It is common for couples to experience difficulties at some point in the relationship. The nature of the couple relationship can be impacted on by many stressors such as parenting, financial strain, unemployment, illness, grief, work related stress and extended family. Couples have to adjust to many life changes during the course of their relationship which may result in conflict and dissatisfaction. Some of the most common relationship problems include:
- Poor communication
- Frequent conflict
- Infidelity and distrust
- Lack of connection
- Sexual dissatisfaction
- Parenting difficulty
The financial and emotional costs of relationship breakdown, particularly for couples with children are high. Working on saving your relationship can be a worthwhile investment in your future mental and financial health. Couples who are satisfied with their relationship have been shown to be happier, live longer and get sick less.
Amy Howie, psychologist, has been married for over 17 years and combines her training in Gottman Couples Therapy and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy with her professional and personal experience to enable her to assist couples to:
- Improve communication
- Resolve conflict effectively
- Develop greater fondness, admiration and respect for one another
- Understand each other better
- Develop rituals to strengthen intimacy
What is involved in couples therapy?
Before coming to your first session both partners will be required to complete some questionnaires which will help determine the current state of the relationship and the areas that need attention. It is preferable for both partners to attend the first session. If you are experiencing relationship difficulties but your partner refuses to attend then you can come in individually and work on changes you can make in the areas of communication and connecting with your partner that may impact positively on the relationship.
The first session will be largely focused on gathering information about communication patterns, sources of conflict, areas of strength, external stressors and goals for therapy. Future sessions will be tailored to each couple and will generally include learning new skills, processing past hurts and conflicts and developing stronger bonds. The number of sessions varies but most couples require at least 4 sessions, often more.
The job of the therapist is to ensure that the session is a safe, neutral place to learn new skills and heal past hurts.