Couples 

Magic WheelHaving a fulfilling relationship is central to our wellbeing as emotional creatures and a core part of our lives. Becoming a couple is easy; keeping love and trust alive over months and years is, for most people, much more challenging. Very commonly, couples experience conflict during times of change or crisis – such as moving in together, financial pressures, illness, having a child or children leaving home, a career change, or dealing with the aftermath of an affair. All these pressures can take a toll, and at such times, one or both of you is under strain. The relationship that was once so central and recharged us leaves us feeling confused, drained and hurt. 

Each partner may view this differently, depending on their resilience, attitude to conflict and importantly, their experience of family life – including childhood experiences from the family of origin. One partner may feel less affected or view the level of conflict as a temporary blip, or as an inevitable consequence of a long-term relationship. The other partner is more deeply affected.

Patterns of behaving that we learned as children often re-emerged and are played out in our adult relationships. This is especially true of a long-term relationship when excitement and romance have subsided and/or the relationship comes under duress.

Admitting that your relationship is causing you pain, resentment and anger, or that your expectations of the relationship are not being met, is a difficult but essential first step.

Coming to relationship counselling takes courage, but it is also an opportunity to rekindle trust and learn again how to really hear each other. Whatever your decision – to stay together or to separate – counselling provides emotional space in which to review your relationship and process painful emotions, especially anger, grief and loss of trust. It also provides safe space in which to explore fresh or more creative ways of relating to each other that are based on better communication and mutual respect.

Common couple issues

  • Communication is poor or has broken down
  • Arguments are becoming frequent, repeat themselves (like a 'cracked record') or continue without getting resolved
  • Your trust in each other is fraying or has broken down
  • Sex or intimacy is infrequent, causing problems or has ended
  • Violence or abuse (including verbal, physical, sexual or psychological) is breaking out
  • One or both people are experiencing low mood, depression, anxiety or other health problems.

When is the right time for couple counselling?

  • There has been an affair or some other breach of trust including disclosure of a family secretor debt
  • Talking isn't getting you anywhere, perhaps leading to arguments or confusion
  • Desire has gone, intimacy is difficult or sex is no fun
  • Arguments go on and on
  • Separation or divorce seem increasingly likely.

Help with other kinds of relationships

 Relationship problems can occur between any two people when there is a clash of beliefs or values, or when trust has broken down. 

All relationships need solid foundations. Two people in conflict with 'unfinished business'  such as unresolved conflict  are only rarely able to stay in relationship. 

As well as couples, I also work with:

  • Parents and children  for example, a mother and daughter experiencing relationship difficulties
  • Siblings in conflict, perhaps after a major family upset such as a parent remarrying or a bereavement
  • Business partners, who may have worked together successfully, but are now experiencing communication problems or can't agree on business decisions.
It takes courage for both people to make sense of the situation and to work towards understanding and reconciliation. Communicating and staying connected during this difficult time can feel too difficult. 
A significant part of relationship counselling involves helping both people express frustrations and unmet needs. 
An even greater part is the opportunity both people to be heard, get help with managing difficult feelings or conflicting beliefs, and learn new skills in communicating.

How relationship counselling can help

  • Review and replace what have been negative, stale or destructive patterns of relating 
  • Understand and put into context the effects of change, stress and loss
  • Learn more positive and helpful ways of communicating. This is valuable even if couples decide to separate. If you are a couple with children, you will still need to communicate with your ex-partner and your wider family
  • Rebuild trust and learn new relationship skills
  • Put an end to 'avoiding' strategies (such as over-work or affairs) or abuse.
Whatever your reason for coming to counselling, you will find better ways to manage your relationship, and deal with problems, more constructively.

  

 

Margaret Meyer

 

My offer to you is a complete, safe, and supported experience that integrates the practical, emotional and spiritual aspects of your life. I work with a relational Gestalt approach, which is based on the relationship between the client and the counsellor. I have no stake in your decisions or fixed opinions on how you should lead your life. My role is to support you and your emotional and mental processes, remaining open, non-judgmental and genuine at all times.

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