Enjoy each other again.

You feel you are no longer talking with your partner, but at each other. Or maybe you have stopped really speaking with each other at all? And even when you are trying to do or say something different, all the other person seems to hear are words of hurt. “Maybe we are just too different” is often what I hear in a first session, especially from couples who have different cultural backgrounds. But most of the time, what is going on is that it does not feel safe anymore to enjoy each other and your differences, as you feel too hurt or cannot forgive certain things that have happened. When it seems impossible to come out of some of these cycles, it can help to talk to someone who is impartial and helps you both to express some of the things you want to say in a safe environment. With the hope of getting out of these cycles and finding new, more positive ways forward, that are actually more in line with how you would like your relationship to be.

If you are an “international” or “expat” couple, this stress of communication may at times be even harder. It is not only about cultural diffences in the way you communicate, but also (and often more so) about sacrifices you had to make for each other, language fluency (with all the feelings of dependency that come from that), or having difficulty finding close friends outside of your relationship. If you have moved around a lot and your relationship and family have become your “home”, it hurts all the more to be arguing so much, to contemplate separation or to lose a family member.

I work with couples at any stage of their relationship, whether you just got together, are going through some difficult times, or considering separation. Together with both of you, we work on better managing differences (incl.cultural differences), reconciliation and building more positive relationship patterns.

Some couples come to me to find a way to stay together, whereas others come to me to find a relatively positive way to separate. I place a high emphasis on working with both perspectives in the relationship, and working towards more constructive ways of communicating.

Common issues couples come to me for:

  • Communication difficulties
  • Working through difficulties to stay together
  • Considering separation, or staying in contact after separation or divorce
  • Mental health problems
  • Addiction
  • Issues of loss and bereavement

While couple counselling is not necessarily a substitute for individual counselling, research has shown that couple counselling can be more effective than individual therapy, e.g. in the case of one of the partners having depression (Jones & Asen, 2000)