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...
  • arguments about nothing!
  • disagreements over sex, or different levels of sexual desire
  • depression affecting the relationship.

    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).

  • Coronavirus and online couple counselling

    I see couples online for counselling by webcam using Zoom, which is the system I have experience in for counselling. I am finding that online counselling is working very 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.)

    Self-isolating can be a bit like Christmas only worse: couples are confined together, and relationships can take a turn for the worse. Obviously many people will have financial problems or the fear of them. I urge you not to make any big, snap, decisions at this time. Keep a very gentle hand on the steering. I urge you to give each other support, consideration, and space. Now is not the time to try to change each other! Tolerate your partner's style of coping. We can discuss how this is working out for you.

    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.

    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 - About Meditation

    About meditation

    I meditate. I do not offer meditation teaching, but there are plenty of places you can learn for free.

    The first purpose and benefit, in my opinion, is to learn something about yourself, your mind, and your thoughts. Other benefits may follow: calmness, lower blood pressure, more positive feelings, concentration, that kind of thing. But it starts with seeing what’s currently going on “in there”. Observing yourself.

    It’s the simplest thing in the world to start. Ten minutes a day, say. No equipment, no costs, no way to get it wrong, nothing to achieve. (Please don’t try to sit in a full lotus position, and don’t try to “stop thinking”). Who knows, you might attain Nirvana! Just sit as still as you can, for a few minutes, and observe what’s going on in your body and mind. I recommend not becoming too dependent on a recorded track or “app” while meditating; it’s better, at least some of the time, to be alone with your thoughts, rather than listening to someone else.

    Sit (or lie) really still, be aware of your breathing, and notice what else arises in body and mind. If you get distracted, and realise that you’ve gone off into some train of thought, just notice that that has happened, and observe it, watch it. Your thoughts are just thoughts. You didn’t choose them. Don’t like them or dislike them, don’t believe them or disbelieve them.

    For me, the thoughts are often about “what I’ll need to do later”. I might even make a note of it on a piece of paper, and then return to meditation for a little longer. I sit and observe that feeling of "there are things I need to do". It's like a little child nagging me. I can be kind to it, but I don't need to respond right this minute.

    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.

    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.

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

    Contact and FAQ page

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