Couple Therapy in Leeds
Therapy as a couple is both ordinary and deep. The ordinary part is learning to listen better and how to speak authentically from yourself without triggering your partner.
And the deep:- “I think marriage is the hottest furnace of the spirit today. Much more difficult than solitude, much more challenging for people who want to work on themselves. It’s a situation in which there are no alibis, excruciating most of the time … but it’s only in this situation that any kind of work can be done.”
—Leonard Cohen in a letter to Paul Williams, 1975
Each of us need recognition to come fully into the person we have in us to be. This is a need in child and adulthood. The thing is as we grow and live we change, so recognitions break down and have to be remade. Having a live relationship requires being present to oneself and to the other person, requires each person to speak up for themselves, AND to be able to listen, really listen. And this is where it gets interesting, surprisingly interesting. You would think that we all know how to have conversations, it had never dawned on me that was more to learn.
My first experience of couple's therapy was a workshop with Hedy and Yumi Schleifer. (https://hedyschleifer.com/) There instead of immediately responding to something my partner said I learned to repeat with some care what I'd heard. I thought I was a good listener, I discovered when ‘listening’ I was actually preparing what I wanted to say next.
It was a confrontation and a revelation that I was occupied by my own thoughts. Speaking what I'd heard my partner say created a space of hearing in me, and I could see the effect on my loved one of being heard. It was awkward at first, but with guidance from the therapist this process of careful listening and repetition, and of being listened to, met needs in both of us. Saying what I'd heard replaced that ‘preparation’ with felt experience of connection between us. My partner’s softening at feeling heard in turn affected me, and I came to learn that communicating with your partner is simultaneously an exploration of oneself.
Since then I have trained extensively in Imago Relationship Therapy that integrates well with Jungian theory and practice.
My teachers have been Sophie Slade https://sophieslade.com/, also Sue Wintgens, https://www.suewintgens.co.uk/ and Yumi Schleifer. https://hedyschleifer.com/ who each developed their own form of ecounter centred practice.
It's an exasperating truism that problems showing up in a marriage or partnership are opportunities for growth for each person. Inevitably each of us bring patterns of relating from our pasts into our relationships.
Committing yourselves to a process of therapy as a couple can give you the means to repair dis-functional relationships in the past and enable you to be present, creative and playful.
Couple therapy will improve:
- your listening
- your ability to speak up for yourself.
- To speak in a way that ensures listening
You will learn
- how to make things feel safe
- how to create connection
- plus you’ll probably come to have more fun and better sex!
If you and your partner are in crisis I may well be able you help you to find the next steps so you can create change.
Skills that will last you a lifetime
I have huge respect and love for the Imago dialogue structure that informs my work with couples. In keeping with each aspect of my practice it enables the emergence of understandings between you and your partner.
What you will learn in relationship therapy are real keys to happiness and making changes you want happen. It will give skills to improve all your relating that will last you a lifetime.
An Investment of time and Money
This is an investment of time and money, one that will give you and your partner the tools to thrive. Really! It’s down to earth and rewarding, giving you the means to create safety, affection, trust, passion, interest; to make change possible with your partner.
Couples are often stuck in roles of complainer and complained-about. What regularly happens is that the process challenges each person’s assumptions and there can be a shared companionship in a learning journey.
How Things Ought to Be
Many of us tend to have beliefs about how things ought to be that get in the way of having connection with your partner. Some couples come saying surely with problems like these we ought not to be together. It’s a cliché to say that problems are learning opportunities, I’m sorry to say it’s true! Having therapy as a couple is challenging but very do-able, and you will have achieved a lot by turning up for your first session.
There’s a shift to be made from being frustrated to realising how you and your partner can be effective in making things better.
Your children live in the space you create between you. Learning how to make that space work better, how to communicate well, gives them a good environment.
The process of improving communications can also be very helpful when couples need to separate.
Finding the right therapist
Finding the right therapist for you and your partner is so important. You are welcome to make an appointment to see if I’m the right one for you, and for me to see how I may be most helpful to you.
Doing Imago Relationship Therapy In the space-between. Harville Hendrix and Helen Lakelly Hunt Norton 2021
The Vibrant Relationship: A Handbook for Couples and Therapists (Systemic Thinking and Practice Series) by Kirsten Seidenfaden and Piet Draiby (Paperback – Mar 2011)
I highly recommend workshops for couples held by:
Ian Tomlinson in Manchester https://affinitycentre.co.uk/course/getting-the-love-you-want-couples-workshop/
Sophie Slade gettingtheloveyouwant.com
Sue and Bret Wintgens http://www.suewintgens.co.uk.