Relationship unravelling? Relationship Counselling can help!
Find out more about relationship counselling:
I offer the following counselling services to couples and individuals at my practices in Ealing and Liverpool Street (Central London).
Why choose relationship counselling with me, Gary Schuller
Relationships can be one of the greatest sources of joy and fulfillment in life. When we experience relationship problems, we feel great pain, disappointment, fear and loneliness.
Conflict is inevitable in relationships with people we love. I believe how we view the conflict makes a big difference in our ability to work through relationship problems. I take a positive view of relationships, including the difficult parts. When you're in the middle of relationship conflict, it's hard to see the difficulties as anything other than negative and heart breaking, but don't throw in the towel! When you think it might be over, it may have just begun.
It may be that your relationship is pushing you to meet the challenge of a new and deeper way of relating. Relationship problems can be opportunities to break out of familiar but unsatisfying patterns and can lead to growth individually and as a couple. I can help you work through a range of relationship issues.
I am a Marriage and Family Therapist (MSc MFT). I have also completed post graduate studies and specialist training in couples therapy through the Centre for Gender Psychology in London. I have extensive experience working with couples, individuals and families on all types of relationship issues.
What is Relationship Counselling / Couples Counselling?
Relationship Counselling is a therapuetic process where couples meet with a trained relationship counsellor weekly or every two weeks to help you explore more deeply what is going on in your relationship. I work with you, step by step, to resolve arguments and decide what you both want.
A key part of the work together is looking at the way you communicate as a couple and identify the patterns that keep you stuck in arguments, and leave you feeling deeply unsatisfied. Together we look at what you can do differently to communicate better, and bring about the changes that can lead to the kind of intimacy you desire.
It's a big step making the decision to talk about your relationship, especially the sensitive issues. It's hard enough sometimes talking with your partner about problems, let alone a complete stranger. Once the decision to seek some help from a professional counsellor has been made, it may be that one of you is more keen on the idea than the other. Perhaps your partner is not sure they want to attend 'therapy' or is not convinced it will help. There is a lot of evidence showing that relationship/couples counsellingcan help couples find solutions to a wide range of issues and enhance their relationship. In my work with couples I create a safe environment where:
- You both begin to explore the issues that really matter to you
- You learn communication skills that help you communicate what matters to you and helps your partner really hear you, perhaps for the first time
- You begin to see the bigger picture of what is going on in your relationship
- You begin to understand the differences between you in a new and potentially very positive way
- You begin to understand how working with your differences in a new way can very quickly bring back intimacy and a feeling of being connected with each other on a deep level
- You learn how to manage the powerful emotions that your relationship stirs up in you
What to expect
Here's what to expect in the first session:
I will begin by asking you questions to help me get to know you as individuals and as a couple. Some of the things we will explore initially are:
- What are the key issues for you as a couple and what do you both hope to get from from counselling?
- What will help your relationship and how can relationship counselling help?
- What is going on for each of you? How do you feel and how does your partner feel?
In this first session you will get a very good sense of how I work and if it feels right for you. In the first session very often couples begin to feel a shift or change. Feeling supported and having the chance to get important thoughts and feelings out in a constructive and well structured environment can bring about positive change very quickly.
Our intimate relationships can be one of the greatest sources of joy and fulfilment in life. Our sense of identity, belonging and connection is very much related to relationships with those we love. When conflict arises in our relationships, it can feel like our world is turned upside down. Couples I work with often talk about feeling 'stuck' in patterns of relating which are painful and deeply unsatisfying. When you are stuck in these patterns it can be hard to see a way out and a sense of despair can set in.
Couple counselling can help you begin to see the patterns that are not meeting your needs and find new ways of relating that can help you grow individually and as a couple.
We learn about how to be in relationships as a child, in the family we grew up in. In every family there are messages and habits about how to relate that are set down in the early years.When we grow up we very often we repeat the patterns we learned as a child. What worked for us as a child, may not work for us as an adult. Often we repeat patterns that didn't work for us in childhood, because they are the only way we know how to be in a relationship.
An important part of couple counselling is learning to understand the messages and habits we may have inherited from the family we grew up in, and learn new more satisfying relationship skills which can help us realise our potential.
Some of the issues couples bring to counselling are:
- difficulty communicating and feeling their partner doesn't really hear what they are saying
- feeling unable to ask for what they want and need from their relationship
- one partner is always wanting connection and time together and the other always seems to be distancing
- issues over jealousy and possessiveness
- different parenting styles, leading to constant arguing over the kids
- step family issues
- no sex or different levels of sexual drive
- the impact of addictions on the relationship
- all work and no play
"All marriages are happy, it's trying to live together afterwards that's the problem." – Shelly Winters
Many couples I see find that soon after getting married conflicts begin to surface and it begins to feel like the 'honeymoon is over'. If you are having this experience, you are not alone. The commitment to marriage is one of the most important life cycle stages in your life. Going through a major life change can bring to the surface issues that can have a profound impact on your relationship.
It can lead to conflict. An important point to remember is that conflict in itself is not a problem, in fact it's normal. How you deal with the conflict in your relationship is the key. When you are in the middle of conflict it can be hard to see a way forward. Maybe you keep trying the same solutions that aren't working. Marriage counselling provides the structure, support and advice to help you understand how you can strengthen your emotional bond and work things through.
Coming for marriage counselling doesn’t mean your relationship issues are any worse than what other couples experience. Seeking support from a trained counsellor does mean that rather than suffering and making do, you are motivated to improve your relationship. That's a great place to start and a lot of good can come from that.
Preparing for Marriage
Premarital counselling is a great way to prepare for getting married whether you are getting married for the first time or making a new start. Premarital counselling is a form of relationship counselling looking at hopes, fears, expectations around getting married.
Give yourself the chance to :
- Create a firm foundation for dealing with arguments and differences
- Understand what each other is bringing to the relationship
- Understand each other’s needs more clearly
- Appreciate what you bring to the relationship as a man and as a woman
- Have a safe space to explore your expectations of each other
- Instep families learn how to deal with the pull of different loyalties and demands of forming a new family with step-children
Sessions are the same price and length as for relationship counselling sessions. I ask you questions about each other to help explore hopes, fears, concerns about your relationship and your expectations of marriage.
I don't offer a structured programme lasting a set number of sessions. Instead we explore what comes up and see where it takes us. Usually the first session is a useful exploration of how things are going, a chance to express the stress of arranging a wedding and to get some reassurance - is it normal we are arguing so much over the wedding or other things! Is it Ok that we don't argue at all? In the first session we get clear what areas to focus on and what you both need. Typically couples come for 1-4 sessions sometimes longer.
Counselling for Affairs and Betrayals
Many couples I work with come to relationship counselling in the hope of working through feelings arising by the discovery of an affair or betrayal.
Trust is at the very foundation of intimate relationships. It takes time to build trust, and in a moment it can be shattered. The discovery of an affair or betrayal turns a couples world upside down. Very strong feelings of shock, anger and guilt come between partners. For many, the question of whether they can ever trust their partner again must be addressed. How to rebuild trust is at the core of the crisis in the relationship.
The reasons people have affairs, keep secrets and betray the trust of their partners is complex and varies with each person. A lot depends on personal circumstances, individual needs and the state of the relationship. Very often an affair happens because there was something between the couple that couldn't be spoken about. Couples I work with wonder if their relationship can survive the impact of the affair. A betrayal changes a relationship profoundly. In my experience working through the painful feelings surrounding the affair and beginning to understand what led to it, can strengthen the bond between people. This is not easy and professional support from a counsellor experienced in working with betrayals of trust can be a vital source of support as the couple moves forward in their lives together.
In my work with couples I provide a safe, structured environment where you can begin to:
- make sense of what happened
- ask and honestly answer questions
- work through painful feelings
- begin to understand and grieve the impact the betrayal has had on the relationship
- talk through concerns about trust and how to move forward
- rebuild connection
If you are in a relationship and are looking for support and guidance on issues between you and your partner, you may find couples counselling to be the most effective way of addressing your relationship issues. Think of a relationship as a dance and the way you and your partner interact as steps in that dance. If the steps aren't helping the dance flow and you are 'stepping on each others toes' you need to find new steps that work for both of you. The best way to discover those new steps is to explore your options together.
However there are times when you may prefer to explore relationship issues through individual counselling. It may be that at this time your partner is not ready to begin counselling and you want to find ways you as an individual can meet the challenges of your relationship.
You may not be in a relationship at present but want to have time to reflect on past relationships and how your experiences from the past are effecting the way you feel about relationships and your willingness to enter into new relationships.
You may be grieving the loss of an intimate relationship and need the support of a professional counsellor to help you understand and manage all the feelings you are experiencing around that loss.
Individual counselling can be a rich and rewarding experience where you are able to explore your thoughts and feelings in a supportive and caring environment.
Family counselling is an approach to understanding and treating relationship problems by working with the whole family, rather than with individuals. In my work with whole families, we focus on exploring and understanding each family member's feelings, thoughts and ways of being in the family, within the context of the family.
There is a lot of evidence to show that working through relationship problems, with the whole family, is a very effective way of finding solutions to family problems. While it is true that many of our problems can have their roots in family relationships, it is also true that the solutions to many of our problems are to be found in resolving problems within our families.
Every family has resources that can be harnessed to help find solutions to family problems. When you are in the middle of a problem, it can be difficult to identify and connect with the resources already available to you. As a family therapist I can help families identify and reconnect with family strengths that can lead to solutions to family problems.
Some of the issues families bring to family therapy are:
- school difficulties
- child and adolescent problems
- step family conflicts
- marital issues
- illness in the family
Counselling Locations, Fees & Appointments
- Couples £80 for 60 mins
- Individuals £60 for 60 mins
NOTE: Currently only booking Skype / FaceTime sessions
Counselling services in Central Ealing:
NAOS Institute, 3 Montpelier Avenue, Ealing, W5 2XP
5 minute walk from Ealing Broadway tube station
Counselling services in South Ealing:
12B Saint Mary's Road, Ealing, W5 5ES
5 minute walk from South Ealing or Ealing Broadway tube stations
Counselling services in Central London: Liverpool Street Practice
Victoria Avenue, Bishopsgate, EC2M
2 minute walk from Liverpool Street Station