Does my partner appreciate me for who I am?
Is my partner there for me when I need them the most?
Do I feel safe, trusting and connected with my partner?
Do we constantly end up in the same old fights?
Do we feel like flatmates instead of lovers?
When we’re unhappy with the answers to these questions, we’re likely to feel isolated and lonely in the relationship that is most important to us.
We might fight to demand our partner’s attention or withdraw to protect ourselves and keep the peace, but either way it is vital to our happiness to feel emotionally engaged and bonded with our partner.
A trusting emotional bond gives us the vitality and strength to flourish in all aspects of our lives. In contrast, isolation and loneliness within our relationship can be a source of anxiety and depression.
When I first meet with you as a couple, I want to create a safe space where both of you feel genuinely supported and can share what is happening from your individual points of view.
My role isn’t to judge what is said or who is right or wrong. I begin by trying to ensure I understand and track what is happening between you.
We want to unpack the behaviours, thoughts and feelings that trigger reactive responses and the underlying emotional longings that are not being met. Such patterns can be described as a dance in which both parties know the moves, and as they spin around each other they keep getting the same result.
My intention is to help you find new moves that nurture the love you want rather than inadvertently pushing each other away.
After the first session I will also meet with each of you alone for one session and then normally all further sessions are with you together.
Although originally trained in a different therapeutic approach to working with couples, I now work with Emotionally Focused Therapy for Couples. It is a highly researched, evidence based and effective approach that works through a series of stages and steps to create feelings of safety and trust between partners.
Couples develop the skills needed to de-escalate the negative patterns and wounds that keep them feeling disconnected. They learn to recognise the underlying emotions that feed negative patterns and begin to understand each other better. From the safer ground that provides, they begin to create new experiences in which they communicate openly and ask for their needs to be met in healthy ways.
This is an empirically validated approach for couples looking for a way to create a deeper, more fulfilling and lasting connection.