Helping to find a way forward.
In couple counselling the relationship of the couple is the client.
When working with couples I feel it is important to know that both are committed to coming for counselling, so I ask that each partner contact me before our first session.
In the first session we will spend some time talking about you as a couple: your lifestyle, work, health and experiences etc. I will give you both an equal opportunity to share your experience of your relationship and what you see as the difficulties that have brought you to counselling. We will also discuss what you each hope to gain from the counselling sessions. I will answer any questions you might have about the counselling process and ask you both to read and sign a counselling agreement.
After the initial, joint session, it may be appropriate to have a one-to-one counselling session with each partner. This is not an opportunity for you to ‘get your side across’, but rather a chance to reflect on your attitudes and behaviours and look at how these might be affecting the relationship.
In follow-up, joint sessions I will encourage you both to ‘tell your story’ and to notice patterns of behaviour and ways of interacting that may have become unhelpful. I will sometimes ask you to do activities between sessions, together or individually, to build on the work done in counselling. I will not ‘take sides’ but rather support you both to become aware of the dynamics of the relationship, how each partner feels within it and what could be improved or changed in order to strengthen it, if that is what you both want.
My role as your counsellor is to work with you both to find ways for you to communicate in an open and honest way with each other and hopefully to find a way forward you’re both happy with.