Putting the Puzzle of Relationships Together
"Supporting couples to improve their relationships, both same sex and opposite sex, as a Gold Coast counsellor, has been something that I have been privileged to be able to do for over 10 years.
Whether you are feeling as though you are not as connected as you once were, or perhaps there is constant arguing and fighting between the two of you, or maybe someone has become involved in an affair...I will do my best to help you. I believe that your relationship is your most valuable asset.
When working with couples, I have a fairly standard assessment process that I generally follow. I usually like to meet you both together at the initial visit, and then see you individually on seperate occasions, before meeting you together again. At the fourth session, together we will review the strengths in your relationship, discuss how to restore these strengths, along with how to revamp areas of the relationship that need work. I will provide you with strategies to enhance your partnership and guide you in making the changes that you need to make to create a healthy, loving relationship.
Some couples are then able to work on these processes together without any further counselling assistance from me following the fourth session.
Other couple's choose to access my support for a lengthier period of time, maybe touching base a little less frequently, just to ensure that things are travelling along smoothly, and to fine tune any remaining trouble spots.
Alternatively, you may be looking for assistance in seperating, or moving forward in your life following a relationship break-down. I will support you through this transition with care and compassion.
Please call or text me today on 0404 248 576 if you would like to experience my unique and effective method for helping you to transform your relationship."
Top 5 Tips for Growing a Healthy, Loving Relationship:
Relationships are work. Anyone who tries to tell you differently is living in a fantasy land. Unfortunately many of us have been brainwashed by a culture that promotes relationship fariytales which are at their best misleading and at their worst downright damaging.
Living with another human being requires patience, energy and compromise regardless of whether it is your lover or your flat mate. However the rewards that come from a long-term happy relationship far outweigh the sacrifices and include:
- affection and intimacy
- improved mental health
- fewer medical problems
- shared goals
- higher satisfaction and meaning in life
- longevity of life span
What follows is a brief outline of five simple strategies for growing a healthy, loving relationship. Many of us intellectually know that these ways of relating are important and yet we fail to put them into practice. Your relationship is your most valuable asset, please start treating it as such.
Yes, your relationship with your lover comes first. Always. Your lover is the only person you can count on to be by your side until the end. Your parents will become old and pass on. Your friends will come and go. Your children will grow up and leave home to begin their own lives. Your job will disappear and your work colleagues along with it. Your partner is the only person who will accompany you on the journey of life, together you can make an unbeatable team.
We live in a society that overvalues independence and sees anything else as undesirable or even a weakness. This too is a fantasy. Neuroscience tells us that your brain actually requires connection with another to thrive and survive. Interdependence is a healthier state to value: prioritise time spent with your partner and balance this with your own interests, hobbies, and social networks.
My grandmother always said "never let the sun go down on an argument" and she was right! People argue. This is a fact. Why? Because every single one of us has been raised in a unique environment. Your childhood experience was different even from that of your siblings simply because you were born into a different family dynamic: you are either the eldest, the youngest, or the in-between. Our differences are what attract us to others and also at times repel us.
However long a disagreement lasts is always up to you. My guide is that you at least attempt to repair the disconnection caused by an argument by bedtime. An even better goal is to aim to repair any damage immediately following a disagreement if not throughout the conflict. How? Come up with a plan together for how to repair. Ask each other what works, what would you need to feel soothed? What would your lover need? Some people respond well to a gentle touch or a hug, others warm to humour, still others need some space to cool down. When your brain is operating from it's emotional center you are unable to think clearly and will say hurtful things. Time out will help provided you always communicate with each other about when you will return.
Tell your lover that you care about them every day. Too often in my practice I hear partners say something like "oh but she knows I love her". I am yet to meet a human being who has mastered that magical ability of mind reading. Make it a habit to identify one quality about your partner that you admire and tell them about it daily. For example, "honey I love how thoughtful you were today when you bought ice-cream on your way home from work".
Actually, this is a terrific ritual to pass down to your children. Make it a point each day to give them the gift of acknowledging a personal quality in them that you admire. This activity also benefits you in the sense that you are training your mind to focus on the good in others rather than the bad. Try it!
Yes, I know this is an obvious one, however I gaurantee that unless you have had specific training in communication you probably don't do it all that well. Create a ritual with your lover whereby you sit down with each other for at least 20 minutes each day and share your stressors together: who's irritating you at work, what's got you fit to be tied and hopping mad today. Make eye contact and use reflective listening.
If done regularly (yes I mean daily!) this simple practice of 'touching base' has been proven to provide each of you with a buffer against stress while at the same time keeping you connected. Share your thoughts. Once again, your lover does not have magical powers and cannot read your mind.
Probably the most important skill. Unfortunately our brains are wired in such a way that we are often reactive rather than responsive. You are wired to act on past information, past memories, rather than what is actually happening in the present moment. Your mind automatically looks for reasons and stories to explain events that cause you to feel wounded.
For many of us our mind also looks for a perpetrator, someone else to blame. This is extremely unfortunate as it means that you become a victim, powerless, as you cannot change another persons behavior, only your own. When you constantly focus on what the other person is doing wrong you lose the ability to look at what you might be able to do differently. Choose to be the hero in your relationship!
These are brief self-help tips and may not apply to the circumstances of your relationship, particularly if there are behaviors such as violence, affairs, or addictions taking place. If this is the case you would benefit from discussing your situation with a qualified, experienced psychologist.
written by Linda Adams
To learn how to understand your own and your partners unique psychology and apply these strategies and more, call or text me today on 0404 248 576 or send through an email to book your confidential appointment with me in Southport or Palm Beach, Gold Coast.