Table of Contents
End the sabotage! © Martyn Carruthers
We encourage you to make decisions – and we do not make decisions for you.
We encourage you to see other points of view – and we do not take sides.
We support your choices – and we do not pressure you to change.
Sometimes the longest journey is the distance between two partners!
Do you want to resolve emotional and relationship problems? We coach couples to create healthier relationships and we help people sort out their emotional baggage.
The sense-of-life inherent in our work reflects our models for healthy relationships. We help people explore, define and achieve what they really want.
|What we ask
|Why we ask
1. What do you want in a relationship?
|We assess your goals, nonverbal signals, entanglements and bonds, trauma, abuse, coaching plans and relationship ecology …
2. How do you want to get what you want?
3. How will you test that you got what you wanted?
Your answers to such questions may provide insights. Where are you now, where do you want to go together and how do you both want to get there …
When we help couples, families or teams, we prefer simultaneous coaching. We don’t just counsel two or more people at the same time – we coach people to coach each other! We strive to make our clients independent of us.
If a partner says that he or she feels unpleasant – we ask about the nature of the feelings and their causes. Are the feelings existential (all the time in any context) or only sometimes in some contexts (e.g. overwork) – or triggered by some stimulus.
We often help each partner manage individual issues (such as chronic emotions, habits or obsessions) before beginning our couple counseling. You have many possible futures – and no matter which path you choose, we can coach you to change your fears, anger and unwanted habits.
People who recreate their childhood disappointments in their adult relationships
may have associated love and care with unhealthy parental behavior.
How do you feel about your relationship?
If we ask this to one partner alone, and again with the other partner listening – we will probably hear quite different answers. Here are some common possibilities …
- If both partners feel well about their partnership, we can help them increase their pleasure and enjoyment. We help them build resourceful states that they may need later during conflicts and reconciliation.
- If one partner feels dissatisfied and the other is satisfied, we can help both partners better understand each other and to solve individual issues. This can lead to both feeling well, or to both wanting to change their relationship habits.
- If both partners feel badly about their partnership, we can help them examine and manage any current crisis and evaluate their partnership. This often requires individual work with both partners, and then couple work to sort out problems.
Evaluate your Relationship
|Relationship in Crisis
|Partners often show appreciation and
gratitude to each other
|One or both are often dissociated, irritated, depressed, critical or show contempt
|Partners respond to most verbal and nonverbal communications
|One or both ignore, avoid or
shorten most communications
|Partners review events in their history
|They rarely review their relationship history
|Partners greet after time apart and ask about each other’s activities and other news
|They rarely interact when together,
without even silent intimacy
|Partners enjoy meeting each other’s needs for passion, intimacy and commitment
|One or both often ignore or criticize
the other’s goals and needs
|Partners discuss goals and dreams, finding shared values and creating shared meanings.
|They rarely discuss shared goals,
values or dreams
|Partners often go out together
|They generally prefer to go out alone
|Partners create projects which require committed cooperation
|One or both often avoid, ignore or
give small attention to shared projects
|They wish to stay together to enjoy sharing partnership and parenthood happiness
|One or both want to separate but cannot because of guilt, fear or constraints
|They respect most of each other’s choices and decisions, and politely discuss differences
|One or both show contempt for the other’s decisions and angrily demand changes
|Partners want happiness together
|One or both prefer happiness alone
- The ratio of positive to negative comments in successful relationships is about 5:1, and in unsuccessful relationships it is often below 1:1 (Gottman 1999)
- Successful couples learn to create passion, intimacy and commitment (Sternberg 1986)
- Couples who argue more than they make love are likely to separate (Howard & Dawes 1976)
- Many couples stay together because of bonds – not because of love (Carruthers 1996)
To assist couples to develop patience, tolerance and gratitude, we can explain things in optimistic ways (Cameron-Bandler, 1985) as we identify the behaviors each person dislikes in their partner. Then we can:
- Explore “What causes them to behave in this way?” and “What goals are they trying to reach?“
- Explore “Would they behave differently towards each other, if they knew the circumstances or goals that trigger their behaviors?“
- Explore “Do they like or dislike the qualities that they perceive in each other?“
- Explore “What qualities do they most enjoy with their partners?” and “How can they express those qualities when their partners behave in ways they dislike?“
Do they believe that only their partners initiate conflict? We help people resolve their inner conflicts, and understand that conflicts are more often parts of normal partnerships, rather than issues of manipulation or control. See Reconciliation.
Of all the damages people inflict upon each other, few are so hard to solve
as those caused by beliefs such as, “He/she only did that to hurt me!“
Since our last session, one of my longtime wishes has come to fruition. I am in love with my husband in a way that I never thought was really possible. I hoped that it was a dream that could come true but I had very little faith that it would. Philadelphia
Were you ever trained in mature partnership skills? We help couples manage partnership issues and problems … we coach partners to coach each other.
Are you a helping professional? Do you want to improve your
relationships and gain professional insights into systemic work?