Being in relationship means: the need to sometimes work hard to keep joy, romance, and intimacy alive. This kind of work doesn’t always come easy or naturally. At times the fruits of this work are overshadowed by stresses and constraints of ordinary life: work, kids, volunteering engagements, hobbies, et cetera. Couples counselling can help you address the strains and stresses your relationship is under.
Addressing discontent in romantic relationships is a courageous undertaking. Some couples decide together to see a counsellor to do a check-in & tune-up, while others engage a counsellor to address dynamics between loved ones that are felt to be unhelpful, or sometimes even destructive. More so even than in individual counselling, couples counselling requires a deep commitment to the process. The outcome of the process, after all, doesn’t only affect you, it also affects those in your immediate environment…
“The rule that surpasses all rules is that you must be connected, willing to see what’s in front of you, and willing to move if what you’re doing isn’t working.”Terry Real – How Can I Get Through to You?: Closing the Intimacy Gap Between Men and Women
Approach to Couples Counselling
In my couples counselling I am most inspired and guided by the work of John and Julie Gottman, and by Terry Real. The Gottmans emphasise the need for friendship, mutual fondness and admiration, and shared meaning in romantic relationships, while addressing head-on the various ways in which conflict can undermine and destroy the resilience of relationships (see this page for the “Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse“).
The Gottman Couples Method starts with a thorough assessment of the current relationship, its strengths and its points of concern, and follows a clear path to improve the positive aspects and address the negative aspects of the relationship. If you so wish, I can sign you up at a heavily reduced rate to a wealth of practical information provided by the Gottman Institute, with assignments, exercises, videoclips and other resources that might help you as a couple find and implement lasting changes to the dynamic between the two of you.
The approach advocated by Terry Real adds an emphasis on healthy self-esteem, honesty and direct communication between partners. One very helpful tool in Real’s assortment is an explicit focus on the family of origin of both partners, to improve the clients’ understanding of and empathy with each others background. What I especially appreciate in Real’s work is attention to the specific circumstances men face in adjusting to the shifting perceptions of what it means to be a man in this day and age.
Most recently I completed my Level 3 training in the Gottman Method in January 2022, with the previous two levels completed in 2019. I also followed several on-line trainings provided by Terry Real (for example: “Working With Men”, “Grandiose Women & Shut Down Men”, “Working With Grandiosity”). Furthermore I base my work on issues of physical intimacy and sexuality on the works of Marty Klein and Esther Perel.
The careful reader might have noticed that I haven’t referred to couples as exclusively male-female. My practice is open to all individuals, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identification, ethnic background, religious beliefs or socio-economic strata.
Practicalities of Couples Work
The Gottman Method I use in my work starts with an introductory couple’s session of around 90 minutes, followed by two individual interviews with both partners. Between the first session and the two individual sessions with each partner, I will ask you to fill in an extensive questionnaire that will form the basis of our work together. In a fourth session, we will discuss the outcomes of the assessment, and chart the course for future interventions.
I believe that transformation, growth and change occur between sessions. Our meet-ups offer clarification, give new energy and motivation and insights. However, the real work happens in your homes, your lives, your interaction with your partner. To help you practice new skills, new forms of interactions and implement guidelines for “fair fighting”, I will provide a wealth of useful materials that you can take home.
Couples Counselling in Lausanne and Nyon
My office in Lausanne can be found very close to Flon, and can easily be reached by public transport (metro and bus). In Nyon I work very close to the Castle, in a tranquil area. Online couples counselling can be organised, if so desired.
Sessions in the evening or on Saturday mornings are available on request.
In case of any questions about practicalities or my ways of working, please don’t hesitate to contact me.
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