Couples and Marriage Counsellor in Kingston upon Thames
Are you having problems in your relationship?
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:
I am working online ONLY at the moment, on Zoom. Please contact me via the "Contact and FAQ" page if you have relationship problems like these. (I am based in Kingston upon Thames, convenient for Surbiton, Thames Ditton, Teddington, Raynes Park, Wimbledon, and Richmond. But obviously not at the moment). We can set up a first session to understand what is going on. If after the first session, you decide not to proceed, I will not mind, and will happily refund the cost of that session. You have to find a counsellor that's right for you.
Zoom and online couple counselling
I see couples online for counselling by webcam using Zoom. I am finding that online counselling is working well with couples.
In order to do this, you need a quiet room where you will not be disturbed or overheard, with a laptop, tablet or computer with camera, browser and wi-fi internet connection. I do not recommend trying to do this on a phone. (You do not need to have a Zoom license.)
The only condition where this will not work, is if there is currently physical aggression between the couple.
Please email me if you have questions or concerns regarding couple counselling online at this time.
Talking to a couples counsellor
Talking to a couple counsellor, also known as relationship therapy or marriage guidance, can help to get 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. Very often, one of the couple is more keen to do counselling than the other. There is some advice about this on my Blog page. It's normal.
I often use the approach of Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy (EFT for couples). 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.
If you are having problems, it is much better to address them sooner rather than later.
I also sometimes work with individuals on relationship issues.
See my "About" page for more about my approach.
Latest blog post - Communication skills
Often people who come to me tell me that the issue is “communications”. What they mean is that their partner isn’t hearing what they’re saying, or not acting on it. It often doesn’t occur to them that they are doing the same thing: not absorbing and responding to their partner’s point of view. It’s usually both ways.
Sometimes this can be seen when a lot of their replies start with “Yes but…”. This means, “I’m ignoring what you said, because I need you to listen to what I said”. As you can imagine, that escalates pretty quickly! Watch yourself closely for doing the “yes but” thing. One client I remember had to say it so quickly it came out as “yebbut”!
Each partner has the means in their hands to stop the yes-butting. The remedy is curiosity: really wanting to understand what your partner’s point of view could be and why they’re saying it. If you think their point of view doesn’t make any sense, that usually means you don’t understand it yet.
Of course, in some couples, dirty verbal tactics can become a habit. Shouting over someone, interrupting, sarcasm, walking out, telling them what they think or feel, or even worse, criticising their character. Trying to score a point, land a good “zinger” on them, whether it’s helpful or not. These are bad habits that develop over a lifetime, and they need to be stopped, by the person doing them. It seems odd to call this communication skills – it’s more like showing reasonable politeness and respect.
You can find more short notes like this on my Blog page.
Masculinity today is a puzzle: how are you supposed to be these days? Strong? Or emotional? Should you show your feelings? 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.
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 - 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.