Barb Leigh, MA, CCC   Anxiety, depression, relationships - 301 - 220 Brew Street    Port Moody  V3H 0E5      604.992.1914

Couples Counselling

Rate for couples:  $130 per session   

Are you experiencing difficulty in your relationship or marriage?  Lost that loving feeling?  Arguing heatedly way too often?  A few sessions of marital counselling can point the way to better communication and a happy return to the way you felt when you first got together. 

Recently a couple told me that they decided that one of their goals in counselling (besides learning to communicate better) was to have a safe place to talk.  And that is so true!  It is very, very seldom that couples start shouting at each other in session and why is this?  They have put on their "polite" personae and when they do get fired up, I am able to explain what is happening with respect to blood pressure, heart beat and brain level.  It all makes sense and they go away with a better understanding of how to deal with these kinds of reactions.

What can couples hope to achieve through counselling?

1.  Better communication - skill building in session, following a step-by-step plan

2. A greater ability to focus on the positive aspects of their relationship

3. A better understanding of the difference between a complaint and a criticism

4. A way to include more "we" time in hectic modern schedules many couples are blessed with

5.  Help in moving out of negative cycles

6. Deeper knowledge of individual trigger points and how to manage them

7. De-escalation of conflict

8.  Help in dealing with perpetual arguments - what to do when one partner keeps bringing up the past

9.  Advice on how to rebuild trust after an affair.

10.  Re-establishment of good humour and friendship

11.  Appreciation of the different love languages and how they affect the relationship

12.  More laughter, more acceptance, more approval.

I use a combination of the top 3 therapies in North America and have taken training in all three:
Gottman Method, Emotionally Focused therapy and Solution Focused Counselling

Call me now for a free 15 minute consultation:   Barb Leigh at 604. 992.1914 

P.S.  Here are examples of the type of homework I give in session - perhaps you could do them now at home!

List 10 ways you could finish this sentence:
"I know you care for me when.............................."

Keep a journal every day for two weeks where you note 5 positive qualities or actions of your partner.

Before you voice a concern or criticism, say at least two things that you have always admired or liked in your partner.  Here's an example:  
I have always thought of you as a highly intelligent, caring and thoughtful human being, so I find it really puzzling when you .................................(fill in the blank with your concern).  

You will be surprised at how loving you feel yourself when you complete these assignments!

Is your relationship flourishing?

Here is what a well-known couples therapist says:

"Flourishing marriages take courage and character, giving and gratitude, vision and vitality."    - Ellen Bader, PhD.

Where are you stongest and weakest in these categories?

Perhaps it is time for a brush-up on marriage/couple skills.  Sometimes a few sessions of marriage counselling can help both members of a couple understand more clearly what they can do to improve the quality of the relationship.  

Call 604-992-1914 for a brief consultation or to make an appointment. 

Perhaps it is stress, or too much caretaking of others, or overwork, or financial worries that threaten the marriage.  In these cases it is important to remember this:

You are not the enemies of each other; you are a team working together to overcome these difficulties.  

 Sometimes a few sessions in front of an impartial couples counsellor is needed.  It is amazing how polite and concerned your partner, and you yourself, can become when your disagreements are witnessed by someone else!  Equally amazing is how the two of you, together with a trained communications expert, can come up with solutions geared to help you navigate these difficult times together and rediscover the love you once felt so profoundly for each other.

Communication Tips in Couples Counselling

Here are some questions to ask yourself the next time you are involved in discussing a concern and are in danger of having that concern escalate to a full-scale shouting match.

1.   Are you more interested in getting your view across than listening to your partner?   Remember she/he has some views on this too and if you listen first, you are more likely to be listened to later.

2.  Have you gone on longer than 3 minutes?   I sometimes use an egg-timer within the couples counselling session, especially when one person has a tendency to take up all the talk time.

3.   Are you stating how you feel instead of hitting back with anger?   This is called counterattack and is a no-no in good couple communication.   Try this instead:

"I feel very hurt by what you just said.  Was that your intention?"  
 or "Wow!  That was harsh!  Am I really that awful?"

Warning!   You may need coaching here or it could go sideways, too!

4.  Are you "sandwiching" your concern or complaint between genuine expressions of appreciation of what your partner does thoughtfully, kindly and regularly?  

5.  Do you occasionally tell your partner "You may be right.  Let me think about it."?  This little phrase immediately drops the reactive adrenalin and allows both of you to calm the heart beat and lower the blood pressure.

6.  Do you ever just laugh and give your partner a big hug before answering?   Did you know that physical touch sends seratonin to the brain and has a calming effect?   This is not to say that you are not taking their concerns seriously; it just means a hug can calm the climate and allow you both to debate the issue with less heat. 

Many more tips are available -  call 604.992.1914 and book your appointment now.   Everyone can benefit from a little or a big brush-up in communication techniques and improve their relationships!

One more hint if you are Facebook fan -  you can go the Gottman Institute [TGI]  and like their page - you will start receiving great articles on marriage and relationships written by the experts!

Barb Leigh Counselling 
301 - 220 Brew St
Port Moody, BC

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