Research shows that to make a relationship last, couples must become better friends, learn to manage conflict and create ways to support each other’s hopes for the future. Couple’s counselling can help you do that.
Recent statistics show that in Canada, 33 per cent of first marriages end in divorce, and 16 per cent of people divorce more than once. In spite of these numbers, many couples tend to wait until their problems are severe before seeking counselling. In 2016, 22 per cent of our clients reported that they were coming in for counselling for a problem, relationship or otherwise, they had for one to six months, while 29 per cent of clients reported they had the problem for five years or longer. Don’t wait until your problems are severe, the sooner you get support for your relationship, the better.
For the past two years, couple and marital relations have been one of the top reasons for seeking counselling at Calgary Counselling Centre, along with depression and anxiety.
There may be no such thing as a perfect relationship, but a healthy relationship should be one that includes safety (physical and emotional), respect, compromise, friendship, and intimacy. Couples with these characteristics are more likely to have a healthy relationship and know how to communicate effectively with each other.
About couple’s counselling
Couple’s counselling teaches couples how to interact in and understand their relationship. It helps couples to identify areas for improvement in their relationship and emphasizes that each partner is responsible for their own actions. The goal is to help couples understand their behaviours and determine what they need to do to create a healthy relationship.
Couple’s counselling is available to anyone regardless of the stage of their relationship, whether they have been together for four months or 40 years. Calgary Counselling Centre works with all couples who are dating, married, common law, in same-sex relationships, or polyamorous relationships.
What to expect
When couples first start counselling they are often uncertain about what to expect and may have preconceived ideas about what couple’s counselling is like. They may expect that their counsellor will listen to each person and come up with suggestions on how to resolve problems. In reality, the counsellor helps couples learn new ways of dealing with challenges in a more productive way. Couple’s counsellors have many tools that can help partners understand and change their own patterns of interaction that may contribute to relationship challenges, while allowing each partner to remain true to their own personal values.
Reasons couples seek counselling
Most couples experience periods of conflict in their relationship but don’t seek help because of the stigma surrounding counselling. Many people believe that couples who seek help for their relationship are unstable, volatile and unhappy, which is not always true.
There are a number of reasons couples seek counselling, “One of the key things couples come in for is communication,” says Christine Molohon, Registered Social Worker at Calgary Counselling Centre. “Most problems come from struggling to understand each other and counselling can help couples communicate better and create a healthy relationship.”
Other reasons couples seek counselling may include:
Our Counselling Methods
There are many different models of couple’s counselling that are effective. Our counsellors at CCC draw from a number of disciplines throughout their work with couples. The Developmental, Gottman and Emotion-focused methods are just three examples of models CCC’s counsellors may use.
This approach focuses on the growth and development of each person in the relationship individually in addition to the growth and development of the couple as a whole. The developmental approach assumes long-term relationships change naturally over time and progress through predictable developmental stages. The stages include:
- Bonding: The initial honeymoon period at the beginning of a new relationship where couples begin to know each other.
- Differentiation: Couples begin to acknowledge, address their differences and find ways to resolve conflict.
- Practicing: Couples explore their independence outside of the relationship.
- Rapprochement: Couples re-engage in their relationship. Often levels of intimacy are strengthened in this stage.
- Synergy: Couples recognize their ability to come together and be stronger together rather than alone.
The differentiation stage is the foundation upon which all other stages are successfully built. Couples can often become stuck at this point, sometimes for months or years, having difficulty addressing differences in a productive way. Couple’s counselling can help couples work through the challenges encountered at this stage and move on to a more fulfilling relationship.
The Gottman Method uses what is called the Sound Relationship House, which outlines the nine components of a healthy relationship. Starting from the bottom, our counsellors use the Gottman Method to move through the Sound Relationship House and help couples break through barriers to achieve a greater understanding, connection and intimacy in their relationship.
The Gottman Method helps partners:
- Increase respect, affection and closeness
- Achieve clarity and resolve conflict when they feel stuck
- Generate understanding of each other
- Deal with conflict in a calm and respectful way
The nine components of the house and how our counsellors use them are as follows:
Through Emotion-focused Therapy (EFT), counsellors create an environment where couples can experience emotions in a safe and open session. Couples are able to discover the value of managing their emotions. EFT helps clients become aware of and make productive use of their emotions.
This process helps couples accept, express, regulate, make sense of and transform their emotions. It focuses on the development of emotional intelligence and on the importance of developing secure and healthy relationships.
In addition to counselling, Calgary Counselling Centre also offers a relationship group and workshop.
Group and Workshop
Strengthening families is a group dedicated to couples who are experiencing a combination of domestic conflict and substance use. The group contains twelve modules that work to address issues within the relationship.
- Active listening
- Building abstinence and trust
- Communication skills
- Conflict resolution
- Recovery contract
- Problem solving
The couple must first have a one-on-one session with their counsellor to assess their individual case and evaluate if this group is a good fit.
Marriage Preparation Workshop:
Calgary Counselling Centre’s Marriage Preparation Workshop is for couples who are looking to deepen their relationship and learn effective communication strategies. This workshop is beneficial for couples of all kinds: newly engaged, recently married, moving in together, or together for a number of years; regardless of your situation this workshop will bring you and your partner closer together. Couples receive a complete kit to take home that includes DVD’s, CD’s and workbooks. The workshop is led by counsellors highly experienced in couples counselling.
- Marriage expectations
- Conflict Resolution
- Financial Management
- Sex and Intimacy
- Goals and dreams
Clients can register directly to this workshop. One-on-one counselling session is not required. The workshop has a set fee of $299 per couple.
Pre-registration is required for this workshop. To view specific dates and times for the Marriage Preparation Workshop, click here.
At Calgary Counselling Centre we are committed to providing the best couple’s counselling, with no waitlists and no financial barriers. This means you and your partner are able to get the help you need, when you need it.
To register for counselling or to learn more about our additional services, call 403-691-5991 or click here to schedule an appointment with a counsellor today.
To download a PDF document of the most relevant content from this blog click here.