens it creates a psychological space between you that can feel very threatening and bring up anxiety.
How you deal with this transition effects whether you begin to break the original emotional bond or strengthen it. The inherent challenges that come at every stage of your relationship can also be a place that you begin to retreat from each other.
At Turning Point we are guided by the Developmental Couples Counselling developed by Ellyn Bader and Peter Pearson. This approach views relationships as developing through stages and that a healthy relationship is built on a foundation of Differentiation.
To find out more about Stages in a relationship.
“Because we understand how nerve racking this can be, and that successful therapy depends on finding the right fit”.
“Let there be spaces in your togetherness, And let the winds of the heavens dance between you. Love one another but make not a bond of love: Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls… Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping. For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts. And stand together, yet not too near together: For the pillars of the temple stand apart, And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.”
Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet
How do you break the emotional bond?
As things become challenging, partners develop dynamics and behaviours to attempt to pull each other back into more ‘togetherness’, rather than developing mature intimacy. You might do this by one of the following ways.
- Defensiveness – anger and self-righteousness.
- Saying hurtful things – becoming critical and attacking.
- Shutting down – keeping things to yourself, especially hurts, resentments and desires.
- Withholding attention, responses, and feeling punishing towards your partner.
- Avoiding conflict and uncomfortable subjects, and maintaining agreement and compliance.
‘These behaviours develop as a way of dealing with the anxiety that arises as you experience disappointments and misunderstandings between you. As these behaviours become habits it is less likely your relationship will mature.’
You may have noticed a few patterns
The most common pattern in relationships is the pursue/withdraw dynamic. One of you may typically attempt to get your needs met through demands, criticism and wanting to know what is going on (pursuing). Then again, one of you may try to cope with conflict by shutting down, becoming distracted, taking space, and withdrawing. Each ‘role’ in the dynamic triggers your partner’s behaviour. The more the pursuer pushes, the more the other withdraws.
Let’s work together to get your relationship where you want it to be.
At Turning Point we have many years experience in working with couples, and strive to create a space where you both feel safe and supported.
In Couples Counselling we focus on;
- Creating a space to hear both sides of the problem and explore your experience
- Create opportunities for you to practice new communication skills
- Help you share vulnerable feelings and experiences with each other
- Identify relationship dynamics and explore your ways of relating
- Provide instruction to slow down and change your reactions to each other
- Provide structure and boundaries to lessen escalation of arguments
- Find the ways you already have of connecting and strengthen them
“For years I experienced overwhelming fears that prevented me from making any kind of commitment to my girlfriend. I felt absolutely stuck, continuously getting closer and further apart, closer and further apart…and I felt frustrated…so I decided to get the help of a counselor. Delyse helped me through individual counseling and helped me and my partner in counseling sessions as a couple. With Delyse’s help, I was able to make great progress in discovering and experiencing the root cause of my fears and to eventually dissolve my fears to the point where I was able to make the commitment I actually wanted. My girlfriend also discovered fears of her own and was then able to address them! We are now married and truly enjoy a deeper level of intimacy and honesty. We are also new parents to a brand new baby boy! I highly recommend Delyse as a counselor who has the experience, insight, and approach to help with the problems of an individual or couple.”