There is no such thing as a perfect marriage and almost every couple can benefit from some help at different times during their relationship. You don’t need to be in a distressed marriage to seek help. Many couples with very solid relationships choose couples counseling to enhance their existing relationships.
Let’s begin with ‘no one’ is a perfect partner. Marriage is a journey and depends on a number of skills, including the ability to understand yourself, to understand your partner, how to fight fairly, how to effectively problem solve, and how to negotiate differences. Quite often the patterns we learned from our families of origin are not effective but have been carried over to our marriages. And sometimes, it is the stresses of life that make it difficult to stay happily married.
The ‘good news’ is given a willingness to work on the relationship most couples can make their marriages satisfying again. This requires a building or a of rebuilding skills that work within a marriage, such as learning to communicate effectively, how to problem solve, and how to fight fairly without engaging in too much hurt. This is about learning to see one another as the individuals we are, to understand where ‘the other’ is coming from and to negotiate the differences. This is about seeing the differences that can be negotiated and accept those that cannot.
Marital distress is different from the regular ups and downs of life that many couples experience. These couples feel fundamentally dissatisfied with their relationships and/or marriages. The disappointment in the relationship doesn’t just come and go – it becomes a constant companion. Generally these couples fight a good deal without resolution, leading to the sense of being worn out ‘I can’t do this anymore – it is too much!’
Then, there are those couples who simply may not fight and feel disconnected. They stop doing nice things for each other, they stop communicating to one another, and their life tends to go from bad to worse. The frequent arguments go unresolved, there is a loss of good feelings, there is a loss of friendship, of sex, and vitality. These are all signs that the marriage is in distress. Contempt, withdrawal, violence, a complete loss of connection are all signals that the marriage is in desperate trouble and at a high risk for divorce.
There are other problems that may arise from individual issues such as substance abuse, or a shattering event like an extramarital affair. These have powerful effects on both partners, which can lead to worry, great sadness, high levels of tension, anxiety, and other problems such as depression.
As couples we all have key issues that stay with us. The solution to unlocking these processes is finding and building effective communication skills, learning how to talk about these issues, how to find the solutions, and not have problems that emerge from our lives that become overwhelming.
My goal in ‘couples work’ is to build a mutual respect and the freedom for each person to be ‘who they are.’ To accomplish this goal we work together to increase the communication skills between each of you within the relationship, and identify the issues that are causing dissatisfaction within the relationship. You will learn how to negotiate your way through the difficult situations, while building mutual respect for one another. Practices on how you can be more loving to one another will be built upon.
I am on the side of the relationship when working with couples. I am not on the side of either of the individuals in the couple. During couples sessions my work is geared toward resolving the issues that interfere with you having the fulfilling relationship you deserve. With this I am willing to serve.
Session length 90 Minutes
Note: There maybe times during couples work that the couple may be asked to do individual work to resolve their own personal issues that seem to interfere with their ability to have the relationship they want.
Here is what some of our couples had to share about their counselling experience with Lorraine:
[testimonial company=”August 1st 2011, Schiedam, The Netherlands” author=”Erik H. van der Graaf ” ] Dear Lorraine,
Yesterday we got back in Holland after a vacation in Canada which we will cherish for always. Next to meeting up with our friends and spending a wonderful time in your country yet again, the sessions we have had with you made our trip all the more memorable. We understood that you would like us to provide some sort of a testimonial regarding your counselling and obviously we are more than happy and honored to do so.
Through just two of your sessions you have made me aware of the most vital aspects in my relationship. These include the necessity of communicating in such a way that your partner really understands what you feel and want to get across, focus both on your partner and yourself at any point and don’t take anything for granted or assume your partner can feel and understand what you feel deep down inside and in every detail. Furthermore your approach has made me much more aware of who I really am, thus allowing me to express myself far more clearly and effectively than ever before.
Without any hesitation I do recommend your expertise and methods to anyone dealing with a dysfunctional relationship and as a stepping stone for enduring true love and understanding.[/testimonial]