Individual & Relationship Counselling. Wimbledon - Kingston Upon Thames - Putney - Surbiton


communication

Making Love Last

It is that time of year, the sun is shining and days are longer. My life is spent thinking, talking and researching love and what makes it last. I was fascinated to read John Gottman’s psychological research into what makes love last and the five indicators he identified. His work in his relationship lab is able to tell within 94% accuracy if a relationship will last or not.

So, what are these five areas and how can we cultivate and strengthen them in order to bolster the love?

Love lasts if we are able to relate tales that have warmth, affection and respect for each other. If we think and speak about our relationship with fondness and admiration we foster it.

Keeping the focus on “we” as opposed to “me”. Having a clear sense of being in this together and working as a team even if there are disagreements.

Truly knowing our partner. The trick here is keeping a real connection and understanding how our partner ticks. Being curious about what our partner thinks or feels about things keeps us connected.

All relationships face hardships along the way. Love thrives if they can be seen as a way in which a couple pulls together and over comes adversity.

Having a relationship that lives up to expectation or better still perhaps surpasses it in some ways, bodes well. Feeling satisfied and letting our partner know engenders love.

So, before you rush off to buy your card perhaps we could all look towards these five areas. Genuine fondness, making the relationship central, keeping connected, pulling together through tough times and feeling satisfied.

If you are struggling to keep the love alive take heart and know that if we take charge of our relationships we are able to turn things around. In my experience, small changes make all the difference.

Pam Custers

Relationship Therapist
www.pamcusters.co.uk

Perfect Parenting

There is no such thing as the perfect parent. There I said it! Many of us strive for that goal which in its self is not a bad thing but not if it makes us feel like a failure. Children don’t need a super parent, nor the perfect version of you just you with all the imperfections. We can easily get trapped into thinking we have to be perfect at all times. We all have good and bad moments but the key is to know how do we get ourselves back on track when things go awry. There are a range of ways to get things back on track.
Key to good parenting is to model behaviour that we wish our children to have. If you don’t agree, brainstorm with your child different options to tackle the conundrum. Relax about saying the right or wrong thing, make an educated guess and if your little one has more info on the subject be happy about being enlightened. Make mistakes “Oops I interrupted you, sorry” Play with your children, relaxing and just allowing some free play will connect you with your child.
Be kind to yourself; you are learning as much as your children. Parenting is a moving feast if one set of parenting tips doesn’t work that’s ok try something else. If parenting is overwhelming you that’s ok, seeking help is not a sign of failure indeed it shows that you want to have a flourishing family.

Choose your counsellor wisely!

So you are experiencing some problems in your marriage and you have decided that it would be useful to have some couples counselling. This is may be a turning point in your relationship. Deciding on who you are happy to work with and trust is imperative. Finding a well trained and accredited therapist who has experience is key to the process being useful.

Therapist are trained to ask questions but here are some questions you need to ask and why. Is your therapist experienced and trained in couples counselling? Counsellors sadly are not all made equal and the term is not protected. Couples counselling is a complex process and can derail a relationship if done by an inexperienced therapist. A week end work shop is not the same as a three year masters degree. Not all counsellors are trained specifically in relationship counselling. Ask how long the training took place months or years?

Is your counsellor accredited? This is not the same as a membership to an organisation indeed that can often just be a yearly subscription. Key is the word accredited (accred) which means a rigorous process of examination has been passed and compliance to a range of ethical procedures are well and truly in place.

So before you launch yourself into a process that can either be the making or breaking of your most cherished relationship ask these two vital questions. Are you accredited and how long was your training specifically in couples/relationship counselling.

I welcome you to contact me to have this important conversation so that you can make the right decision that can impact so significantly on your future.

The secret art of communication

“Help we might as well be talking different languages!”

“We just don’t communicate very well”

One section in my intake form is on communication. This is often the part that causes the most discussion.  Each person brings with them a different style of communication and it can often feel like our partner might as well be talking a different language!

If we start to feel like our partner is either not “hearing” or if we just can’t understand what our partner needs things can start to come adrift. Couples find ways to short circuit the tension by avoiding certain subjects or by simply not talking. This leads to feeling disconnected or isolated in the relationship. It is often at this stage that I find a couple sitting in front of me for couples counselling. “We feel like we are drifting apart”.

Communication is the cornerstone of every relationship. Surprisingly, whilst we live in a society that bombards us with multiple ways of communicating, we are not always very good at finding a way to be heard and have our needs met. We assume that our partner should simply know what it is that we need. I have sat with many a couple who has one partner saying “but I shouldn’t have to ask him, surely he should know what I want”. Well this is where it all goes wrong. None of us are mind readers and this crystal ball thinking leads us straight to feelings of resentment, disappointment and isolation. What holds us back from asking for our needs to be met?  Perhaps we believe that we have made our needs clear to our partners. Perhaps our partners are flaying around in the dark ever hopeful that they are fulfilling the needs they think they understand you have.

This is the very nub of the work we do. Truly coming to a co-created understanding of, not only how we meet each others needs but also that we find that which is in the best interests for the relationship. The process is about truly understanding each other, where do these needs come from and how can they be met whilst keeping in mind what it is that is in the best interests of the relationship. If we find a way of nurturing the relationship then we nurture ourselves.

So move aside Mystic Meg! Time for some communication that is truly meaningful and useful for your relationship, to meet everyone’s needs and so you can both start to talk the same language. The extraordinary thing is that it often only takes some small steps to turn a relationship into a truly connected one.

Pam Custers is an experienced relationship therapist in Private practice in Wimbledon. She works with individuals, couples and families. Her clients are successful individuals who value her unique approach.