Relationship Therapy: the experience and the outcome

The process of therapy is something similar to the conversation youíve perhaps longed for, in which you feel someone is working hard to hear and understand what itís like to be you. Putting thoughts and feelings into words is the first step on the way to being able to think about them and to experience someone else thinking about them. You talk, and my role is to help us together make sense of your experiences; you lead, Iíll follow. There is no set agenda or programme. The focus is always on understanding the dynamics of your relationships and your place within them.

Friends and family can often be all the support we need, but occasionally we need someone who has a little more distance. Sometimes fears of being judged or not properly understood, feelings of shame or the belief that we will overwhelm them with our troubles, may prevent us from speaking to friends or family, of what really is in our hearts. A professional therapist stands outside of these dilemmas; neutral, non-judgemental and containing, and the focus in therapy is always 100% on you.

During therapy there will be ups and downs. Youíll probably feel worse before you feel better as painful things, which youíve swept under the carpet, will resurface. As you become reconciled to old pains and put them tidily away in accessible places, youíll find the carpet easier to walk on and less likely to trip you up. The length of therapy-time this takes is as variable as the individual life stories and problems which bring people to therapy.

Change is never simple or easy and everyone shies from leaving the familiarity of old ways, no matter how uncomfortable they are. Solutions to entrenched difficulties and reaching a better sense of who you are may take a while, perhaps one or two years, with breaks; talking through practical options to a specific problem may take 2 or 3 sessions; in practice, however, no Ďproblemí exists in a vacuum!

Itís impossible to say at the beginning exactly what youíll get out of Relationship Therapy. Itís not like shopping and not everyone goes home with what they had expected. Youíll probably learn a lot about you, your partner, and maybe your other important relationships, and your experience of all three will be richer as a consequence. Hopefully, as you feel more secure with your partner, and learn to communicate better, youíll grow closer. Youíll more confidently confide, trust and lean upon each other, from which will spring an intimacy which will nourish you for the rest of your lives. Youíll then be in a better position to cope better with whatever life throws at you in the future.