Couple Counselling in Rushden, Milton Keynes and Canterbury
• Intimate Couple Counselling • Parent and Child Counselling • Counselling Children •
People often perceive and talk of their relationships as if it is a place, thing or a person. A relationship is none of these and as such one cannot return to a relationship or hold onto it or any such notions that relate to objects and places. A relationship is a created experience, generally, a co-created experience between two people and as such exists for as long as the people concerned relate to each other.
Although many relationships, especially intimate relationships between couples, feel as though they are fixed or stuck, they are not. What is actually stuck are the people involved in the creation of the relationship. Each day, couples tend to recreate their relationship in almost the same way they did the previous day, with little to no variation and thus they develop a sense that the relationship has a permanent existence of its own separate from the individuals concerned, rather than it being attached to relational habits of its daily creators.
Also, it is not uncommon for couples to experience inequality in their relationships where one feels that the other has more influence over how the relationship and their lives together are created and evolve. Thus one feels disenfranchised, victimised or powerless with respect to the other and that, in many ways, the relationship and their life is not theirs and belongs to the other. Often, both people within the relationship, from different view points and for different reasons, can feel this same sense of disempowerment and then, blame and resentment ensues.
The most important thing in anyone's life is the quality of the relationships they are able to create, both with others and themselves and this subsequently determines the quality of their personal and professional lives. However, generally, people are not taught how to create healthy and sustainable relationships and instead learn from friends and family, and trial and error, and thus most people find themselves living their lives with a wake of broken and damaged relationships trailing behind them.
Couple Counselling attempts to offer the individuals within a relationship, be it an intimate couple; parent and child; siblings; professional partnership; friendship or another form of relationship, the opportunity to examine the dynamics within the relationship in order to improve relating and help the individuals co-create a healthier and more dynamic relationship for all concerned.
Couple Counselling is one of our core services and is available in all of our counselling offices which service • Higham Ferrers • Rushden • Wellingborough • Northampton • Bedford • Kettering • St Neots • Irthlingborough • Newport Pagnell servicing • Milton Keynes • Northampton • Bedford • Olney • Daventry • Stanwick • Canterbury town centre • Whitstable • Herne Bay • Margate • Ramsgate • Faversham •
Around 50% of all marriages fail and end in divorce and that does not include the number of 'committed unmarried couples' who cohabit or have children or those in unhappy situations where the relationship fail but the unhappy couple remain together because of financial reasons, religious or cultural beliefs or for the children. Given this, the real number is more likely to be in the 80% range with the financial and relational destruction damaging people's lives, especially children, for years after.
The ability to communicate effectively is a skill as is the ability to create a healthy happy relationship. Since most people are not taught communication or relational skills, it is therefore of no surprise that most people have significant issues in their relationships and limp from relationship to relationship recreating the same issues time and time again. Most people create a variation of their parent's relationship and tend to re-experience the issues they experienced during their childhoods.
Intimate couple counselling is the most common form of couple counselling and dedicated to helping intimate couples in partnerships and marriages create healthier, happier, fulfilling and sustainable relationships. All our therapists are themselves experienced in creating and maintaining healthy relationships and in fact live examined lives where they constantly work to improve their relational skills. As such they are able to assist you in achieving the type of relationship that will enhance your life.
Couples Drifting Apart
The way we live today can have a massive negative impact on our personal relationships. Work and family commitments are a huge drain on time and energy and what is left is often squandered on trivia rather that put to good use maintaining our most precious relationships. The creation and maintenance of healthy and fulfilling relationships requires time, effort, dedication, persistence, consistency and skill. While worthwhile and important, people often lose sight of what is significant in their lives until it is seemingly too late.
The "Grey Divorce Rate" is one example of couples drifting apart. It is the rate of divorce and separation amongst middle aged couples who have been in long term relationships. Often, after many years of marriage, a couple may divorce because they realise that without their children or work to focus on, that they have nothing between them. Often communication has been low or routine for years. Physical closeness - intimacy - has been lost and sexual contact is either non existent, at an all time low or mechanical and routine. Eventually there is effectively no real relating between them.
Couple counselling can be very effective in such situations. Counselling can help couples reignite their relationships and breathe new life into them. Counselling can improve communication and expressive skills, help find, maintain and add to common ground and improve intimacy and sexual relations. Couple counselling has great potential for help and support.
Regardless of the gender makeup of your relationship, (mixed gender or same gender), there are always going to be communication issues. Given different upbringings, experiences, genders, races, belief systems, desires, needs, sensitivities, skill sets, and much more besides, two people will, in many aspects, perceive and respond to the world and each other differently. There is no 'standard', or right or wrong perspective. Life and relationships are experienced individually by the individual. And thus communication is always going to be fraught with difficulty because one person may apply a meaning and significance to something that the other applies a completely different meaning and significance.
Effective communication is a skill that can be taught and always improved upon. Good counsellors are consummate communicators and therefore can help you improve your understanding of yourself and others and improve your ability to help others understand you. Good communication is key to a healthy relationship.
Violence and Abuse
Domestic Violence and Abuse are illegal and are not to be tolerated within a relationship. There are no excuses. An individual is responsible for their own actions regardless of the provocation of others. Before any form of couple counselling may take place, an individual who has committed violent or abusive acts must successfully complete a course of Anger Management therapy with an experienced anger management therapist. (Please see our Anger Management pages). This is something that at Tonic Counselling advise and may insist upon.
Also, if the violence and or abuse has been sustained, there may be a need for the other partner to seek individual counselling with respect to possible co-dependency issues, self-worth issues and trauma.
Once violence and abuse has been removed from the equation, Couple Counselling can, where required, help a couple begin afresh and discover a new healthier way of relating.
Aggression is a destructive form of expression within relationships which always needs to be addressed. From subtle passive aggression to overt bullying, it appears that many relationships have some form of aggression in them. It is however, possible and preferable to create healthy happy relationships in which both parties feel that they can freely express and be heard without the need to resort to aggression. All our therapists are able to help individuals work with anger management issues and improve expressive and communication skills and overcome the causes behind anger.
Control and Manipulation
Between couples, control and manipulation are particularly pervasive and destructive characteristics of relating which are extremely common. Society has a tendency to focus on more overt behaviours like aggression and let these slip through the net. However, in its extreme form, the individual being controlled and manipulated can feel crushed by their partner to such an extent that they loose all identity and motivation. Life with a controlling individual can be soul destroying. Again, our counsellors and psychotherapists are able to help resolve both sides of a controlling relationship and help both parties relate in a happier and more fulfilling way.
Addictive behaviours within relationship tend to take one of two formats. The first is one of separation, where the addict operates in secret. The second is where the addiction is integrated as part of the relationship. In these cases the addiction can be a shared form of relating or where one partner either enables or collaborates with the other for whatever psychological currency or benefit they may get. Notwithstanding this, either separate or integrated, addictions of any for are generally held to be unhealthy and ultimately damaging to relationships. An addiction can be considered to be any behaviour that you feel compelled to do or cannot easily stop as an act of will power. Counselling and psychotherapy can be very effective in resolving addictive behaviours.
Infidelity and Betrayal
Sadly infidelity is commonplace within relationships and it is very difficult to sustain a relationship thereafter without significant help. A counsellor may be able to help resolve the cause behind the infidelity and also help the couple recover from it.
Separation and Divorce
Many relationships end in separation and or divorce. Counselling offers both parties the opportunity to come to terms with the demise of the relationship and work amicably through a financial settlement and child care arrangements without resorting to adversarial court cases. Counselling can also help children work through the issues associated separated or divorced parents.
Familial Couples and Couple Counselling
Parent and Child
Often within the home there is an obvious and visible relationship issue between parent and child. Children in distress may lash out aggressively at their parents either verbally or physically or both, misbehave in extreme ways or become withdrawn. Parent Child Counselling offers the opportunity for both a parent and child to take express to each other their feelings and needs so that a more healthily expressive relationship can be created where both parties know their roles and obligations. A relationship in which the child can feel safe and supported and the parent can feel success as a parent.
Both Carlos and Suzanne worked for the NHS as counsellors for children and while child counselling is a perfectly valid form of counselling, we recommend that the parental and familial relationships and situation be examined before a child is committed to counselling. Parents are often too quick to seek resolution to an issue with their children and label as problematic when in fact the child is merely responding normally to a difficult home situation or a difficulty in their relationship with one or both of their parents.
Also to be considered is the fact that the counsellor will endeavour to create a healthy relationship with the child and while this relationship is beneficial, the child will always be better served by improving the relationship with their parents. As a route, helping parents resolve their own children's issues within the familial home is, given a willing and motivated parent, often a quicker and healthier resolution to the issues with the long term benefit of a happier home life for the child.
Professional Partnerships and Couple Counselling
A professional partnership is not unlike an intimate couple relationship in as much as the parties concerned need to have good communication skills and boundaries, respect and value for themselves and the others concerned and in addition, work towards a common goal. When professional and business partnerships break down this can lead to financial difficulties or ruin and personal stress that can have a negative impact on home lives such that personal relationships can be damaged or ruined.
Couple's counselling within a business context can help business and professional partners resolve differences, improve communication, set effective boundaries and generally improve the functioning of the inter and intra personal relationships.
Tonic Counselling has a great history of helping corporate and business clients resolve inter personnel issues.