I specialise in counselling couples, formally known as marriage guidance, using different models and approaches, such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, The Gottman Method, Mindfulness, Family Systems, Narrative Therapy and Gestalt counselling .

I am a fully trained marriage counsellor and can work with you both to help you resolve any issues or work on any specific difficulties within your relationship.

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A lot of couples seek counselling too late, when their issues have reached crisis point, whereas latest research shows that a couples relationship benefits most from occasional counselling ; a ‘marriage MOT’

Ben Fogle commented recently in an article published by ‘The Telegraph’

“I had always assumed counselling was something for those whose marriage was in jeopardy, not for those who have just had a ridiculous argument.”

To read the full article, click on the link below:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/goodlife/11495184/Marina-Fogle-why-my-marriage-to-Ben-needs-an-MOT.html

What to expect when you come to relationship counselling?

Couples who are having problems in their relationship may benefit from attending a counselling session that focuses entirely on their relationship.

Many couples approach their first session with trepidation and apprehension, but they quickly relax into the process and come to value the experience and the benefits.

The first session is primarily an information gathering session where I will ask you to discuss your history and your troubles.

I use a variety of modalities and techniques to help you work through your relationship problems. Techniques include: open discussions, conflict management and analysing negative patterns of behaviour

Many couples are apprehensive if they have never attended a couples counselling or relationship counselling session before. Very often, couples have questions about whether the counsellor will take sides or what they may have to reveal as part of their couples therapy.

While relationship counselling might seem rather intimidating at first, many couples find that if they attend with an open mind and a willingness to work with their partner and with the counsellor, then their relationship will benefit from at least a few sessions. In many cases, it is possible to narrow down the focus of the therapy in order to identify the primary issues which need addressing. Although every practitioner has their own unique approach to relationship and couples counselling, there are a few common elements to be found.

How do I prepare for my first session of couples counselling?

You do not need to bring anything to your first session of couples counselling, nor do you need to prepare in any formal way. Many couples like to spend some time thinking about why they are going to counselling, and what issues they might want to discuss whilst there, but this is not essential. As an experienced couple’s counsellor I will be able to ‘start the ball rolling’ by asking the right questions to get you thinking and talking about the problems you and your partner are experiencing in your relationship.

What topics are covered in the first session?

The first session is where the ground rules and boundaries for the relationship counselling are set. During this first session, you and your partner will be given the chance to ask any questions or concerns that you may have and I will cover the formalities around confidentiality, my code of ethics, cancellation agreements and a summary of my background and training.

Once this information is covered, I then generally take a brief history from you, covering the issues or problems that are bringing you to counselling, as well as a history of your relationship. I may ask questions like:-

What issues have you been experiencing in your relationship?

How long have these issues been a problem in your relationship?

Have you ever been in relationship counselling before?

What have you and your partner done to try to resolve these issues?

What are your expectations of couples counselling?

In this way, the initial session is more than anything about information–gathering, although real and meaningful issues are often discussed and worked on even at this early stage. The real work of counselling will usually start during the second session, when I have gained a clear idea of the nature of your problems, and all of the “business” has been taken care of and is clear to everyone.

How is a session conducted?

Generally speaking, both people in the relationship will attend a couples counselling session together, at least initially. This is to help establish an association that is clearly about both of you and your relationship. Some relationship counsellors and indeed some clients then find it beneficial to see the counsellor individually, in turn, before meeting up again as a couple. Some relationship counsellors will only ever see their couple’s clients when they attend together. If you are in these circumstances, but you have a particular issue that primarily affects you as an individual, such as depression or an addiction, then I might suggest you see another counsellor for individual therapy to attend to that particular issue.

Usually a session of couples counselling is a combination of several different tasks. The first task is to set you and your partner at ease and make you comfortable. Counselling or therapy is about developing trust with your counsellor or psychologist so that you feel comfortable and safe talking about issues that may be very personal and extremely difficult to discuss. As a professional and ethical counsellor I will allow both of you to tell your side of the issue when it comes to talking about the issues you and your partner are struggling with in your relationship.

I may use several different types of methods to help you and your partner in the counselling process. This may include:-

Openly discussing difficult topics,

Sharing feelings

Analysing your behavioural patterns and the ways in which you communicate

Teaching you techniques to help you improve your communication methods,

Discussing your attachment styles

Asking you about your childhood and family history or

Looking at discrepancies in your and your partner’s behaviour.

You may also be asked to undertake projects or practice tasks between sessions (like homework) in order to help with the counselling process, or you may be asked to record your feelings or arguments in a diary and be asked to report back on the experience during the next session.

How can a couple benefit from couples therapy?

Couples benefit from couples therapy in a variety of ways. Very often, the source of our problems as couples is not that we do not love and care about our partners; it is that we do not know how to communicate well about what we want and need. The benefits of couples counselling can include:

Learning better communication skills and how to really listen to our partner without jumping to conclusions or starting an argument;

Learning how to better understand the struggles, challenges and fears of our partner;

Freshening up your relationship;

Improving intimacy and cohesion within the relationship;

Learning about personal boundaries and past history that we may not have known before;

How long is a couple counselling session?

The sessions last for 60 to 90 minutes, but this can be discussed at your first assessment session.

It is most effective to keep to regular session times, once a week, or once a fortnight?

How much is each session?

The cost of sessions are £65 for 60 minutes