Mike Gray Couple Counsellingfor Kingston upon Thames and Surbiton

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Couples and Marriage Counsellor in Kingston upon Thames

Are you having problems in your relationship?


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Maybe your relationship isn’t everything it used to be. If you try to talk to your partner about it, they get angry, or refuse to discuss it because they think you’re trying to blame them. Or perhaps they are always trying to tell you how you need to be different. Sometimes you aren’t sure if the problem is you or them. Whatever the discussion is about (money, relatives, sex, children, work…) somehow it isn’t possible to have a sensible conversation. Maybe you feel lonely in this relationship.

I specialise in relationship therapy. I can help get things back on track.

I particularly work with people who are having relationship difficulties such as:

  • difficulties with communications
  • arguments or conflict
  • an affair or infidelity
  • disagreements over parenting, over money, over in-laws...
  • disagreements over sex, or different levels of sexual desire
  • depression affecting the relationship
  • the "midlife crisis".

    Please contact me via the "Contact and FAQ" page if you have relationship problems like these.


  • Talking to a couples counsellor

    Talking to a couple counsellor, also known as relationship therapy or marriage guidance, can be a help in getting your conversation going again. It can be a relief to each be able to express your point of view safely. A relationship counsellor will be non-judgemental and will not be trying to decide which of a couple is right, or who wins the argument. I often use the approach of Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy (EFT for couples). I aim to support change in a couple’s relationship which will promote growth for each of them. I am working with the couple’s interactions with each other, and with their children, families, and other social and work contact. I do not generally think of my clients in terms of having something wrong with them, but rather in terms of having got into a bad pattern of interaction. I am not attempting to cure an illness.

    If you are having problems, it is much better to address them sooner rather than later.

    I also sometimes work with individuals on their relationship issues, like getting over a past relationship, or difficulties with confidence or assertiveness.

    See my "About" page for more about my approach.


    Couple counselling in Kingston upon Thames

    I offer relationship / marriage counselling at Kingston Natural Health, on Old London Road in Kingston upon Thames. It's a few yards from the landmark "leaning-over phone boxes", and a short walk from Kingston railway station and the bus station. Conveniently located also to offer relationship therapy for Surbiton, Thames Ditton, Teddington, Raynes Park, Wimbledon, and Richmond.


    Depression

    Depression can be the cause of relationship problems, and vice-versa relationship problems can also cause depression. Life can be difficult for the partner of a person suffering from depression. And equally, sometimes the partner can, through no fault of their own, do things that don't help with the depression. A major study suggested that couple counselling with both partners attending could be as effective in dealing with one partner's depression as CBT or antidepressant tablets. It can also be very helpful in combination with antidepressants. The NHS has now adopted a model of using couple counselling as one way to treat depression, because of its proven effectiveness.

    The symptoms of depression in men are often different from those of women. Men who are depressed often suffer more from irritability, a loss of interest in things they used to engage with, a lack of concentration, forgetting things. There can also be physical symptoms such as back pain, digestive problems, or difficulty sleeping. Obviously these symptoms can apply to women too, but because men often don't have the persistent sadness, crying, or emptiness that's usually associated with depression in women, it can be harder to recognise.


    Latest blog post - "Why is my husband so horrible?"

    Why is my husband so horrible? Or, why is my wife such a pain?

    Let’s change the language in a tiny way. Why are they acting so horrible, or why are they acting such a pain? (If you think they really are a horrible person, does everyone else think so? Have they always been? And why would you stay with them?)

    There are a whole range of possible reasons why they are acting like that. Three likely factors stand out: (a) it’s about something in their past; (b) it’s about something difficult currently going on in their life (such as work or health); or (c) it’s about something you are doing. Or some combination of the above.

    Let’s hope it’s (c) something you are doing. Because then, you have the hope of fixing it. Whereas changing their character, their past, their health, or their stressful work situation, is probably not something you can do so much about.

    Let’s really hope it’s (c) something you are doing. Because then, there is a way forward. The two of you have fallen into a pattern of interaction that isn’t working. There is something in the way each of you is trying to communicate with the other that is making things worse. We will look at that pattern. We may explore a particular issue, whatever it is: the finances, housework, parenting, in-laws, flirting (or worse) with other people. But we explore it not so much so I can solve it for you. It’s more so we can figure out how each of you is getting your buttons pressed in the discussion. By fixing that, the original issue is then something you can tackle productively.

    Note: if “being horrible” means domestic violence or humiliation, that’s a different matter.


    You can find more short notes like this on my Blog page.


    To men

    Masculinity today is a puzzle: how are you supposed to be these days? Strong? Or emotional? How can you be "emotionally supportive" in a masculine way?

    Have you perhaps looked at men’s web sites, or the book “No More Mr Nice Guy”?

    As I am a man, I am aware of these issues. I understand the problems that men face in relationships. As a couples counsellor I can help you with them, without trying to push you into a feminine way of dealing with them. Men and women often tend to have different ways of dealing with emotions and relationships.


    Other sources of support for couples

    Many good books on marriage and relationship problems are available - I particularly recommend those published by RELATE on topics such as infidelity. There is also the Hold Me Tight marriage course available.

    Internet Forums - there are quite a number of free marriage guidance forums and discussion groups on the internet where visitors advise each other about their relationship problems such as affairs and arguments. I recommend caution with these. Generally the people providing online advice are not trained marriage counsellors or therapists - they are other people having problems, so they often have quite a negative view, and urge people towards separation. Some forums advise almost everyone to divorce! Beware of this. Most relationship problems can be improved, if the partners want to. Most couples who think about divorce but don't, are glad later that they stayed together.


    Please go to the "Contact and FAQ" page to get in touch with me

    Contact and FAQ page


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