Why should I use it?
My clients come to me when they feel stuck in the process of dating and looking for a mate. They come to explore their emotions and needs in a new relationship, or the lack thereof. Their goal usually is to either be more comfortable with their choices in relationships or to figure out obstacles to dating and remove them. Obstacles could be fear of dating, fear of meeting new people, fear of getting hurt or rejected, falling for the same ‘wrong’ type over and over again.
What happens at a session?
At the first session, we investigate what you need and what might keep you from getting what you need. At the follow-up sessions, we discuss ways to get ‘unstuck’, ways forward in dating and relationships. A big part of the process is involving your friends and family in your journey of dating. This may sound scary at first but always proves to be very effective.
What results can I expect?
Singles can expect a much bigger sense of control when it comes to dating and the choices they make in this area. They can also expect homework to face their fears and confront them or learn to live with them. Homework could be for example learning to meet a new person every week, or learning to date outside your ‘type’.
What is couples counselling?
Couples counselling is inviting a counsellor into your couple relationship in order to break through unhealthy or unhelpful patterns of communication. It is sometimes helpful to have a third, uninvolved party who can listen to both of you and empathize with both of you to help you through certain rough spots in your relationship. Whether you are fighting big fights or one of you is always trying to get the other to respond, but the other one withdraws, or whether you are both more withdrawn, a couples counsellor can help you reconnect and trust each other again.
Why would I use it?
Couples counselling is a massive but valuable investment in your relationship and always cheaper than separating. If two people are committed to making their relationship work but they have trouble figuring out how, a couples counsellor is here to help. Investing in counselling will generally leave you happier, healthier and more energized, research shows. Kids thrive in a house where parents are happy with each other.
What happens at a session?
At the first session, there will be a lot of questions asked, figuring out the patterns of communication in your relationship and the topics you may fight about. In the second session, a course of action is presented and a plan of treatment discussed. In the following sessions, the aim is to identify unhealthy patterns of communication and turning them into more healthy patterns. Once this healthy pattern of interacting is established we will dive more into the content of things you and your partner fight about. Towards the end of the sessions, we evaluate changes and figure out ways how to make them last.
What can I expect?
Couples can expect to gain a lot more clarity about their own and their partner’s emotional life within five to eight sessions. This clarity will then enable them to more effectively connect with each other and feel safer in each others presence.
Is there homework?
Yes, there is homework. Homework is usually reading through Sue Johnson’s book Hold me tight and working on the exercises given in the book, but at a pace, every partner is comfortable with.
I’m not sure I need help, could I come for just once?
Yes, you can come for just once. We can take the time to uncover the issues you are facing, the questions you have about them and assess the extent to which you need professional help in solving them. Sometimes a first session will be enough, most times it will be helpful to add a few or more sessions to really work through the issues you are facing.
It’s totally up to you to decide after that first session! In general, however, people tend to seek help later than they should have done. It’s better to solve issues when they arise rather than wait for them to disappear only to discover things have gone worse. So don’t hesitate to look for advice.
Can I do long distance counselling?
A lot of my clients live abroad or in a remote area they cannot find a counsellor in. For them, being able to Skype me is ideal. Connecting through Skype, provided you have a good internet connection, is easy and you get used to it quickly. Although time differences can be a challenge, we can usually work around that. The only downside is that you have to make your own cup of coffee!
What methods do you use?
In the Netherlands, where most of my training has been, the emphasis in training for psychologists is on CBT, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. This is the most widely researched and most proven effective way of treating a wide variety of mental health issues such as anxiety, depression and burnout.
It helps people regain control over their emotions without neglecting or dismissing them. Instead, emotions are taken very seriously but also brought into a more conscious state where clients feel like they have more of a choice how to act upon the emotions they struggle with.
When the whole process of emotions, thoughts and actions becomes more tangible and real it’s often easier for people to deal with overwhelming emotions. Emotions are part of life, and overwhelming events cause overwhelming emotions, but having a choice in how to act frees people of the sense they are a slave to their emotions.
With couples, I use Emotionally Focused couples counselling, which is a combination of CBT and other influences, the most important of which is the attachment theory. Attachment theory teaches us about how our need for connection is wired in and how we can regain a safe feeling of attachment with our significant other.