I find my work helping couples upgrade their relationships particularly rewarding because an enhanced relationship has positive spill-over effects in many areas of a couple’s lives.
Since people benefit most from counselling or therapy when they feel safe and open-minded, my first aim when I meet a couple is to help create a secure and trusting atmosphere. Something as private and intimate as your love-relationship requires and kind and gentle helping hand.
My first task is to get a good overview of the experience that each partner has within the relationship and to hear how the needs, wishes and yearnings of each partner are either fulfilled or frustrated. Generally both partners have a sense of being somewhat shortchanged at the time when they come to therapy. As a more neutral observer with expertise in how relationships work well, I aim to guide you through the frustrations in order for you to develop a positive, workable future vision, which we immediately begin putting into place, step by step.
One of the key skills, which couples often need to cultivate, is dealing with their differences. Some differences lead to a great deal of conflict and many couples have never seen a good role model for talking about or resolving conflicts. Some couples fight with great intensity and throw all kinds of hurtful statements at one another without getting at their core issues but in the meantime they erode their trust and sense of safety within the relationship. Some other couples live in icy silence, skirting around the topics that create dissatisfaction, while the emotional distance keeps growing. The differences may appear to be about seemingly simple topics such as money or household chores before therapy reveals important emotional issues elsewhere within each individual, which they inadvertently end up not talking about or resolving. Through getting to the core needs and hurts in therapy, a couple’s relationship can be liberated so that it is possible to cultivate and take care of ways of relating to one another that are healthy for both of them in the long term.
If dealing better with conflict is one of your wishes, I aim to help you learn and adapt skills for expressing your own wishes in such a way that your partner can remain open and receptive. I use methods inspired by Marshall Rosenberg’s concept of non-violent communication.
Another common reason for a couple to seek therapy is an affair or some other form of contact outwith the relationship that leads to feelings of hurt, anger and/or jealousy. In the course of therapy our aim is to enable the wounds within the relationship to be able to heal. Usually it is important to understand the reasons why the behaviour took place. The wounded party in particular usually requires a sense of compassion from the partner whose interest strayed. And the couple needs to build a renewed relationship, which is decisively different from the original one such that trust and confidence in the future can re-emerge. I find it important to create a space that is as judgement-free as possible because reaching a mature stage within a love relationship involves cultivating respect for diverse needs and an acceptance that we are not always the best version of ourselves. I am happy to assist you in guiding you through this process, to soothe the wounds that have emerged and enable you to build a more optimistic future with one another or at least help you learn from your experience to benefit your next relationship.
My approach combines methods from behavioural therapy, systemic family and couples therapy, hypnotherapy as well as the psychology of intimacy according to David Schnarch. Interventions on an interactional level and on an individual level are weaved into my approach in order to take your dynamic and your individual needs into account, creating an atmosphere of mutual acceptance and respect.