Couples and Relationship Counselling in Edinburgh and Online
What is relationship psychotherapy and counselling?
It is within loving, caring and supportive relationships that we humans learn to live and flourish. However, relationships can also be the source of difficulties and have the potential to stop us from growing or, even worse, to cause us damage. It would not be an exaggeration to say that the majority of people that I have worked with have in one way or another, either directly or indirectly, come to psychotherapy and counselling because of difficulties with past or present relationships. Evidence from research in psychology and attachment theory confirms that dysfunctional relationships with our parents and those close to us during childhood can be the source of many psychological difficulties in the present such as ‘personality disorders’, anxiety, depression and even intimacy and sexual difficulties. Being in a relationship with a partner can also at times be the source of problems, as even the most loving relationships at times go through periods of strain.
Relationship counselling for individuals or couples can help you to understand the issues that affect your relationship and can assist you to overcome difficulties and to transform your relationship(s). Each person, or couple, that seeks relationship counselling has unique circumstances to deal with and resolve, but some issues tend to be similar. Below are a number of issues that I have experience working with:
• Communication issues: Not knowing how to communicate with your partner, friends or relatives, or a feeling of not being heard and understood that often leads to feeling frustrated, distant or isolated;
• Conflict and arguments: Getting stuck in a repeated pattern of constant argumentation and conflict that can at times lead to more serious forms of abuse and physical or emotional violence;
• Affairs or mistrust: The breakdown of trust when an affair is suspected or has been discovered, or when you, yourself are involved in an affair;
• Separation/Divorce and ending a relationship: I can provide help with coping with separation or with exploration and support to work through the ending of a relationship, either individually or as a couple.
• Life changes: Issues that affect relationships and are related to pregnancy, births, relocation, childrearing and parenting, step-families, redundancy or unemployment, death of a partner or parent;
• Sex and intimacy: Lack of sex and intimacy, concern about partner’s sexuality or coming out, sex addiction and pornography issues;
• Workplace relationship issues: Stress and anxiety related to difficult relationships with managers or colleagues;
• Mental health and disabilities (partner’s): Issues related to anxiety, stress, depression or addiction that affect the relationship. I also work with individuals that are in a relationship with a partner that has been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder or Asperger’s syndrome.
Relationship Counselling for Individuals in Edinburgh and Online
It is very important for you to know that our relationship will be a warm, safe, confidential and non-judgemental space that will allow you to bring whatever is troubling you and to talk, feel and think freely about your experiences from past and present relationships. At the beginning of our work, I will listen carefully and with acceptance in order to understand your difficulties. I will conduct a relationship assessment to see how you have related and how you relate with those around you as this can give us significant information about the areas where you thrive, as well as those areas where you need to improve and grow. Following this, we will work together to identify the most significant issues in your relationship(s) and the areas where you want help to grow. During this phase, we will set goals about where you want to be and what you want to have achieved at the end of our work.
An important part of our work will be to explore and consider certain emotions and thoughts that you have and how these tend to influence, often in an unhelpful way, the way you behave and respond to certain emotions and experiences in your relationship. We will also look at how your partner or others relate with you, and we will try to identify their part in the problem, as at times it might be the case that the problem comes predominantly from other(s). If this is the case, we will explore your options on how to respond, manage or (if you would like to) exit the situation or relationship (e.g. in situations of abuse, either physical or psychological both with partners/families or in the workplace).
Although our work will focus on improving relationships, both in the here-and-now and the future, we may at times have to explore your past and how relationships with parents or previous partners continue to negatively affect you in the present, or how these experiences are contributing to problems in your current relationship(s) or perhaps stopping you from engaging with people and relationships again. Our work will not only help you to resolve problems in existing relationships but also, and most importantly, it will equip you with knowledge and insights for becoming better with relationships in the future, which means that you will be better able to avoid getting into relationships with those that are not a good match for you and to also find the people that you are most likely to be compatible with.
Relationship Counselling for Couples in Edinburgh and Online; Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy
My couples counselling and psychotherapy work is predominantly based on Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT). EFT is a collaborative and structured approach that helps partners to understand the negative and conflictual patterns of relating. EFT supports individuals and couples to learn how to affirm, care and support each other and how to foster a secure relationship bond within the couple that results in deeper connection and emotional and sexual intimacy. Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy is one of the most thoroughly researched and empirically and scientifically validated approaches in the field of couples’ therapy. Research studies have repeatedly shown that after 12 to 20 sessions, 70-75% of couples are able to move from conflict to harmony and stability, while other research has shown that 90% of couples show significant improvement at the end of therapy. Research has also shown EFT to be an effective approach for couples from across various cultures, from both traditional and non-traditional families and within heterosexual, gay and lesbian relationships. If you wish to learn more about the theory and the effectiveness of EFT, please watch the video below from Professor Sue Johnson, the main founder of Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy.
When we work together, I will first and foremost make sure that I provide a space where you, or both of you, feel accepted, validated and safe so you can share and process your experiences. With kindness and compassion, I will help you to identify the issues that you face at present and also to explore your background relational history both as a couple and as individuals. Following this, we will start identifying the negative cycles that you tend to get caught up in and then we will work towards changing the way you interact and emotionally respond to each other, with the aim of re-establishing emotional intimacy and a deeper connection. Lastly, and most importantly, we will learn by practising (within and outside the sessions) relationship skills that will help you to become more able to relate to each other (and others) in a way that will bring harmony and balance in your relationship(s). EFT is unique in that it is a growth-oriented approach that not only resolves the issues and difficulties that you experience but most importantly helps both of you to build a strong relationship that will help you to co-create lasting harmony and happiness in your relationship.
If you are experiencing difficulties within your relationship(s), I would love to work with you – either as an individual or a couple - to help your relationship heal and flourish. We can work either in person in Edinburgh or online via Skype. I offer couples and relationship counselling and psychotherapy in Edinburgh and online.
I look forward to helping you create long and lasting happiness in your relationship.