Relationship and Couples Counselling Important Lessons Learnt.
I am very happy to introduce our newest website www.lovingcouples.com.au which is focused on ways to improve your relationship, including intimacy levels, friendship and romance. We follow the Gottman Method to Relationship or Couples Counselling, which is evidence based, practical and easy to implement.
Through years of working as a psychologist and from personal experience, I have learnt many lessons for myself. Here are just a few of them:
- Sometimes it can be too late. Sometimes we seek help but the relationship no longer has a pulse. We didn’t pay attention when it was dying – perhaps we had other priorities, or distractions or simply were too hurt or too stubborn to do anything – and didn’t realise the relationship was fatally injured.
- The joyous arrival of a baby negatively impacts on our relationship. Often when babies come along and our resources are stretched, we become so tired that we don’t have enough time for ourselves and for each other. The best approach to planning a family is to make sure that you have a good foundation before you have babies. Feel confident that you manage your conflicts well, have strong friendships and a good support network around you. I know that many people don’t have the luxury of supportive family and friends close by, especially if they live overseas, but as much as you can, be creative in organising a support network. Connect with other young families, and seek out child care services that offer support – even hourly childcare can make a difference. Au pairs and nannies, of course, can be a great help if you have access to their services.
- Pregnancy changes can impact on your relationship. Well, I already mentioned babies, so it is only fair to mention pregnancies and their physical and emotional impact. When you decide to have a baby you might be surprised by some emotional changes and the increased demands on your body. For women, I recommend seeking help if they have noticed that they are particularly sensitive, their arguments have increased and overall their mood worsens. For loving partners, I recommend trying not to judge and to support your partner in getting the right help. Don’t ignore these symptoms, or say that “it is normal – just hormones”. Get help promptly, as often the perinatal anxiety and depression persist after the baby is born.
- You can work through your challenges. I have learnt that more often than not a couple can overcome different life challenges if both partners want to make it work. From betrayals, affairs, mental illness, grief and loss to bankruptcy, it is possible to find a way to work on creating a stronger relationship.
- Focus on your relationship. You need to focus on yourself rather than comparing yourself to other couples. First of all, you never really know what is happening in someone else’s marriage. Focus on you and what makes both of you happy. Decide what is important for you and go for it, don’t worry about judgement or criticism from others, they have their relationships to worry about.
Maybe counselling and therapy are not for everyone. Our services are not for people who want therapy to be sold to them, or who want a therapist to convince them that it will definitely work. There are no guarantees. However, if you change your behaviour, if you are willing to learn, then you are more likely to succeed. If you just want your partner to change then a positive outcome is less likely.
I do believe that couples or relationship counselling can help us to move away from perpetual issues, learn how to manage conflict without leaving each other with deep-cut wounds, enhance our friendship and create another more positive way of relating to each other.
Share your thoughts with us. How was your experience of relationship counselling? Have you found something else that helped you to improve your relationship?