Ask any sailor what it takes to navigate a voyage, and he will tell you that you need to have basic sailing skills, know your boat and the waters, be able to read the wind and the weather, and trust your instincts. Whether it's making the subtle adjustments that keep you on course, or knowing when it's time to lower your sails and stay put, it's the ability to bring together all this knowledge that determines success.
Couples therapy is much the same. As a relationship counsellor, I need to be able to rely upon theory as a foundation, but also understand and manage the specific forces that shape each therapy session and journey—the gale of the crisis, the undertow of the past, the moment-to moment changes in the emotional climate, or the normal life cycle stresses that can suddenly blow a couple off course. My role/a counsellor’s role, is to be able to recognize the signs and symptoms of danger and anticipate the challenges in order to make the corrections that will help bring the couple back on track.
So yes, I am a sailor! (Maybe there is something in my clinics name…Shifting Tides Counselling!)
So what needs to change so that couples have fewer arguments in the future?
Ideally, its opening their eyes to a different type of relationship, one that is more honest, more intimate, and more organic, moving toward the wider possibility of being more of who they are as individuals, not less, by the combining of their lives; to help realize that by the intermingling of their lives, they can help each other discover who they are as individuals and as a couple.
My role, is to listen to each partner, but to also step back and look at the interaction between both of you, to understand you as individuals, but to understand even more how your relationship reflects and means to each of you. It is also to provide the emotional ballast that allows each of you to feel a little safer to talk about things that matter to you both. By the time you walk out of the session, you will both know that your side of the story has been heard and that your emotions have been respected and understood.
The happiest couples never have the same character,