Psychotherapy for couples

Is your relationship worth investing in? Really, is it worth it? Are you both willing to face each other and yourselves in order to explore what is going on between you and take responsibility for your part in it? Are you both willing to change?

At their best relationships can be loving and supportive containers that allow each partner to learn from the other and, through creating harmony together, to develop as individuals far faster than they would have been able to on their own. At their worst they are miserable prisons that the inmates choose to stay in because they are afraid to escape.

I can work with you both to create intimacy between you.  I will coach you to come together and develop your presence, empathy, and honesty.  I cannot promise that you will choose to stay together.  I can promise that, whatever the outcome, you will both get to know more about yourself, more about your partner, and more about how to be with another person right here, right now.

Taking the first step is often the most challenging. When you are ready you can request a free 30 minute consultation, or call me on 020 7377 1918 so we can talk about your unique situation.

Intimate relationships often start with an intoxicating rush of lust and romantic love. We are attracted to people who complete us and the feeling when we meet someone who does is magical. Unfortunately, with time the magic fades, our rose tinted glasses fall to the ground and we are faced with the reality of an imperfect partner who does things that reveal the hurts inside of us. Romantic love can quickly turn into blame and resentment. Often emotional and sexual issues are very much linked.  When things get really bad, and often as a final resort, couples turn to therapy.

Couple therapy … what I don’t do

I went to couple therapy once.  My partner and I sat on a sofa and the highly qualified therapist sat on a high chair at the other side of the room.  We politely took it in turns to tell the therapist about what our partner did to piss us off, and how that made us feel.  The therapist nodded and empathised with the speaker … while the other partner quietly fumed.  At times the therapist told us about some theory or other, at times she asked us if there were certain things that we could agree to do more or less of.  We hardly looked at each other.  It hardly made any difference to how we were together.

The therapy cost a fortune and the 50 minute session was over in a flash, but it gradually brought us together on one issue: that we should ditch the therapist and keep the money in our pocket.

Couple therapy … what I do do

I serve the connection between you both.  I will coach you both to face towards each other, to be present with each other, to be honest with each other.

Before the session I usually ask both partners to do some individual preparation work. Typically I’ll ask you to write down what you would like from the sessions and to give me a brief personal history.

When we are in the room together I’ll usually start by asking you both, for 13 minutes, to discuss your relationship issues with each other.  Basically, to have your most typical row.  This gives an opportunity for me to see how you are with each other.

When the 13 minutes is up I will stop you.  I will ask you to reflect on the experience.  I will ask you what you noticed about your bodies, your energy, the space in-between you both.

The space in between is the place where the relationship lives.  This is the space I’ll be working with.  Initially you may feel separate and turned away.  This is a defensive stance.  I will coach you back into intimacy – to turn towards each other and to get closer.

The majority of our work will be done with both of you sitting opposite each other, holding hands, looking into each others’ eyes.  This physical intimacy begins to form the connection between you.

From here I will invite you to take it in turns to invite the other person into your world – one is the visitor, the other is the host.  If you are the visitor I will coach you to leave your world behind and travel across to your partners world.  I will coach you to rest there with full presence and no judgement as you take in what it is like for them to be there.  If you are the host then your job is to show your visitor around, to be honest and to make yourself understood – both on a rational level and an emotional level.  And it does tend to get emotional!  This is intimacy: Into Me See.

The attractions and repulsions experienced in our intimate relationship are usually the tip of the iceberg.  The things that resonate between us usually have their roots in our previous relationships … especially in our family of origin.  All of these deep issues can be worked through using this hosting and visiting process – it is the connection between you both that becomes the healing thing.

Towards the end of each session I’ll usually work with you both to choose appropriate homework assignments. These will usually be quite pleasant or interesting to complete and will often build on or practice techniques learned in the session.

Session length and therapy duration

Many therapists work a 50 minute ‘hour’ with average fees in London ranging from £40 to £140 for this time. It is quite usual for therapists to charge more when working with couples than they do with individuals.

In my experience 50 minutes is just not long enough for us to settle down, get into deep work, work through it, and close the session properly. When you also consider the time you both invest travelling to and from the session I believe longer sessions offer far greater value for money. I charge the same for couples and individuals – I figure you are paying for my time. While I can see the value of a regular therapy meeting I also recognize that busy people have diaries that change from week to week. I prefer to offer flexible appointments that you can book week to week and are free to move or cancel so long as you give me at least 48 hours notice. If one partner can’t make it at short notice I’m happy to see the partner who can make it for an individual session (we will confront this if it becomes a pattern).

I usually see couples once a week for the first few weeks. As we work through more stuff and as things start to settle down it is usual for us to meet less frequently and, potentially, for us to meet for individual sessions. How long does therapy last? My answer is ‘for as long as it offers you good value for money’.

If you are interested in the possibility of working together you can request a free 30 minute consultation, or call me on 020 7377 1918 so we can talk about your unique situation.

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