Often I work with capable and engaging individuals who have so much to offer, but can’t find a relationship.
They downplay their own attractive qualities, triggering behaviours which undermine the relationship goals they seek. My work involves restoring self-confidence, finding new perspective, and encouraging new ways of being.
Sometimes people can find it hard to commit to a relationship. Wrestling with indecision can be tiring, confusing and guilt-inducing. Some individuals have a deep-rooted fear of missing out. ‘Is this it?’ they ask.
I work with individuals to identify the meaning of their indecision. For some it’s helpful to explore where their idea of how they’re ‘supposed’ to feel comes from. The common theme is helping people to identify their true feelings
Relationship doubts are normal, particularly at life stress points. Even happy events such as the arrival of a baby can create relationship problems. Sometimes over time issues can build into crises, involving increasing intolerance and distance.
Whether it’s a gradual build-up or an explosive event, for example the discovery of an addiction, or a betrayal of trust such as an affair, individuals feel the basic foundations of their relationship are no longer certain.
Making sense of what’s happening is the first step to moving forward.
Anxiety and low mood are often associated with relationship difficulties. I work to help individuals identify the causes of their anxiety or low mood and what steps they might take to turn things round. Sometimes people feel shame about their behaviour or inability to cope.
Sometimes relationships need to be re-worked when individuals are in recovery from alcoholism, drug dependence or sex addiction. While addiction of any kind may no longer be the overriding issue, new patterns of relational behaviour between partners, and possibly other family members, may need to be learned.
The fact that people are seeking counselling is an indication that at some level they want the relationship to work and
that is my starting-point.
Step One involves replacing couples’ often chaotic picture with a more coherent analysis of their problem and, where necessary, interrupting conflict.
Step Two is about new ways of relating, involving looking at unhelpful patterns, and examining beliefs, values and behaviours.
Step Three involves practising and ingraining new patterns, especially around communication.
Separation can involve a range of emotions - grief, loss, guilt, anger, jealousy and fear to mention just a few. Helping individuals to salvage some positivity can help. Refocusing from ‘us’ to ‘me’ can be transformational. Separation can be more difficult when children are involved and there are issues of access and co-parenting, especially if one party has already moved onto a new relationship. Helping individuals to come to terms with a painful reality is important in creating a pathway to manageable co-existence.
Even the most enduring relationships can sometimes be in a state of flux. The pressures of modern life – work, money, children, and family can make a relationship feel like hard work. Maintaining relational excitement can be a challenge. So it can be helpful to step back and take stock. Counselling can provide an emotional health check, helping couples to keep in touch with one another.
Physical intimacy brings couples together, but it can also be a fault-line. Popular media would have us believe that everybody is having great sex – frequently. Misconceptions about what individuals’ sex lives ‘should’ be like are common among individuals with relationship problems. Self-induced pressure to be a perfect sexual partner can be self-defeating, resulting in a lack or avoidance of intimacy. Differences in levels of sex drive or expectations about roles are common problem areas. Fear and embarrassment can get in the way of open discussion. Communication in a supportive and sensitive counselling environment is the first step to putting things right.
Difficult relationships at work can affect people’s mental health and other relationships. I’ve worked in large multinational corporations and am very familiar with the stresses of the modern workplace
Better ways of communicating and responding at work and socially can be coached and learned.
I offer a combination of relationship counselling training and workplace experience to facilitate new insight and behaviours.