If you wish to strengthen your relationship and improve your communication skills with each other, couples work is recommended sooner rather than later. We can address any difficulties that have set in and establish positive and constructive agreements between you. This work will involve homework assignments for you to complete between sessions, such as practising new communication skills with one another, listening to each other more effectively, or spending time together in certain activities.
If one or both of you are unsure whether you wish to continue in the relationship, or if one of you does not want to attend therapy, then therapy cannot change this!
It may become clear in the course of the therapy whether or not your relationship has a future, and what you need to do to achieve your relationship goals. It can be challenging to face the truth of what your relationship has become, but if you both have a strong and equal commitment to make this work, a lot can be achieved.
Couples therapy is also available if you have decided to end your relationship and you need support to conduct the process of separation and making arrangements, for example for childcare. Mediation may then be effective once the emotional issues have been clarified, and you have agreed to some joint rules for how you will deal with stressful topics.
Joint sessions can be held face to face or online. The first sessions are often a process of identifying what the real problems are, before they can be addressed. The first session is an hour and a half, and subsequent sessions are one hour and fifteen minutes. The length and frequency of the couples therapy cannot be determined until we have agreed what you want from it, and how this might be achieved.
Couples therapy is sometimes less frequent than individual therapy to allow you time to apply the therapy in practice. Often, we may begin by looking at the type and quality of your communication and interactions and how you can make immediate changes that can help stabilise your day-to-day experience of being together. You are asked to undertake “homework” and report back on how it went, so that the three of us are all working together constructively towards the same desired outcomes.
Being in the room (or online) together with the therapist can quickly have an impact on your relationship, as you will start to see your interactions in a new way. The therapist does not judge or take sides, and offers a neutral, safe space for you to begin to make sense of what has been happening. The therapist will be looking for the strengths in your relationship as well as the problems that need attention.