COUPLES COUNSELLING

Do you have concerns about your marriage or long-term relationship? Have you noticed that you and your partner are spending your evenings on separate I-Pads and slowly growing apart? Or that you argue more frequently than you used to? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions then couples counselling may be just the boost that your relationship needs. At TG Psychology we have helped many couples to reconnect with each other and rediscover the passion and intimacy they once had. And we’re confident we can help you too!

Are You Having Relationship Difficulties?

There are a number of signs to look for. These include:

  • Either you, or your partner, (or both!) are feeling dissatisfied with the relationship. You may even feel like there is no hope for future improvements.
  • You no longer feel any love, affection or respect for your partner.
  • You find yourself regularly criticising your partner, or being criticised by them.
  • You have frequent arguments over the same issues, which never seem to be resolved. And your disagreements escalate to screaming matches, or even violence, more quickly than they used to.
  • You spend little of your leisure time together and seem to be living separate, disconnected lives.
  • There is very little, or no physical intimacy between yourself and your partner.
  • Either you or your partner are having an affair, or breaking trust in other ways. Such as engaging with someone else inappropriately online or by text.

Healthy Relationships Are Good For Our Well-Being

As human beings we are hard-wired to seek and maintain long-term relationships. Happy, well functioning relationships provide us with emotional support and contribute to our personal well-being and quality of life. It should be no surprise then, that when our relationships become disconnected, or even hostile, it can have a significant impact on our self-esteem. We can be left feeling unhappy, confused, lonely, anxious, angry, and a range of other overwhelming feelings.

Relationships Can Be Hard Work!

Of course all couples face difficulties from time to time. Conflict is a completely normal part of all close relationships; after all, it is unrealistic to expect that two individuals will agree on everything!

In our experience, one of the most important factors determining relationship satisfaction is the way partners treat each other while they are in conflict. When both partners are able to talk through their disagreements in a calm and  respectful manner, acknowledging each other’s opinion, then conflict can lead to relationship growth and improved connectivity. However if conflict regularly escalates to verbal or even physical abuse; or is avoided altogether, we find that it is much more likely to lead to resentment and relationship dissatisfaction.

Anything Can Start A Fight

While it’s true that some couples can argue over everything and anything, in our experience some of the most common areas of conflict include:

  • How much time to spend together as a couple.
  • Parenting
  • How to manage money.
  • How evenly household responsibilities are allocated.
  • Trust
  • Different sexual and intimacy needs
  • Loyalties to extended family or in-laws

We also find that couples are considerably more vulnerable to conflict when they are coping with the stress that a major life transition can bring. Such transitions can include: the birth of a child, recently diagnosed illness, loss of a loved one, starting a new job, retirement or loss of employment, moving house, and many others.

How We Can Help

At TG Psychology we will provide you with a safe, supportive and nonjudgmental environment, in which you and your partner can begin the process of communicating your relationship needs to each other. We will ask you both to describe the kind of relationship you would like to have together, the kind of partner you would like to be, and the skills that you will need to build that relationship. We will listen to both you and your partner, without taking sides or making judgements.

After this initial assessment process, we will suggest some strategies to help you and your partner to move towards your ideal relationship. While every relationship is unique, we have noticed that there are some common skills that we teach many couples. These include: communication skills like active listening, asking for things in gentle, respectful ways and conflict resolution; as well as learning how to manage emotions, particularly anger, in more helpful ways. We also find that many couples benefit from strategies to help them to re-experience the affection and emotional connection that characterises the early days of most relationships.

While we will focus on developing new skills for relating with each other in the future, we sometimes need to take some time to process resentments from the past. There may also be times when we need to identify behaviours that are unhelpful to your relationship. We always do this in a sensitive manner, and at a time that we feel is appropriate. Some examples of behaviours that we have found to be unhelpful in relationships include: physical and emotional abuse, and regular threats to leave the relationship.

Couples Counselling Can’t Repair All Unhappy Relationships

Unfortunately couples counselling will not be able to repair all unhappy partnerships. In some cases your partner’s willingness and commitment to rebuilding the relationship may differ from your own and in these circumstances we can provide you with additional assistance to help you through the process of accepting, and adjusting to this outcome.

How To Book

To book an appointment for couples counselling, please give TG Psychology a call today, on Ph 02 8089 2665 and take the first step towards rediscovering the love and passion in your relationship.