Traditionally in my one-to-one therapy, clients who sought to work with me often felt as if they didn’t fit into the popular narrative: Man and women fall in love, they procreate (and have amazing sex all the time) and live happily ever after. Unfortunately this binaried narrative troubles many of my clients and the consequences for not fitting in can be overwhelming.
I am very familiar with clients who are in relationships that are considered “different”. This can be interracial/intercultural relationships where one partner might struggle with a history of oppression stemming from feeling different and the other may not understand the challenges of minority stress. Or same sex couples who are dealing with everyday challenges around building a family and being themselves. Or couples that are exploring consensual non-monogamy/polyamory and are struggling with readiness and feelings of safety in their relationship.
Communicating with Each Other
One of the core challenges in intimate relationships is how we communicate with each other. Counselling can help with translating what one person might want to say, but can’t express it in a way that the other person hears it. An independent third can sometimes facilitate meaningful contact which then can help to improve relationship quality.
Benefits and Limitations
There are several benefits in engaging with intimate partner counselling. Some of the key aspects are:
- Improved Emotional Openness
- Address Differences
- Better Know Your Partner/s
- Open Communication
- Address Future Issues
- Stop Disagreements from Worsening
- Improve Appreciation Between Partners
Many clients tend to seek support when their relationship is on the verge of collapse. If this is the case for you, there is very little I can do apart from offering a space to discuss difficult aspects in a safe environment.
About my Approach
My approach to intimate partner counselling is grounded in Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) and Internal Family Systems (IFS). I continuously advance my skills in working with relationships and attended several trainings in working with couples and gender, sex and relationship diversity (GSRD). Most recently, I enrolled to a 6 month programme with the Contemporary Institute for Clinical Sexology (CICS) on Intimate Partner Therapy.
How to Make a Start
The first step is to arrange an introductory session. To organise this, I suggest we either have a brief phone call or arrange availabilities via email. This session last 50 minutes and it’s main purpose is for you and your partner/s to get a sense of what it’s like to be with me in the room. After the session you have a bit of time to consider whether you would like to take up counselling with me. If you decide to go ahead, we will spend a couple of sessions on an assessment to really understand the root of the your problems, and look at how you can de-escalate negative relationship cycles. At the end of the assessment (about 4-6 sessions) we agree on what you want to work on and the actual therapy begins.
Unfortunately Intimate Partner Counselling can be pricey, since it requires specialist skill to deal with the storms of intimacy. I try to decide on a case by case basis depending on the complexity of your problems and your available funds. For example, the fees increase if you are on the verge of separation, whereas commitment to therapy through advance bookings can decrease the fees. I will discuss the details at our first meeting. Details for the first introductory session are on my fees page.