Are you looking for couples counselling or therapy in Hamilton, or online in Ontario?
Are there things that you would like to improve in your relationship?
Want help communicating with your partner?
Are you having trouble trusting your partner, feel betrayed or don’t know how to move forward?
Trying to decide whether to stay or leave your current relationship?
Individuals looking for couples counselling in Hamilton or couples therapy often come to see us for issues related to relationship conflict, difficulties communicating and dealing with affairs and other relationship injuries. A lot of couples in Hamilton and elsewhere experience these issues and can benefit from couples counselling or therapy.
In couples counselling, the focus is on helping you both to improve your relationship by teaching you both strategies to achieve a more fulfilled, connected and harmonious relationship.
In couples counselling, we also help you both work towards the process of healing any past relationship wounds that are getting re-triggered or leading to ongoing conflict and or relationship dissatisfaction.
What issues can couples counselling or therapy help with?
🌱Difficulties effectively communicating.
🌱Negative interaction patterns involving blaming, criticizing, or stonewalling.
🌱Differences in values or lifestyle.
🌱Healing from the impact of affairs, infidelity and other relationship wounds.
🌱Strengthening connections and bonds.
🌱Learning how to discuss differences without hurting one another.
🌱Learning how to effectively co-parent and address differences in parenting.
🌱Managing external influences in a relationship such as in-laws and ex-partners.
🌱Resolving issues within blended families.
People often wait to seek out couples counselling when they feel in crisis or on the brink of relationship break-down or separation.
Couples counselling can often help in these situations; however, the process will be more challenging and will likely take longer when a couple waits until there are many built-up resentments and relationship fractures.
According to the Gottman Institute (a leader in couples research), couples who feel unhappy wait an average of six years to seek out couples counselling. This allows for significantly more negative interaction patterns and hurt feelings to develop. Further injury means deeper wounds.
Don't be one of those couples. It’s important to be proactive and seek out couples counselling as soon as problems start to interfere with the enjoyment and satisfaction in your relationship.
When is it time to seek couples counselling?
🌱 You are contemplating or preparing to get married or make a longer-term commitment and want to ensure a more successful outcome.
🌱 You seem to be having difficulty expressing your feelings to your partner.
🌱 You are having difficulty making decisions together.
🌱 You find yourselves stuck in recurring arguments.
🌱 You find yourselves stuck in patterns of conflict, criticism or contempt.
🌱 You are having difficulty working through a recent conflict or life transition.
🌱 One of you has recently had an affair or feels somehow betrayed by the other.
🌱 You are having difficulty resolving differences in values or lifestyles and are questioning your compatibility with one another.
🌱 You want to have a stronger and closer relationship.
🌱 You want to figure out if your relationship can be resolved or improved or you want to decide the future of your relationship.
🌱 You are having difficulties co-parenting in a harmonious way.
Couples counselling page overview- What do you want to do?
🌱 Book an Appointment
🌱 Learn more about couples counselling
🌱 Learn about healthy and unhealthy relationships
🌱 Learn how to get the most out of couples counselling
🌱 Learn about the Gottman approach to making your relationship last
🌱 Learn about trust in relationships
🌱 Learn more about the impact of coronavirus stress on couples
🌱 Read our blog post on Unhealthy Relationships and why some people stay
🌱 Complete a Relationship Satisfaction Scale to help assess my relationship
If you have more questions about couples counselling in Hamilton or online, contact us. You can also schedule an appointment and take the first step towards resolving the concerns you have in your relationship. Book with Dr. Jennifer Barbera, Jenn Struth, Kim Friesen, or Audrey Guitierrez.
This brief video describes what people can learn in couples counselling.
This brief video describes characteristics of healthy and unhealthy relationships. This video can be helpful for sorting out whether you feel like your current relationship is positive for you or not and whether there are important issues that could be addressed in your relationship.
As mentioned, couples wait an average of 6 years before seeking couples counselling. Waiting that long can mean that by the time the couple reaches out for support, there are more relationship injuries and more entrenched negative interaction patterns to work through.
To get the most out of couples counselling, be pro-active and reach out for couples counselling earlier on when you are first starting to notice any issues that take away from your ability to get along and feel connected as a couple.
To help get the most out of couples counselling, it's important to be very honest and straight-forward with your therapist and partner. Your therapist will not judge you. Your therapist can only effectively address issues that are more openly discussed. Remember to be open and honest, even if you find this uncomfortable or difficult. If this is a challenge, let your therapist know so that they can help.
Try your best to use the therapy session to listen to both your partner and the therapist. You will have the opportunity also to be heard and understood, but you will get more out of the process if you focus on listening so that you can change current dynamics and understand yourself, your partner and your relationship better.
Let the counselling room be a unique space for your relationship:
When you attend couples counselling, it's important to use the time productively. Avoid the urge to focus on defending or explaining yourself or your side of the story to help prevent arguing during the session. As a couple, you can argue anywhere. The couples counselling room should not be one of those places because you do not need to pay a therapist to argue as a couple. You are seeking out couples counselling to improve your relationship. If this is an issue, after seeing some of your negative interaction patterns, your therapist will then help you both establish ways to make your sessions more productive.
Make space for discomfort:
The process of going to couples counselling can feel uncomfortable for many people and may make you feel vulnerable at times. Your therapist will be there to help ease these feelings. As you work through things, be prepared to work on increasing your ability to tolerate some discomfort or feelings of vulnerability. This will help you get the most out of couples counselling and also help you grow as a person and as a partner.
Let the relationship be the client:
Couples counselling is unique in that ideally, the couple or relationship is the client and not each individual. What this means is that the intent is to help heal and improve the relationship. To best help your relationship, each partner must be given feedback on what they can do to improve the relationship. Focus on being open to feedback about what changes you could make to improve your relationship.
Put in the time:
Relationships are often not easy, but they can be the most important and rewarding aspects of our lives. Working towards a more satisfying relationship is worth the time and effort. The more you are willing to spend time attending couples counselling sessions and working on your relationship, the more rewarding the process will be.
Focus on what you can do:
Very often, couples come into couples counselling with the intent of enlisting the therapist to help change their partner. To get the most out of therapy, and a more successful outcome, it is important to focus on the changes you can make to improve your relationship. If you both start to do this, you will be amazed at what can happen.
In this longer video, Psychologist Dr. Gottman describes some of the research spanning decades on what determines whether couples stay together or break-up. He describes dynamics that almost always lead to relationship break-down. He also describes what relationship dynamics protect a relationship.
In this Video Brene Brown explains what trust is and the acronym BRAVITY can be used to work on building trust in a relationship by attending to key areas of trust such as boundaries and reliability.
Couples are facing increased stress and pressure because of the pandemic. Many couples are finding that there has been increased tension, and even conflict, in their relationship.
Some of the challenges that couples face because of the pandemic include:
🌱 Having to spend more time apart because of physical distancing, or because of someone being more vulnerable to illness or working in a high-risk situation.
🌱 Having to spend much more time together.
🌱 Having to manage without the usual supports from friends or relatives.
🌱 Having to cancel plans and deal with disappointments.
🌱 Having kids at home full-time for an extended period and having to navigate increased pressures around co-parenting.
🌱 Having to cope with the impact of job loss.
All of these scenarios represent a required adjustment or increased stress on people's relationships.
To help cope with these increased pressures to help minimize the negative impact on your relationship, consider the following tips:
🌱 Keep work-life balance: Stick to a scheduled routine around work and set boundaries for time devoted to work, and time devoted to the relationship or family.
🌱 Plan: Ensure to plan time together to still do things you enjoy, such as listening to music, going for walks, going for a bike ride or playing a game together. Also, plan ways to keep the kids occupied and how to divide childcare responsibilities if you have kids at home.
🌱 Be mindful of increases in alcohol or substance use: Increased use of alcohol or other substances such as cannabis can lead to increased conflict in the relationship because of heightened emotions. Increased alcohol or substance use can also lead to depleted energy levels, which reduces our capacity to manage stress.
🌱 Gratitude: Focus on expressing to each other what you are grateful for. Consider keeping a notepad on the counter and take turns writing down things you appreciate about the other.
Couples counselling can assist couples in navigating these new challenges and helping to minimize the amount of disruption caused to your relationship.
To read about tips on how to manage increased stress on couples due to the pandemic- provided by Psychologist Dr. Jennifer Barbera and other relationship therapists and experts, see 'Lockdown Love Survival Guide'.