Counselling / Psychotherapy for Couples / Relationships in Hampshire and online

Sometimes when we have problems in our relationship we can feel like there is no way out other than finding the way out. This doesn't have to be the case;

There is another way – couples/relationship counselling. (please note, for convenience I have used the term ‘couple’; this does not exclude relationship diversity, neither does the term couple apply to male and female, I work with same sex couples, non-binary individual’s and those who do not recognise gender).

My approach to helping a couple is very structured, simple and is successful regardless of sexual orientation, race, culture or differences. In fact, I am a specialist in working with same sex couples. To help you decide whether couples counselling is for you, I have outlined my approach below.

Firstly, I establish what the problem, issue or concern is.

Sometimes this is very clear, perhaps your partner has had an affair. Other times the source of distress may not be quite so evident. To assist in exploring the problem, I actively engage you and your partner in open, honest dialogue which I manage and support. It might be helpful to clarify that I never take sides, my role is to remain neutral, and to re-connect you both, not 'fuel the fire' further. At this stage of couples counselling some counsellors' stay silent and observe the interaction between you – I DON'T, I am actively involved.

I often find couples have spoken in the past but give up as 'nothing changes'; it is my responsibility to ensure that we don't reinforce the 'we have been here before and nothing changes' position. It is important to really feel heard by your partner, this first stage can be very enlightening as the fast pace of the world we live in often means we have disconnected without knowing it. I frequently find the more time we invest in exploring the problem the less time we spend in couples counselling overall.

Once we have established the problem, we all need to agree on how to address this. What is the aim? The aims can be broad; but have to be realistic and agreed by both of you. This stage can be complex, and sometimes I have to be direct and ask, 'Do you both want to work through this and stay together or would separating with dignity be more appropriate.' It is important to say that my aim is not to keep you together, rather I work towards the aim agreed by both of you, as ultimately this impacts on your personal happiness. If one partner wants to stay together and the other wants to separate I can continue to support you as a couple, or we can agree an alternative way of working that maybe helpful.

I often find that the above is enough to 'get you back on track' especially in cases of 'something is wrong, but we don't know what.'

As the couples counselling progresses, my philosophy is based on the work of Dr Sue Johnson and Dr Les Greenberg who, in the 1980's developed a pioneering approach to couples counselling called 'Emotionally Focused Therapy'. The underpinning theory of this approach is that relationships are at the core of human experience and that emotionally fulfilling relationships are essential to our well-being. Therefore, emotionally focused interventions have the power to establish and recreate supportive bonds between you and your partner.

At this stage, I am committed to understanding, encouraging, and promoting a relationship that is fundamentally based on strong emotional bonds and exploring their interpersonal impact.

I believe that the establishment of, or the strengthening of the emotional bond between partners is essential for a lasting relationship. I have developed my own specialist collaborative interventions that are aimed at improving the emotional bond between two people (this is equally effective when working with a parent and child).

Prior to your first session I send out a questionnaire which draws attention to your relationship.

It is important that both partners complete the questionnaire individually and return it to me as this forms the basis of our first session. Please note, that whilst I don't show your questionnaire to your partner, I may summarise aspects to assist you both in seeing the relationship from each other’s perspective.

Get in touch

Please contact me if you have any questions, or would like to arrange an appointment. This enables us to discuss the reasons you are thinking of having counselling or supervision, whether it could be helpful for you and whether I am the right therapist to help. You can also call me on 07876200559.

©Richard Carroll

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