★★★★★Couples Counselling Testimonial: "Since seeing you last week things have been great and it looks like we are back on track. We have reconnected amazingly over the weekend. Thank you." Ryan and Kimberly, (Couples Counselling). Elanora.
When things are not perfect in your relationships, it can be daunting to consider help, and scary to admit to friends and family. However, marriage or couples counselling is a confidential process that has been proven, time and again, to have been a lifesaver for many couples. Most couples say that it was the best investment that they ever made in their family.
What Happens in a Marriage Counselling Session? Ghita will start by asking you about your history together. She will be interested to find out more about when your relationship problems began and to hear from each of you about what you think is causing the problems. Ghita may ask about when you last felt happy together and ask you to reflect on what has changed.
The aim is for both parties to feel equally heard, to work together as a solid team and to gather communication skills that build intimacy and understanding. Couples learn to invest in each other and to express emotional needs in a safe, supporting and non-judgemental environment.
Benefits of marriage counselling include:
Improved Communication and Less Arguments
Better Agreement or Consensus on Issues in the Marriage
Renewed love, joy and hope
Ghita will teach and encourage you to become a better listeners and to better communicate your needs. This will help you gain a greater understanding of each other’s needs and concerns without falling into a spiral of conflict or avoidance. It is common for Ghita to divide the session into segments, including time for review of the previous week, time to talk about new issues and time for practice exercises, role play or other interventions.
"It's not always rainbows and butterflies. It's compromise that moves us along." - Adam Levine
Common Reasons for Couples Therapy Regardless of how long you have been married, or the nature of your marital problems, marriage counselling can offer huge benefits to a married couple. Even when your problems don’t seem that major or significant, marriage counselling can still benefit a couple striving to maintain a successful marriage – in fact, marriage counselling is best commenced before conflict becomes entrenched. Nonetheless, marriage counselling can help to repair damaged marriages, or in cases where the parties don’t want to continue, can ease the process of separation towards mediation.
Many couples decide to come to counselling to learn to deal with conflict and arguments. Common issues include:
Trust has been compromised in your relationship
You’re not feeling heard
You feel unacknowledged or under-appreciated
You or your partner have become distant or withdrawn, anxious or clingy
You are trying to repair things after an affair
You or your partner have lost interest in sex
The roles you have taken on (spouse, parent, bread winner) are not what you expected
You’ve lost a sense of identity in the relationship
Anger or stonewalling have become the predominate way you or your partner communicate
There is a lot of blame and a lack of responsibility
Ghita Therapy Methods Ghita uses a combination of the following methods:
How to Reconnect with Each Other One issue that couples may bring to marriage counselling is a desire to reconnect and recommit to their marriage. If you have been married for a number of years, it can be challenging to come up with new and innovative ways to reconnect. Over time, we become settled in a rhythm and routine that may eventually become mundane and even boring. Several sessions with a marriage counsellor or psychologist can help a married couple look at each other with fresh eyes.
Very often, Ghita will give weekly assignments to be completed between sessions to aid the process towards restored intimacy and reconnection. These assignments can be as simple as having a date night instead of eating at home every evening, or as intimate as asking a couple to engage in sexual activities they might find exciting and imaginative. With a new vision of each other and increased feelings of intimacy and emotional commitment, a couple may feel more reconnected to each other and encourage them to recommit to their marriage.
How Does Therapy Improve Communication Skills in Couples? One of the areas where marriage counselling can definitely benefit a married couple is in the arena of communication skills. Relationships are one of the most difficult things we attempt as humans and communicating with each other is one of the single most problematic areas for many married couples. Working with a marriage counsellor such as Ghita can help each partner to learn to more carefully listen to what is being communicated to them, to reflect that message back to their partner and to then carefully proceed to send their own message back to their spouse. This process is called “active listening” and is one of the most effective communication techniques ever taught to couples.
Renegotiating Marital Agreements: The Chore Wars Another benefit of marriage counselling is that it can be an opportunity to renegotiate marital agreements that were made in the past. Often, it can be difficult for a couple to approach marriage agreements (agreements about roles, responsibilities, household chores, finances, etc). Often these agreements have been reached at the beginning of a relationship at a time when we were younger and perhaps less experienced in life and in marriage. However, over time, our needs and desires may change and the role we were once comfortable in may become restrictive or uncomfortable.
A prime example of this is a spouse who has agreed to set aside their own career in order to raise a family, allowing the other spouse to focus their attention on being the primary breadwinner for the family. While the family is young, this may be an entirely comfortable and even enjoyable agreement. However, once the children grow older and begin to be more independent, either as teenagers or into early adulthood, the stay-at-home spouse may want to return to the workforce at least part time.
Approaching changing this agreement may be difficult because it may upset the family balance or financial arrangements. By working with Ghita, marital agreements can be approached and renegotiated with her mediator’s presence. Additionally, she may be able to offer suggestions that may not have occurred to the couple that may ease the negotiations or the transition to a new agreement.
Steps in Marriage Counselling: Ghita focuses on the commitment and connection of a couple. To help demystify what couples therapy entails, Ghita has outlined her methods in the steps below.
Is the couple committed to their relationship (Yes or No?)
If Yes: Discover core reasons for the insecurities each partner has with the other.
Identify historical issues and how they trigger conflicts in your day to day life
Encourage safe, honest and frequent communication
Explore your expectations of yourself and each other
Bond the 'Team' and rediscover trust and honesty with each other
Create new mutual goals and boundaries
Create a few basic ground rules to support the marriage
Work towards intimacy with each other
Maintenance of communication skills like 'Active Listening'
Top ups: Revisit any issues that come up post-counselling
How Long should the First Session be? For couples experiencing relationship problems, the average length of sessions is between 1 and 3 hours. Clients can decide how long they will need for the first session.
How Long does Therapy Take? Most couples come for a few sessions and then book in for top-ups as required.
What if we Have Tried Couples Counselling Before and it Wasn't Successful? Couples counselling is a process that requires clients to open up and to commit to the proven formulas designed by top researchers in relationships. It does require an open heart and full trust in the professionalism of your therapist. If you don't like their approach or method, you can shop around for a better fit. We understand that it is very 'personal' and it does make people feel vulnerable and uncomfortable - afterall secrets come out and the therapist has to unpack belief systems and often a lot of mistrust. We are not magicians however, and damage that has taken years to evolve may or may not be able to be undone. If we believe that your relationship is beyond the 11th hour we will recommend a mediation service for you to help you through the separation process. It may help to read some of the information below:
Relationship Top-Ups It is highly recommended to have top-up sessions from time to time, or as required. Some couples use this formula to stop old habits reforming, or just to stay as loving and supportive as possible.
How Much are the Fees? Marriage and couples counsellors on the Gold Coast charge up to $497 per hour. Ghita Therapy charges $200 per hour.
It's important to remember that there is an initial free 10 minute phone consultation available to help you decide whether Ghita would be a good fit for you. And you can read about what to expect from your couples session or try the Couples Quiz. Call Ghita today on 0439 888 070.