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


wimbledon

Are you lonely in your relationship?

Connection is the corner stone of all good relationships.I have worked with so many people who often sit in my room and talk about the fact that they are not particularly unhappy but they feel like they are living parallel lives. There is nothing as painful as feeling alone within a relationship.

Loneliness and isolation has the same impact on our lives and our longevity as being a heavy smoker according to research. Isolation fundamentally impacts our well-being. Feeling connected is the corner stone of being human. The moment we take our very first breath we are in a relationship with our mother or primary caretaker. We take our first breath and we are not looking for food but looking for connection. The way our needs are responded to develops our internal working model of the world. Those early years form a template by which we engage with our world and all our relationships through out our lives. That template is seen most keenly in our love relationships.

There are three main types of connecting (they are neither good nor bad simply different like the colour of our eyes) and whilst our partners or loved ones may temper our attachment style, in times of stress we revert back to type. Understanding our attachment style and how we make connections can be the mysterious key that unlocks our ability to connect. When we embrace the style that we have developed over time we are able to connect in a way that provides us with the nurturance our soul desires. Love becomes something that we experience because we feel heard and accepted the way we experience each other is open accessible and engaged.

Research has shown that our physiology changes when we have meaningful dialogue that allows us to feel connected. I am always blown away by how our sense of connection and love is transforming at such deep physiological level never mind psychological level.

This year lets open up ways to have meaningful connection. This can be with all our loved ones. Those connections can be cultivated in non romantic relationships too. So in essence I wish us all a truly connected year,

If you are curious about what attachment style you are stay connected. If you know someone who would like to know more about how relationships work. Please pass this on.
Pam

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.

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!