When couples come to see me for London Couple Counselling or marriage guidance, very often, they have seen other relationship therapists before.
I run through a few questions to gauge their experience and how helpful or not it might have been.
I would like to share a rough checklist with you, because out of what I offer you if you work with me, you may want to make sure you are offered at least the same - or hopefully more, from any therapist you choose to work with.
1) Listening skills: Usually couples talk over one another, having something to say even before the other person has finished speaking. To really listen to another human being as a person in their own right is a special skill. I take you through experiential exercises allowing you to say what is truly in your heart and mind to your partner, and help you to be heard by your partner in a way which is open, undefended, positive, and real.
Learning this skill and experiencing this in your day to day life, can change the quality of your relationship.
2) Individual fulfillment, joy and purpose: To be happy as part of a couple you need to be fulfilled as an individual. We will look towards what makes you happy, what you want out of life, and the kind of relationship you would like to create.
3) Relationship Dynamics (this is deeper than understanding what went wrong - it's understanding what works for you as individuals and as a couple)
4) Male Female Polarity: Four and a half billion years of Evolution knows nothing of political correctness nor the changes of society within the past 60 or 70 years. In fact, these changes, such as the pill and new-found sexual freedoms, have thrown many people into confusion with regards to our deeper and our more basic drives, desires, passion and our human nature as men and women.
Understanding what men and women truly want, can be the key to having a harmonious and fruitful relationship, which fulfills all of our human needs, and allows us to contribute to each other, and in the fullest sense to the world.
5) Mindfulness: As a way of exploring reality and becoming clear of our illusions and presuppositions - certain questions can release us and open up our eyes to a life which taps into our presence, our love, generosity and creativity - and allows us to live much more deeply and fully.
As part of our daily practice we can then communicate much more directly, openly, and honestly - and come to feel much more connected with ourselves and our partner.
6) A process of aligning your values and goals as a couple; even though they are probably in a different order of importance! For some couples, this differentiation can literally be the difference between a life of contention or really working together as a team, and creating the life they want in the way they really want.
7) Always having a positive outcome - making sure you sort for positives - and making sure you agree a positive outcome for therapy as well as for your life!
8) Understanding you and your partner's communication styles: If you have ever wondered why your partner may not be hearing you as you intend, it may well be down to different communication styles. I help you build a bridge which you can permanently use to connect with each other, as well as honoring each others' individuality!
9) Understanding your vision for you and your partner's life as individuals and as a couple
10) Understanding the Six Universal Human Needs: According to Psychological Understanding these are (in no particular order): A) Contribution B) Significance C) Growth D) Variety/Fun E) Security/Certainty F) Love and Connection.
Understanding which needs are most important to you and your partner can open your eyes to the dynamics of your relationship and help you align with each others' most important needs to have a successful relationship.
11) Deep relationship patterns: These are the patterns of relationship, often influenced by our imprinting with our parents, and our experiences through life, which pertain to the relationship of those closest to us - namely our partner. Our social and other relationship patterns can be completely different.
If you have ever heard one person in a couple say about their partner "No one else treats me this way!" they are speaking of their deep relationship pattern. When we master this particular pattern and it becomes mutually gratifying we have a treasure and source of joy and support for life.
12) Sexual intimacy and connection: I support you in being able to fulfill this as an individual and really come together as a couple.
13) Your model of love. A mature model of love is one based on individual and mutual fulfillment and includes every one of the six human needs being supported and fulfilled. Through therapy you can move to a deeper understanding of a mutual model of love which enables you to have the relationship you both desire.
14) Loving-kindness. A way of being in your life. Towards yourself and others.
This list is far from comprehensive, but I hope when looking for couple counselling, marriage guidance, or relationship coaching, you can explore the therapist's own understanding and what they can offer you - and match these with your needs, the type of therapy you want, and the quality of relationship you want to achieve.
John Donlon, Couple Counselling, Marriage Guidance, Relationship Coaching in Harley Street, 0800 024 8647.
THE RELATIONSHIP EXPERTS International Relationship Experts John Donlon and Linda Connors have over 30 experience between them. They offer powerful and life changing relationship couple counselling and personal development programmes. They work with individuals and couples in the UK, America, Europe and Australia. If you are in relationship crisis are ready to take the first step into saving your relationship you can contact us on 0800 024 86 47.
John offers relationship advice, solutions and share their thoughts on love, relationships, marriage and intimacy.