Does marriage counselling and relationship counselling really work?

Does marriage counselling and relationship counselling really work?

 

When your relationship is in trouble and you have tried all you know to fix it, it can get very frustrating and disappointing, as the loving feelings that brought you together in the first place are are often buried under layers of negativity, pain, arguments or coldness.

If you are like most people, you like to keep your personal problems to yourself. Most of us don’t like airing our dirty laundry in public. However, when you have done all you know how to resolve your relationship problems, and it is not working, then there is the option of going to a marriage or relationship counsellor.

Most people want to be sure that in going to this trouble, that it is going to be worth the effort; that the counsellor will be able to offer them some positive solutions that they can’t find on their own.

Marriage Counselling can help you

Successful relationship counselling and marriage counselling does just this, and does this for a reason.

Albert Einstein once said, “You cant solve a problem from the same consciousness that created it. You must learn to see the world anew”

This is the reason that a good marriage counsellor can help you. To begin with, none of us has been taught how to have a good relationship. Even though it is an absolutely essential skill for us to have as humans, no-one teaches us. We are left to either follow our parents model, or alternatively do the opposite, as we didn’t like the way we were raised. But mostly we are operating in the dark.

So that is the first thing that good relationship counselling offers you:  Education on how to have a good relationship. We have taken the time to learn these skills so we can show you how.

Additionally, and just as importantly, a good marriage counsellor can give you insight into why your particular relationship is not working, and what each of you are doing that might be contributing to it. This insight is like gold to a couple experiencing problems, because it offers the specific way out of the conflict for your unique situation.

What to expect from Marriage Counselling

Usually we recommend that the earlier you can recognise you have a problem, and the sooner you can come into relationship counselling, the easier the process.

Having said that, however, what happens for most people is that they leave it until one partner is almost ready to walk out the door, and then make an appointment.

Strangely, counselling at this time can also work very effectively too, as, although your problems are usually larger by this time, also can be your motivation to look at what is happening and your part in it, when your whole relationship is at risk.

Whenever you decide that you need some help,  good counselling can give you insight that you have been missing and offer a new way forward for a relationship often far better than you can imagine.

Check our our blog on will my partner change if I bring him to counselling.

Marriage Counselling

More next week.

Warmly

Julie

 

Why do my relationships not go the way I want them to?

Have you ever wondered why your relationships don’t go the way you want  them to despite your best efforts?

It all starts way back when you were growing up.

As a child, we all need respect, understanding, empathic attunement & mirroring of ourselves from  our parents or caregivers.

We need our parents to serve as a mirror to us, to see us clearly, to respond appropriately to our feelings, to reflect them back to us, reassuring us that they are ok, and reflect our core goodness and potential back to us.

It is only in doing this that we get to know who we really are and appreciate ourselves and feel confident about developing towards adulthood.

Unfortunately, most parents are unable to do this, as they themselves have not received this level of empathic attunement for themselves. They see their children through the dark coloured distorted glasses of their own limited perceptions of themselves, as well as their own hopes, fears, expectations and unmet needs.

They simply couldn’t give us the kind of recognition they never gave themselves, nor allow us to have feelings, needs or sensitivities they never allowed themselves to have either.

This provides an incredibly challenging situation that many children have to find a way to deal with.

To the extent that we don’t receive this empathic attunement of ourselves as a child, we grow up feeling that there is something wrong with us, or our experience; that we are in some way deficient, unworthy or unacceptable, or that we don’t exist or are  completely insignificant.

This is experienced as deeply hurtful, and this core wound and sense of emptiness can haunt us for the rest of our lives.

This attachment wound then can play itself out in a myriad of ways:

– At a level sometimes below our consciousness, we can feel deeply hurt & in shock and so we shut down our natural openness of our being

– We can have very little awareness of our real emotions and needs, as we have had no or very little validation of them.

– We can protect our sense of safety by believing that our parents must be right, and therefore we develop a haunting sense of deficiency and poor self esteem, and a most primal core belief that “I am deficient, I am unworthy, I am unacceptable, I don’t exist”

– We can develop a False Self/ Ego/ Rigid Personality which gives us:   

                          An identity

                          A sense of control and safety in the world.

                          A sense of superiority

                         An avoidance of vulnerability

But can also give us:

A lack of empathy and compassion to ourselves and others

A lack of openness and softness to ourselves and others

A sense of numbness and inner emptiness

And a life that feels flat, stale and joyless

– We can medicate ourselves by getting addicted to TV, alcohol, material success, food, social media, shopping, love, spirituality and many other things, to numb the feeling of emptiness 

– We relate in all our relationships from a rigid personality and an Insecure Attachment style 

– We have no idea of who we really are

So, our relationship with our parents helps shape our brain in a way that was highly adaptive to the circumstances we found ourselves in. We survived, we adapted and we did the best we could.

However, this closing down emotionally and feeling poorly about ourselves shapes our neural processes, self-esteem and emotional regulation capacities throughout our later life, as well as how securely we feel attached in our relationships.

Additionally all of these aspects play out over and over again in all our subsequent relationships, becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy as we behave toward new people in ways that reproduce old negative relationships.

In this way almost all of us have ongoing life experiences that repeatedly reinforce earlier learned patterns of being in the world with others.

I will talk more about Attachment in the next few blogs. How secure our attachments are and what our attachment styles are, are very important components in understanding why our relationships don’t work the way we would like them.

Stay tuned for more information on understanding your attachment styles in the next couple of weeks.

If you are needing more information and help with your specific relationship click here for information on what our relationship counselling can offer.

More on how secure you feel in your relationship in our next blog.

Warmest regards

Julie

4 Steps to H-E-A-L your Relationship when it goes Off track

 

Even the strongest relationships get off track sometimes, because of the stresses of living,  mismatches in expectations or either of us being triggered from wounds from the past.

Melanie Greenberg has developed a simple 4 step  H-E-A-L  (Hear – Empathize – Act – Love) technique to repair damaged relationships by replacing defensive self-protection with compassionate presence and loving connection.

HEAR – To Hear Your Partner, Stay Present & Listen

When your partner speaks, make an effort to stay mentally present & listen. Open your heart and take down your defenses. It’s not about defending yourself, but about trying to understand your partner & learning to fulfill each other’s needs.

Listen beyond his/her words for nonverbal signs of emotion. Does he/she have an angry expression on his/ her face or sadness in his/her eyes? Is his/her body language open and reaching towards you or closed off and guarded?

What do you think your partner is feeling? What are the needs he/she has that are not being met (such as for love, companionship, understanding, control,or respect)?

The best way to soothe an angry spouse is to let him know that you hear and & accept his/her unmet needs and are willing to make changes to help meet them.

EMPATHIZE – Allow Your Partner’s Experience to Deeply Affect you

Once you think you understand what your partner feels and have checked it out with him, pay attention to what feelings YOU have when you observe him feeling this way.

It is especially important to search beneath the surface for the softer, tender feelings. My clients often express anger when what lies underneath is feeling stuck, sad, or lonely.

Can you stay present with your partner, and connect with his/her deeper experience, perhaps feeling pain because he/she is in pain?

Can you feel compassion, and let him/her know that his/her expression of pain or anger affects you deeply?

Your first instinct in hearing your partner’s distress may be to try to solve the problem or give advice. Often this advice comes across as critical or judgmental, which makes things worse.

On the other hand, staying emotionally engaged and expressing compassion can provide healing comfort and connection. Many times, that is all he/she needs.

ACT – Take Action to Address Concerns & Show Willingness to Change

The next step is to commit to intentional action to address your partner’s needs and concerns.

These actions can range from helping more with the dishes to calling your partner during the day to let him/her know you are thinking of him/her, to spending less money because it makes her/him anxious.

When your partner sees that you take his/her concerns seriously, he/she will be more likely to feel valued and respected.

This can create a positive cycle in which he/she appreciates you and feels more loving towards you.

You don’t have to be perfect at it – just the fact that you care and are trying to change is enough to help most people feel validated.

 LOVE – Feel and Express Unconditional Love

Make space in your life to deliberately reconnect with the loving feelings you have for your partner, even if recent interactions have made you feel distant or angry.

Think about the good qualities he/she has that originally attracted you to him/her.  Perhaps look at old photos or visualize special times in your relationship and the hopes and dreams you had together.

Can you find a way to forgive yourself and your partner for the mistakes you have both made that got you off track? What do these feelings of love motivate you to do? Might you want to reach out to him/her and express your love and affection physically or with action, such as cooking a meal or writing a note?

Love is defined as a concern for another’s wellbeing and a warm feeling you have towards another. Do not make your expressions of love contingent on what your partner does, but rather reach out and express unconditional caring, support, understanding and forgiveness.

If there are unresolved trust issues that hamper your ability to love your partner freely, think about the next steps you could take to air these issues and what it would take to rebuild trust.

SUMMARY

Contrary to the way relationships are portrayed in the movies, they are not all sunsets and roses. A better analogy is that of an ever-changing, complicated dance.

When two people come together with different life histories, sensitivities, and current stresses, you are bound to bump up against each other or get blown off track over the course of a many-year relationship.

Repair your relationship using the H-E-A-L technique. By Hearing, Empathizing, Acting to Change, & Loving, you are actively reaching for your partner and letting them know that they matter and you care. This should create HEALING energy to move your relationship back to health.

If you need further help with any of these techniques, give us a ring and book in for a relationship counselling session.

More on why our relationship not go the way we want them to in in our next blog.

Warmest regards

JUlie

Why do relationships get into trouble?

Lets look  firstly at why we choose to be in a relationship in the first place. We are individuals that seek union and connection.

As humans, we have 2 intrinsic life forces: one that drives us toward our own individual self expression, and the other force that drives us towards togetherness.

Individuality and self respect.

We all have a need to express our individuality, our individual desires and personal identity, our interests, thoughts, feeling and views, and to exercise our will to make our life happen in the way we desire it.

 

Togetherness and emotional connection.

We also have a fundamental need for emotional connection, and a fear of losing it. We want to feel emotionally safe with each other, and know we can depend on our partner, that he/she iRelationship problemss there for us, that they will respond when you call, and that you matter to them, and are valued and are accepted by them.

From my experience counselling 1000s of couples in relationship counselling, relationship and marriage problems arise when we experience either or both of the following:

  1. Loss of our self, or the full expression of our self, or
  2. Emotional disconnection from our partner

 

These are at the core of all relationship problems. If your relationship is not what you would like it to be, it can be worthwhile asking yourself the following questions:

  1. Where in my relationship, have I lost myself, my true desires, or what is important to me?
  2. Where in my relationship have I lost connection with my partner?Is my partner accessible to me, responsive to me, and positively engaged with me?

 

These are important markers of why you relationship may not be working for you. Relationship and marriage counselling can help rebuild these for you.

More on are you neglecting your relationship in our next blog.

Warm regards

Julie

Discovering your Enneagram Type, as well as your favourite movie stars

 

Following on from last week, the first step in understanding yourself and others is to identify what type you have come into this life pre-wired as.

The following is a broad overview of the nine types of human nature. As you can see, it can be fun to also identify movie stars and people we all know as well, and to be able to see the common patterns amongst them.

 

Type One. The Reformer.

The principled, idealistic Type. One’s are ethical and conscientious, with a strong sense of right and wrong. They are teachers and crusaders, always striving to improve things but afraid of making a mistake. Well organized, orderly, and fastidious, they try to maintain high standards but can slip into being critical and perfectionistic. They  typically have problems with repressed anger  ( resentment) and impatience. At their best, healthy Ones are wise, discerning, realistic, and noble, as well as morally heroic.

Examples of ones are Jack Canfield, Robert Kiyosaki, Batman, Superman, Plato and Gandhi

If you are a One, you can begin the process of your growth by beginning to hand back the responsibility for things to others, and increase your fun and relaxation.

 

Type Two. The Helper.

The caring, interpersonal type. Twos are empathetic, sincere, and warm hearted. They are friendly, generous, and self sacrificing, but they can also be sentimental, flattering, and people pleasing. They are driven to be close to others, and they often do things for others in order to be needed. They typically have problems taking care of themselves and acknowledging their needs. At their best, healthy Twos are unselfish and altruistic and have unconditional love for themselves and others.

Examples of Twos are Jennifer Anistan, Princess Diana, Weary Dunlop, Florence Nightingale.

If you are a Two, you can begin the process of your growth by exploring what your own needs are and starting to supply them for yourself.

 

Type Three. The Achiever.

The adaptable, success oriented type. Threes are self assured, attractive and charming. Ambitious, competitive and energetic, they can also be status-conscious and highly driven for personal advancement. Threes are often concerned about their image and what others think of them. They typically have problems with workaholism and competitiveness. At the best, healthy Threes are self accepting, authentic, and everything they seem to be – role models who inspire others.

Examples of Threes are Tom Cruise, Donald Trump, Tony Robbins, Bill Clinton, Madonna, Christopher Skase and Barbara Streisand.

If you are a Three, you can begin the process of your growth by stopping doing what you are doing, and exploring who you really are.

 

Type Four. The Individualist.

The romantic, introspective type. Fours are self aware, sensitive, reserved and quiet. They are self revealing, emotionally honest, and personal, but they can also be moody and self conscious. Withholding themselves from others due to feeling vulnerable and defective, they can also feel disdainful and exempt from ordinary ways of living. They typically have problems with self indulgence and self pity. At the best, healthy Fours are inspired and highly creative, able to renew themselves and transform their experiences.

Examples of Fours are Angelina Jolie, Oscar Wilde, David Bowie, Jackie Onassis and Johnny Depp.

If you are a Four, you can begin your process of growth by focusing on what you have that is positive.

 

Type Five. The Investigator.

The intense, cerebral type. Fives are alert, insightful, and curious. They are able to concentrate and focus on developing complex ideas and skills. Independent and innovative, they can become preoccupied with their thoughts and imaginary constructs. They become detached, yet high strung and intense. They typically have problems with isolation, eccentricity, and nihilism. At their best, healthy Fives are visionary pioneers, often ahead of their time and able to see the world in an entirely different way.

Examples of Fives are Bill Gates, Barry Jones, Prince Charles and Geoffrey Robertson.

If you are a Five, you can begin your process of growth by trying to stay present in your body and emotions rather than retreating into your mind.

 

Type Six. The Loyalist.

The committed security oriented type. Sixes are reliable, hardworking and responsible, but they can also be defensive, evasive and highly anxious – running on stress while complaining about it. They are often cautious and indecisive but can also be reactive, defiant and rebellious. They typically have problems with self doubt and suspicion. At their best, healthy Sixes are internally stable, self confident, and self reliant, courageously supporting the weak and powerless.

Examples of Sixes are  Julia Gillard, Jo Belke Peterson, John Howard, Mel Gibson and Osama bin Laden.

If you are a Six, you can help your growth by looking inward for your own inner guidance rather than from the outside world.

 

Type Seven. The Enthusiast.

The busy, productive type. Sevens are versatile, optimistic and spontaneous. Playful, high spirited and practical, they can also be overextended, scattered and undisciplined. They constantly seek new and exciting experiences, but they can become distracted and exhausted by staying on the go. They typically have problems with superficiality and impulsiveness. At their best, healthy Sevens focus their talents on worthwhile goals, becoming joyous, highly accomplished and full of gratitude.

Examples of Sevens are Billy Connelly, Steven Speilberg, Sarah Ferguson and Bette Midler.

If you are a Seven, you can begin your growth process by narrowing your focus to a few chosen directions.

 

Type Eight. The Challenger.

The powerful dominating type. Eights are self confident, strong and assertive. Proactive, resourceful and decisive, they can also be proud and domineering. Eights feel that they must control their environment, often becoming confrontational and intimidating. They typically have problems with allowing themselves to be close to others. At their best, healthy Eights are self mastering, using their strengths to improve others lives, becoming heroic, magnanimous, and sometimes historically great.

Examples of Eights are Russell Crowe, Paul Keating, Saddam Hussein and John McInroe.

If you are an Eight, you can begin your growth process by first recognizing your vulnerabilities.

 

Type Nine. The Peacemaker.

The easy-going self-effacing type. Nines are accepting trusting and stable. They are good-natured, kindhearted, easy going and supportive, but can also be too willing to go along with others to keep the peace. They want everything to be without conflict but can tend to be complacent and minimize anything upsetting. They typically have problems with passivity and stubbornness. At their best, healthy Nines are indomitable and all-embracing; they are able to bring people together and heal conflicts.

Examples of Nines are George Harrison, Queen Elizabeth II and Walt Disney.

If you are a Nine, you can begin your growth process by focusing on what you want, and continue to work on your own agendas.

When you can begin to observe how your personality is running your life, in a nonjudgmental way, you can begin to see it like a home movie. As you can begin to observe and let go of it on increasing deeper levels, as well as being increasingly present with your real experiences, you can gradually reach more and more of your full human potential.

If you would like to really discover who you have been wired to be, why you do the things you do, why you have the same kinds of problems over and over again, and , best of all, what you can do about it, book in for an individual Enneagram session with me, face to face, by phone or by skype.

More on why relationships get into trouble in our next blog.

Warmest regards

Julie

Will my partner change if I bring him/her to relationship counselling?

 

The question of can people change is always an interesting one. The short answer is yes, we can all change absolutely anything about ourselves, if we have a strong enough desire to.

So the question many people have on their mind when considering whether to come to relationship or marriage counselling is: “If my partner hasn’t already changed the things about himself that I most have problems with, will he or she be able to do it with the help of relationship counselling, and just as importantly, will those changes stay, or just fade away with time?”

To answer this question more fully, it is important to understand that we come into this life pre-wired by way of our personality type. The personality system I find exceptionally helpful in understanding why we do the things we do, without being conscious of it, is the Enneagram. (more about the Enneagram in another blog)

So we each have tendencies towards doing things a certain way. Whether we continue to do things this way or change depends on whether the results of these actions are positive or negative for us. If we are experiencing either  positive benefits, or the absence of negative impact on ourself personally, then we will continue to do what comes naturally.

If, however we start to suffer from the impact of these natural tendencies, either as internal difficulties, or as difficulties in interacting with others or the world, then we can do 1 of 2 things:

controlling relationships

The 2 things we do:

1. Blame others or the world in general

2. Look at what in us needs to change for us to start getting a more positive outcome or experience.

Now, plenty of people take the first option, but that just makes you feel like a victim or cynical complainer- no chance of happiness there.

The second option is the healthiest way to go. Usually the extent of our pain will determine the extent of our motivation to change. It is usually as simple as that.

That is why often we can get the most stunningly positive changes in relationship counselling when a couple has got to the stage of being so sick of their relationship the way it is that they decide it is either make or break: we either fix it or leave it.

In relationship counselling also, we explain that for a relationship to have deteriorated, there will be contribution from both sides. In counselling many thousands of couples, I have yet to find a couple where it is all one partner’s contribution.

Couples often find it amazing how when we work on both sides together, how improvements can be so radical, so that the whole process can gradually become a joint project, rather than an adversarial one.

When talking about the stickability of changes, it is important to manage these carefully, and to have a check-in process in place to ensure each member of the couple honours their commitment to the other,on an ongoing basis.

More next week on why empathy is difficult for men.

Warm regards

Julie

Forget relationship counselling: We are just too different

 

“We are just too different for our relationship to work, and so relationship counselling is a waste of time”.  I had a new client say this to me this week, and it is a common thing for people to think.

But nothing could be further from the truth, so I thought I’d fill you in on what I have found from  relationship counselling with thousands of couples in trouble.

Have you ever thought what it would be like if your partner was exactly like you in every way? To start with, it would be physically impossible, but even it it was possible, would you really want it? Someone who was a clone of you except for the sexual anatomy?

Boring boring boring!

It is differences that make life interesting, it’s differences that give you advantages, it’s differences that give you other perspectives, it’s differences that balance you out.

It is often the differences that attract you to your partner when you first meet. For example you loved her fun loving nature because you are very serious; you were attracted to his neat organised structured way, as you were disorganised and forgetful.

Every couple has areas that they are different. There is no inherent problem with being different from your partner. The problem is only with how you handle the differences. couples counselling for recovering from an affair

For every couple, there will be differences that are so great that you feel you are polar opposites, each sitting on the outside edge of the continuum when compared with each other. For example: very responsible versus playful and fun loving, or very social versus a homebody.

The key factor in whether you see this as a huge problem or a huge gift, is whether you judge your partner or not. Do you sit at the end of your continuum looking over at your partner saying, or thinking “He’s such a jerk or an annoyance. Why doesn’t he do things like I do?”

Well, if so, you are wasting a huge amount of energy, not to mention a huge opportunity to see the gift your partner is giving to you.

If one of you is reliable and responsible and the other is fun loving, each of you is a gift to each other. Becoming more spontaneous and fun loving is just what the overly responsible one needs, and similarly, picking up more responsibility is just what the fun loving one needs too.

If  you can handle it as a gift both to each other and the relationship, you can enrich your relationship with your differences. The only thing stopping you is your sense of superiority and judgement which is the thing that will be killing your relationship, not the differences.

If you’re interested in further exploring relationship counselling, we’d love to hear from you.

More next time

Regards

Julie

How hard financial times can cause relationship problems

 

I think most of us know that when times are tough, we seem to fight more with our partner, but have you ever wondered why? How financial stress is transferred right into relationship problems?

Well, there are 2 areas of the brain mostly responsible for this, the amygdala and the brain stem. Without going into huge detail, our amygdala registers the fear that comes with financial stresses, and before we know it, it has communicated that to our brain stem which goes into survival mode and has us responding in either fight, flight or freezing.

Whichever one is chosen, whenever we are in this survival mode, we are reactive, and it is this reactivity that makes it very difficult for us to be open and receptive to others, which is necessary to have a good relationship with them.

So, we can’t stay open and attune to others, we don’t pause before responding, we can’t empathise with another, we have trouble getting a deeper insight into what is going on between us, we lose contact with our intuition, and we lose access financial stuggleto our moral awareness.

This then has us going down the low road rather than the higher road in our communications with our partner. Once this negative spiral starts, it usually goes nowhere but down, getting quite ugly at times. There are no happy endings unless it is stopped.

 

We are all potentially prone to this kind of disintegration. The key is to firstly recognise what is happening, and catch yourself as early as possible.

Taking personal responsibility for yourself is the first thing to do.  As soon as you feel yourself reacting rather than responding, when you can feel emotional upset or emotional charge internally, then put up your hand, interrupt the conversation, and say to your partner “I am being reactive”.

Arrange with your partner for this to signal   “We need to stop for 15 minutes, spend time on our own settling down and reflecting on what just happened and why, then come back and return to the conversation from a more aware and neutral place”.

If you can both agree to do this each time either of you is feeling reactive, you can save a huge amount of wasted energy and upset in arguments, and really get to having a healthy conversation, even if , to start with, it is punctuated with a few breaks.

For further help with your communication and relationship problems, I urge you to seek relationship counselling as early as possible, as there is always a solution to a problematic situation.

Regards

Julie

How does your Attachment style create problems in your relationship?

Lets face it: loving another and being loved is one of the most fundamental desires we have as humans. Most of us realise that without love of one kind or another, life really doesn’t have much meaning.

But while we universally desire love, almost none of us feel secure enough in ourselves to establish secure bonds or attachments with another. And when we are not able to form secure attachments, we develop either one of two more insecure forms of attachment:

 

1: Anxiously attached

– where we might cling, pursue, blame, become forceful and demanding, or attacking on separation.

 

2: Avoidantly attached

– where we may withdraw, detach, hide behind a wall, show very little emotion at separation, focus on tasks and activities, make very little attempt at engaging, feel numb, defensive and distant.

 

Occasionally for some people, they may vascilate between the two of these.

Most of us can identify what is their natural inclination. When I see couples together in their relationship counselling session, the most common combination I see is one partner who pursues and demands, and the other who hides and withdraws.

This  negative cycle is most common because the more one pursues, of demands, the more the other wants to hide, and the more he/she withdraws, the more rejected and angrier the first partner gets, so he/she pushes or demands more.

It becomes a vicious cycle, and it is no one person’s fault, but it is worth being aware that this is the reciprocal pattern that the couple is unwittingly creating, that often generates great heartache for both concerned.

The first step is being aware of this reciprocal pattern, then it is easier to do something about it, rather than blame and sit in judgement of each other. Assistance with this can easily be obtained through relationship counselling.

 

Talk soon

Julie

Ever been over-reactive in your relationship?

If you are human, you will recognise that there are times in your relationship when something that your partner says or does hits a “nerve” or a “raw spot” for you. These sensitivities are also called “hot buttons“.

We all have them, and when abraded, they bleed all over our relationship, making us lose our emotional balance and plunge into reactive and defensive ways of communicating.

So, what are they, and where did they come from?

They are hyper-sensitivities formed by moments either in your past (usually childhood) or your current relationship when your attachment needs have been repeatedly neglected, ignored or dismissed, resulting in you feeling deprived and relationship over activedeserted.

As children, we all need nurturance, listening and empathy, protection and encouragement. When our care takers were not aware, or able to give us these things, we shrunk into ourselves from a pain beyond our awareness, giving us a sense of personal shame, as if we somehow weren’t deserving of these things.

Then on any future occasions when similar themes occur, these raw spots are activated again and we become reactionary, sometimes without consciously knowing why. We have been triggered, and we’re fighting back before we know it.

They cannot be forgotten or left behind, and they cannot be resolved in the present context without some awareness of what they are and the significance of them to us.

It is crucial for us to find a way to explore these in an emotionally supportive environment, where the hurt  has arisen from, and the significance to us, in order to be able to release ourselves from the power that they have to derail our relationships.

Relationship and marriage counselling can help you each sensitively explore what your raw spots are, and where and why you each over-reactive to things. Most people find it an extremely helpful process to make these discoveries, and to listen, support and understand their partner’s process or discovery as well. Clients often report feeling closer than they ever felt before to each other after these explorations.

For quality relationship counselling from any of our 80+ specially trained Psychologists throughout Australia, you can contact the Hart Centre Australia.

Till next time

Kind regards

Julie