Couples Therapy: When is the Right Time?

Recently I had a conversation with a friend about couples therapy, what it involves and how it can help a relationship. “But it’s usually for when things are pretty bad in the relationship, right?”, she said to me. “Oh, no, not at all! It can certainly help when things are going wrong but there’s so much to gain from couples therapy long before things are breaking down”, I replied. I realised I might take the importance of couples therapy for granted. For me it is a chance to improve on communication between two people and air any grievances in a holding and supportive environment facilitated by an impartial third person. If individual therapy can be a tool in the self-improvement kit, why can’t couples therapy too? I reflected on this as a major misconception about relationship counselling.

The Rollercoaster of Relationships

In the intricate dance of a romantic relationship, there often comes a time when partners find themselves stumbling over each other’s steps. It’s not uncommon for conflicts to arise, communication to falter, and the once vibrant connection to dim. In these moments of turbulence, many couples contemplate seeking the help of a couples therapist to navigate the complexities of their relationship.

It’s All About Timing

Timing is crucial when it comes to couples therapy. The ideal moment isn’t necessarily when the relationship is teetering on the edge of collapse; instead, it’s often best sought when the first signs of strain appear. Early intervention can prevent deep-rooted issues from taking hold, allowing couples to address challenges before they become insurmountable.

One indicator that it might be the right time for couples therapy is a breakdown in communication. When open dialogue turns into a series of misunderstandings, arguments, or even prolonged periods of silence, it’s a red flag that something needs attention. Couples therapy provides a safe space for partners to build deeper connections and learn effective communication skills that can strengthen their bond.

Major Life Transitions

Another opportune moment for couples therapy is when major life transitions occur. Whether it’s moving in together, getting married, having children, or facing an empty nest, these milestones can bring about unexpected challenges. Couples therapy can help partners navigate these transitions, fostering understanding and resilience in the face of change.

Furthermore, seeking couples counselling during a period of heightened stress can be incredibly beneficial. External pressures, such as work-related stress, financial difficulties, or family issues, can strain a relationship. Relationship counselling equips partners with coping mechanisms and stress management tools, enabling them to support each other through challenging times.

In conclusion, the best time for couples psychotherapy is when the first signs of distress emerge. Whether it’s a breakdown in communication, major life transitions, or external stressors, seeking help early on can pave the way for a healthier, more resilient relationship. Remember, it’s never too early to invest in the well-being of your partnership and discover the path to lasting harmony.

Get in touch to find out about current availability for therapy together with your partner.

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Improve Your Mental Strength

Ever wondered why some people seem to bounce back effortlessly from life’s curveballs while others struggle to regain their footing? The secret lies in mental strength – that intangible power to recover from adversity, rise above setbacks, and embrace challenges head-on.

What is Mental Strength?

Mental strength, or mental resilience is the emotional ability of being able to recover from adversity.

  • Mentally resilient people often transcend hard times despite seemingly impossible setbacks.
  • Mental resilience is correlated with emotional maturity and the ability to see reality clearly.
  • Mental resilience is negatively correlated with psychopathology and emotional immaturity.

Promoting Mental Strength

Just like sculpting those biceps at the gym, mental strength demands discipline, commitment, and time.  Let’s take look at the habits of mentally strong people:

1. They Don’t Compare Themselves With Others Scrolling through social media can trigger the comparison game, but mentally strong people know that every moment spent comparing is a moment lost on personal growth. External opinions don’t define them. Mentally strong people build their self-belief, immune to criticism or rejection.

2. They Don’t Strive for Perfection Perfectionism, the sneaky stress inducer, is a no-go zone. Set high standards, but don’t let the pursuit of perfection impair your performance because just like Father Christmas, it doesn’t exist.

3. They Embrace Vulnerability Game faces have their time and place, but mentally strong people recognise that asking for help and showing vulnerability are signs of strength, not weakness.

4. They Don’t Let Self-Doubt Stop Them Your brain might whisper doubts, but mentally strong women don’t let self-doubt be the roadblock to their goals. They know the brain tends to underestimate their capabilities.

5. Ditch Rumination Ruminating over every detail is a mental energy drain. Instead, focus on problem-solving and productive action, freeing up your mind for what truly matters.

6. Putting the Big Girl Pants On Avoiding challenges keeps you stuck. Mentally strong people face fears head-on, one step at a time, building confidence along the way. Whether someone told you that you’d never amount to anything, or you got turned down for a promotion, other people can limit your potential if you let them. Your brain might sometimes try to convince you that you’re not good enough, capable enough, or smart enough. But don’t believe everything you think. Your brain will underestimate you. Build belief in yourself, and you won’t let criticism or rejection stop you.

7. Find The Strength Within Strong people find ways to pull on inner strength to build themselves up. They have no need to pull others down in order to achieve this. Genuine cheerleading is the true path to success. Putting others down is a short-lived boost; uplifting others creates a lasting impact.

8. Take Responsibility For yourself. Accepting responsibility is crucial, but toxic self-blame hinders progress. Learn from mistakes and grow, without labelling yourself negatively. While it’s important to accept personal responsibility when you make a mistake, toxic self-blame does more harm than good so it’s also wise to avoid it. Saying “I made a bad choice” is much more productive than thinking “I am a bad person.”

9. Sing Your Own Praises No need to downplay achievements. Mentally strong people gracefully accept compliments, owning their success without fear of appearing arrogant.


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Building a Deeper Connection With Your Partner

Whether you’ve been together 10 weeks or 10 years, you might be at a comfortable stage of things with your partner but you’re also wondering if things could be better. What’s the next level of fulfilment and is there a deeper connection to build with your partner? If there is, how can couples therapy support you in this process?

Let’s dive into the art of building a connection so deep, it’s practically oceanic. We’re talking about forging a bond with your partner that’s not just surface-level; it’s rooted in understanding, communication, and a sprinkle of Transactional Analysis magic.

Using TA in Couples Work

So, what’s Transactional Analysis? Imagine it as your relationship GPS, helping you navigate the intricate highways of communication. Developed by Dr. Eric Berne, this modality is all about dissecting the ways we interact and the roles we play in our relationships.

First up, let’s embrace the concept of “Parent,” “Adult,” and “Child” modes. In every interaction, we unconsciously switch between these roles. When you catch yourself slipping into a parental role, take a step back. Are you nurturing or maybe a tad too controlling? The key here is balance. Aim for a blend of care without overshadowing your partner’s independence.

Next, the “Adult” mode. Picture it as the rational, data-driven scientist in you. When faced with a challenge, approach it with reason and empathy. Leave behind judgments and assumptions; they’re like roadblocks on your path to connection.

Now, onto the “Child” mode – the playful, emotional side. Allow yourself to be vulnerable, and encourage your partner to do the same. Share dreams, fears, and, yes, even those embarrassing childhood stories. Embracing vulnerability creates a bridge to deeper emotional connection.

Communication and Synchronisation

Communication, the lifeline of any relationship, gets a makeover with Transactional Analysis. Instead of playing the blame game, focus on “I” statements. Express your feelings, needs, and desires without pointing fingers. It’s like turning your GPS from “Recalculating” to a smooth, scenic route.

In the grand dance of relationships, synchronisation is key. Keep an eye on your partner’s cues and adjust your steps accordingly. Sometimes a two-step, sometimes a waltz – the beauty lies in the harmony you create together.

So, there you have it – a crash course in forging a connection that’s not just deep but also enduring. Remember, relationships are like fine wine; they get better with time, attention, and a sprinkle of Transactional Analysis wisdom. Happy connecting, lovebirds!

Couples Counselling with Southdowns Psychotherapy

For more information on couples counselling and to find out about current availability at Southdowns Psychotherapy, get in touch.

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