Lots of people find the idea of couples counselling quite scary. This is probably why research has found that couples turn up for relationship therapy on average six years after they would have first benefited from it.
This is sad, because relationships can be tough. And sometimes asking for help from someone outside the relationship, who can see things a bit more clearly, can really make a difference.
I help couples in all kinds of relationships. This includes:
- new relationships
- long-term relationships and marriages
- living together or not
- gay/straight/queer/LGBTQ or any gender or sexual orientation identity
- not currently in a relationship (single/dating/struggling to cope with a breakup)
Couples counselling can help with a variety of problems. It could be a large, relationship-threatening problem. Or maybe it’s a smaller niggle that is getting in the way of you enjoying each other as much as you know you could.
Why Couples Counselling?
There are loads of different reasons why people decide to try couples counselling. These are some of the most common ones:
- communication – how to improve how you talk to each other so you can both get your feelings and needs heard and met; how to stop arguments from escalating
- arguments and conflict – it’s normal and healthy for couples to have disagreements, but do you find your arguments hard to control, or that they sometimes become violent? A neutral third party can help you take step back and see things more clearly
- affairs – there’s always more to the story than the act of infidelity. We can work together to understand the real reason it happened, so you can both move on from it
- trust – making sense of why you find it difficult to trust; putting in clear boundaries; talking about your worries
- financial issues and work – money and work/life balance are one of the commonest causes of arguments. How we spend our money and time says so much about who we are and who we want to be. Let’s make sense of that for you together
- kids and parenting – disagreements about how to raise the children are just as common and no less painful
- feeling unsatisfied/bored/insecure/taken for granted – we can look together at what you both want and need from each other
- strengthening or improving your relationship – nurturing it to make it more supportive, loving and fun
- being single/dating/coping with breakups – you can read more about how I work with individuals here. My skills and training in working with couples often inform my work with individuals and vice versa
Adjusting to Life Changes
Over the course of a relationship, life can throw a lot of stuff at you.
You might want some support in coping with or adjusting to a change such as:
- commitment/marriage/pre-nutial counselling
- moving in together/dividing chores
- the birth of a baby
- feeling like life has changed one or both of you and you don’t know each other any more
- children leaving home
- feeling like you are not as close as you once were
- sexual changes such as change in one or both of your desire for sex
- navigating your separation or divorce
Or perhaps your specific difficulty is not listed here. Please don’t let this put you off getting in touch – I know that every relationship is different and comes with its own struggles.
When you come for couples counselling, we will work together to help you to understand each other better. From my position outside the relationship, I’ll be able to see things more clearly. Together we’ll look for new ways of thinking and solutions to your problems.
Your relationship may well feel like one of the most private areas of your life so getting professional help with it can feel daunting. It’s important that you both feel that I am someone you can talk to. The best way to see if I am the right counsellor for you would be to come and meet me together.
We’ll have a session where we will consider what has brought you to couples counselling and what would be most helpful for you now.
I believe that nothing is more important in life than the connections we make with other people. Strong relationships are an important part of staying well and feeling good. And they can really help you to cope if you’re experiencing a mental health problem like anxiety or depression.
Relationships can be tough for everyone at times. It might not feel like it right now, but disagreements can actually bring you closer when you have healthy, productive ways of dealing with them.
I would love to help you get there.
So many things were helpful
So many things were helpful that it is hard to choose just one. Most helpful was probably how compassionate you were towards me. This slowly helped me shift the way that I relate to myself. Counselling felt like a very safe and warm space, in which I could look at myself with more kindness and allow myself to express feelings and needs. This has helped me personally as well as making me more open in my relationships with other people, privately and at work. Thank you Catherine. The two years with you have meant a lot to me and have changed me in many ways.
I could not have asked for a better independent witness to my story
I could not have asked for a better independent witness to my story than Catherine. As she joined me on my journey she was kind and supportive. Encouraging me to see things in a different light. I will probably return at some stage; Catherine's instinctive approach and skill of picking out key elements in my narrative helped me make sense of things at this difficult time for me. Thank you. Everything was clear & straight forward. Which is no mean feat when you are operating in a global pandemic!!
Catherine always remained calm and collected
Catherine always remained calm and collected even during times filled with conflict in couples therapy. She managed to bring back my then boyfriend to a calmer state and I felt like she was standing up for me when I couldn't. I felt like I had a good bond with her and trusted her so that I could open up in front of her.
I feel I am in a very different place
One of the most useful things about going to counselling was learning so much about myself. I feel I am in a very different place from when I first started and I owe it to the support and help which Catherine offered. I will not rule out returning if I feel I need to, but for now I feel happy with the place I am in.
I really found the whole experience really helpful
[What was most helpful about your counselling?] “Having a different perspective on my situation and what I was going through. Talking through how I was feeling and then being directed by Catherine to look at things in a different way and make connections to other parts of my life and relationships helped to make sense of things. I really found the whole experience really helpful and exactly what I needed at the point I was at. Thank you for your help.
She helped me through the fog of self doubt
Catherine describes herself as a demystifier – and she is. But not just of psychobabble. She helped me through the fog of self doubt, delusion, depression that clouded me in a difficult period of my life. And in place of fog she helped install the ropes and tackle I needed to climb onto dry land, out from the cold, and find a seat back by the fire. But equally, she possesses a superpower (and a useful one for a therapist): she has an off-the-chart ability to listen. To make you hear her listening, to adjust the quality of silence you sometimes need to say what you didn’t know you were going to say, to make you feel heard. Her empathy is palpable; yet I’ve never once felt patronised. Most extraordinary is that she does all this without judgement or prejudice, but with sincerity and good humour. It’s pretty much the perfect combination and I can’t think of anybody who wouldn’t benefit from talking to Catherine. And I can’t thank her enough.
You were excellent
Thanks for all your help. I will be in touch if I need to in the future. You were excellent.
Catherine was wise and supportive
Catherine was wise and supportive, picking out elements of my story and helping me see things in a different way. I will probably return at some stage; Catherine has been very kind and helpful at a difficult time in my life.
The help you’ve given me has been invaluable
I just want to say a huge thank you for the past year. The help you’ve given me has been invaluable and I’ve learnt so much about myself, my past, and my relationship to the wider world. Your guidance and help will stand to me for the rest of my life and I’ve made so many positive changes in the past year, a lot of which I feel I owe to you. Thank you so much for everything.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your help and understanding.