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


counselling

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.

Who would benefit from relationship therapy?

From the time we take our first breath we are relational in nature. Relationships are vital for our wellbeing and happiness. I work with all relationships including those that are seeking one. I work with people who are stressed anxious or isolated. Couples who are perhaps no longer communicating or are feeling like the relationship is falling into a rut or perhaps need to resolve bigger issues around infidelity, money or children. Families who are going through a divorce. When we are feeling good about our relationships we are able to manage life’s stresses better.

How rewarding is relationship therapy?

That is often a question in the minds of people who are about to start couple therapy. Starting therapy is daunting. Most comment how much calmer they feel after the first session. My role is to keep in mind what it is that the couple wish to achieve and from that point remain on the side of the relationship and which enables me to remain neutral, find the strengths and develop meaningful communication. The vast majority of my clients find the rewards are great and often remark that they wish they had come earlier.

What would you say is key to making a good relationship?

Gosh! Well how long have you got. I think key to having a healthy fulfilling relationship is having the ability to negotiate difference. What I mean by that is that often we are not very good about communicating nor negotiating our needs to be met. Our partners are often very different (and difference is good in a relationship) but we have often not got the skills to negotiate what is in the best interest for the relationship. People are often fearful that it will take huge shifts and changes to get a relationship back on track. In my experience it often requires small but important changes that make a big impact.

How do you work?

I work with clients at my practice in Wimbledon. I also run a very successful workshops for people who wish to enhance their emotional wellbeing.

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.

How to save a relationship

I hold sessions with a couple whose relationship has turned around, grown and discovered its mojo. Their occasional sessions are affirming, not only for them but for me as well. It keeps me mindful that working with others to make meaningful changes is very rewarding – if not life changing. We were about to say goodbye when the woman asked: “What would you say is the most important thing to know before starting a marriage?”

There are as many answers as there are relationships. If we go beyond love and respect and look to something a little grittier, it is the ability to embrace difference in a relationship. Not that we are different from our partner – that is a given, More importantly we must consider how as a couple we approach those differences. We must understand how and more importantly why.

“Negotiating difference!” I answered with a smile. They laughed knowingly.

What is relationship therapy?

In April 2014 I was invited to contribute an article to Darling magazine on relationship therapy, which you can find here within the online copy of the magazine. I am continuing my relationship with the magazine over the coming months so have a look out for my articles in upcoming issues!