RBR couple counselling is different to ordinary couple counselling, the reason being it gets underneath the stories, the bickering and the endless arguing so as to really understand what's at the core of the relationship problem.
All behaviour is communication even silence is saying something!
Our behaviour in relationships is driven by our needs, we are in the relationship to give the other person what they need and receive what we need, otherwise there would be no need to be in a relationship!
Our relationships change when our needs are not met or they are threatened.
We all have, but we don't realise that we have, an 'attachment personality' which was formed early in our lives. Once our ‘attachment personality' has been established it stays established and plays out in our interaction with people that we are in an intimate relationship with.
Understanding and recognising our 'attachment personality' will of course help us to improve our relationships with those people that we have formed a strong emotional bond with, this includes our children as well as our partners. Before we can become effective in making changes we must have identified the problem.
Partners who have different ‘attachment personalities’ can often feel very mismatched in their communication and their needs. This mismatch feels like they cannot communicate and that their partner simply does not understand them. Both seem fixed in their own style of relating and are unconscious of their own and others' attachment personalities, and therefore are unable to change or see things from their partners perspective.
A sense of powerlessness and constant frustration can develop causing a never ending stream of arguments and often even very volatile anger outbursts that will eventually drive partners apart.
Also couples need to understand and recognise how the dynamic of their relationship has changed, been damaged, become warped over time and that they need a 'reset button' if they are going to stay together.
Most couples harbour grievances that they are often not prepared to let go of but at the same time feel that discussing them will open old wounds. I provide a safe environment for the discussion of these grievances without the arguing and shouting that usually takes place if done alone and without my help.
Relationships are about relating!
Like anything else in life relationships have to be tended and nurtured, most problems in relationships are due to neglecting this duty of care. If a relationship is to work a couple need to communicate. The problem is how?
Often a couple will only communicate when things go wrong and they start to argue! Arguing is a 'pressure release valve'! Each person defends their own side, sometimes vigourously. Very often one or both parties feel under attack and sometimes the best form of defence is to attack, they 'bring up' past grievances and their partner's failures and use these as a 'weapon' to beat the other down. Anger is often used to try to control the other person to make the arguments stop but of course this is like 'throwing fuel onto the fire'. When the arguing is over and the pressure released for a while, then some kind of temporary balance returns until the next time! After a while one or both parties can become afraid of each other and lose trust that they are both actually on the same side and start to see each other as the opposition! The relationship can start to represent more 'pain' to the couple than pleasure and unhappiness creeps in, thoughts of separation seem to become a less painful option than remaining together. Basically the prospect of remaining in the relationship represents more 'pain' than actually ending the relationship.
The relationship that you have with yourself whilst you are in relationship with another is paramount, I have often heard people say "I just don't like who I am when I am with him, I become an angry person who is intolerant, I become critical and belittling towards him I become like his mother and I don't want to be that person, I want to be me and be happy being me, I can't carry on like this" Sometimes despite the best efforts of counselling relationships end for one reason or another and sometimes it can't be helped but at least people can decide to end things and understand the reasons why and make plans to go their own way without everything ending in ruin and devastation.
Relationships should be mutually encouraging and supportive, with each partner helping the other to be the 'best they can be' and shouldn't be a constant struggle. Relationships should represent a great deal of pleasure for both partners. Life together hopefully should be enjoyed and not just endured. Couples need to make plans together for their future and 'get behind' each other to encourage and support, the focus needs to be on 'what is possible' rather than just wishing things were different!
The work of a counsellor is to help the couple to communicate to each other their deepest selves with all of their insecurities and fears. I believe that people are not malicious towards each other but are doing the best with what they know and are trying to get their needs met.
My approach is very pragmatic starting with gauging the level of commitment to the relationship of both partners, finding out what each other wants from the relationship and where they see it 'going', what are some of the things that need changing? What can they stop doing and what can they start doing? Without change nothing changes! If you do what you've always done you get what you've always got, if you want something different you have to do something different, so what's the difference that makes the difference? I help the couple to communicate and understand why they 'do what they do' and 'say what they say to each other' and what the positive intention is! We can all learn how to be accepting, loving, caring and understanding of each others needs without blame or bitterness. we are all just human beings try to do our best! I very seldom come across 'bad will' in a couple but often just a desperate and sincere need to be understood by each other. I hope to facilitate this communication in an unbiased and balance way.
I have experienced a great deal of success working with couples and dramatic changes can start even after the first session!
If you feel that I can be of any professional assistance to you please contact me.