Couples therapy reduces damaging interactions between couples, builds
emotional openness and closeness, improves communication and behaviour, changes
unhelpful thoughts and perceptions, and helps the couple cope with the ordinary
and not-so ordinary stresses that arise in the course of everyday relating.
When I began training to work with couples, I began with lots of
preconceptions. “What do I do if they start screaming at each
other?”, “I’m going to have to help this couple stay together, after
all that is why they are here”. I could not have been more wrong. Couples
therapy is less about myself and so much more about how the clients (the
couple) communicate and interact. It is so much about their learning and understanding
of what a relationship is long before they met.
Working with a couple could be said to be like building a house. When we
begin, we start at the foundations, as with many couples they may have not
created strong foundations. It is likely therefore that the relationship will
hit difficult patches. Very much like building a house, if we start the build
with inadequate foundations it is likely the house will hit difficult problems
in the future.
Foundations for a couple begin long before they meet. If their only
experience of relationships is chaotic and directed from their childhood,
they’re going to bring this pain and hurt into the new relationship to build
what they hope will be different to what they have lived.
When we look at childhood behaviour and patterns, it doesn’t necessarily
mean that we have come from a broken home. As children we are constantly
picking up implicit messages from adults, and these messages have a way of
shaping who we will become as adults.
So for example, if a child is brought up in what is perceived to be a
stable home, however there is an implicit secret that the family knows about
but no one talks about, it is possible that this child could grow up to believe
it’s ok to keep secrets, from his spouse or from his children. Here we can see
the difficulty this could present in a relationship. If a child is brought up
in a stable one parent family, for all intents and purposes everything presents
as fine, however when she as an adult begins to date, this could present issues
depending on the reason her residing parent is single, but also her perception
of her role as a grown up.
Recent government figures show that couples therapy for depression,
which focuses on couple relationships to help treat depression, has
significantly higher recovery rates than the most common talking therapy.
About the author
My name is Mary Aaron. I am an Integrative
Psychotherapist. Qualified and Experienced couples therapist, having trained at
The Tavistock Centre, London, UK, internationally renowned experts. I currently
work, part-time within an NHS setting; I also have a private practice.
Before I started working as a couple therapist
I had lots of preconceived ideas, all of them included a predetermined idea of
what the couple would be like…….
Lots of shouting, lots of crying, if I’m honest
I believed he would be wrong and she would be just difficult.
I believed I would almost have to referee, so
why would anyone with these preconceptions choose to be a couple therapist?
Because I was intrigued, because I wanted to
know how you go from being in love, heart and flowers, from “let’s get married,
and have children, and stay together forever”
To being with someone, you don’t like, who
hurts you, who makes you cry, who destroys your trust.
How did this break? , where did it go wrong?
How did it happen?
So when and how did it go wrong? Well let’s
start at the beginning. …… so let’s call our couple. Sally and Mark (these are
a fictional couple,).
So Sally (27yrs.old) Met Mark (28yrs.old) at
work, they both worked in the same office. They got together on a staff night
out. Sally had just ended a long relationship and wasn’t looking for anything,
Mark had been single for some time. Sally had her own rented flat, Mark flat
shared with his mates, or stayed with his single dad. .
They began to date, it was a real passionate
relationship, lots of long Sunday lay- ins, weekends away, nights out with
friends Mark was such good fun.
Sally mum was not so impressed with Mark, but
didn’t say anything because of how wrong she was about Sally previous
relationship, even though Sally told her mum and anyone who would listen Mark
is the one, “he is the one I want to spend the rest of my life with”.
Sally enjoyed the relationship as it was in
contrast to her previous long term relationship with Richard her ex.
Richard and Sally met when they were both at
university, their first night out in fresher’s week, and they were hooked, very
passionate, they went to festivals together, they spent every moment they could
They would take turns during their uni break to
go to each other’s family homes, both families really liked each of them.
That’s is to say, Sally mum really liked Richard, he was kind and loving
towards Sally and very protective, what’s not to like? Sally’s dad when he met
Richard wasn’t as happy, he felt Sally should have gone through university and
started work before she got into a relationship.
What did he know, he met and married his wife
when they were in their early 20s and had sally and her older sister Megan
within 3 years of being married, mum had to stop work so dad had to work long
hours, they were always struggling to pay for things, this caused arguments and
the girls lived with this most of their childhood, dad angry, mum sulking at
least Sally wasn’t that stupid. Richard was fun, he was always making her
giggle, and he is nothing like dad, thank goodness. Richards family were
completely different, his dad left when he was only 2 years old, his mum
brought him and his younger brother up alone, they had nothing but they did
have a happy home, even though mum struggled financially, she made them
understand responsibility and to respect and manage their finances.
They left university and rented a flat close to
work, after being together for 5 years, Sally’s friends and family began the
usual questions, the societal questions we ask all couples. “So when are you
two getting married?”…” it’s time we heard the pitter patter of tiny feet “.the
pressure begins, Sally asks Richard, “so where is this going?”, “what is it we
are doing?” Richard starts to feel the pressure, he’s not ready yet for this
commitment, but he loves Sally so he doesn’t say, so he starts to withdraw from
Sally. It seems their only conversations now are around, marriage, weddings and
children. Richard finds this difficult, he knows these things cost money, he
wants to make sure they are financially ok first, Sally is less concerned, “mum
managed it ok, we didn’t have a bad childhood”
Over the next few months, they start to argue
and fall out more than ever, they begin to spend more time apart, Richard at
work, Sally out with friends. When they’re home, they don’t talk, Sally tells
friends Richard is really controlling, she feels he makes all the decisions,
Richard feels really lonely, one afternoon one of his colleagues notices he is
sitting staring out the window, she says “ penny for them ……” Richard jumps and
sees Becky, from finance at his desk, the following day, they’re having lunch
in costa coffee, giggling.
So Sally tells mark her awful story of how her
last relationship ended because her ex was a lying cheat, who ran off with
Becky from finance, and how she was such a good partner and he treated her so
badly, Mark is saddened by this awful story of infidelity, and assures Sally he
is not like that, Sally tells Mark I know, but I am now so insecure “I know you
would never cheat on me “
Mark, is so different to Richard, he is happy
go lucky, he doesn’t stress the small stuff, as long as he can pay his rent and
have enough to go have a beer with his friends at the weekend that’s his only
need, Mark was all about the fun….
The last serious relationship Mark had was in
his late teens early 20s, with Molly, it lasted all of 2 years on and off, she
was so clingy, wanting to know where he is, who he is with, what time he was going
to be home.
So Mark told his dad, about Molly, his dad said
Mark she will drive you mad, end it with her you need to enjoy yourself and
have fun not get strapped down to a girl, “so your oats”.
“ look what happened with me and your mum, we
probably would have been ok had she not got pregnant so early in or
relationship, I had to marry her then, her dad would have hunted me down, she
then had you and Jo, straight after Lydia was born, all I wanted was some fun,
she Kept getting pregnant.
Look at me now, still young free and single, I
know Lydia and Jo don’t have anything to do with me, it’s because your mother
poisoned their minds against me, saying I ran off, telling them I had a drink
problem, just because I liked to go out now and again, when I met Bev, me and
your mum where not getting on, she was always moaning about one thing or
another, it’s enough to drive a man mad, your mum threw me out because I wasn’t
earning enough, not like her husband now, who spoils her rotten. Mark, don’t
get trapped, play the field my son, and don’t get lumbered. Mark got on really
well with his dad but he did feel sorry for him because he spent all his time
alone, he hardly went out these days because he can’t afford it not since him
and Bev split, she was the one who worked, so it’s hard for his dad.
Sally met Marks dad, she told her mum she
didn’t much like him, she thought he was a bit lazy and wasn’t respectful of
women, “thank god Mark is not like that, his mum is lovely though, she has a
new husband he is lovely, he treats her like a queen, and Jo and Lydia really
like him as does Mark, but he thinks he’s bit of a wimp to his mum, and that
mum takes advantage of this, I think he’s lovely”.
So mark kept away from long term relationships
and played the field, the first night he met Sally she had had a few drinks,
was dancing and looked amazing, she was funny ,bright and stunning, mark was
hooked . He knew they were going to have lots of fun, after all she said, she
didn’t want anything serious , so how lucky are they that they have found each
So couple therapy ……. Do we need it?
are struggling with your relationship, ask me a question, email it to me at
idea of going abroad is generally developed from a holiday; we arrive in the
beautiful location. Having left the gloom
of our humdrum lives behind and here we are, sunshine, beaches, no stress, all
the arguing we had before we left, the saving, the packing, all a distant
memory, whilst we sit and sip our cocktail………
Escaping the city we live in that costs so much.
Perhaps saving a marriage that has lost its spark
“Our relationship will be so much better “
Because we work so hard in UK when we are abroad we don’t
argue as much, we spend more time together, we walk along the beach, we never
do this at home, we go for cocktails most nights, we can’t do this at home,
with driving and the weather and the local pub is a bus ride away by the time
we get home we can’t be bothered……..
“It’s easier than the rush of UK”
Waking up to sunshine every day, having the beach at your
door every day, feeling like we are on holiday every day, people are always
socialising, people always look happier, especially with a few cocktails. Life
is so simple,
The idea is that if only we lived somewhere more
relaxed or exciting, we, too, would be that more relaxed and exciting.
So why do so many people, return home exhausted,
broke and having to start all over again?
Because it’s like every relationship we have,
whether with a home, a person or a country, we all have “expectation”.
Unconsciously, what many of us want
to escape, is ourselves.
‘A strong belief that something will happen or
be the case.’
‘A belief that someone
will or should achieve something’
If our beliefs and
expectations are not met, then we quickly start to see the flaws in the choices
This goes for any
relationship we have, if we do not create the solid foundation on which to
build our dreams, lives and relationships, they will quickly crumble.
Living abroad can be every
bit as thrilling and exciting as you want it to be, you can be happy, you can
build your relationship again, you can make a different future for yourself but
if you believe the country of your choice is going to do that for you, then
sadly it’s likely to fail. That would be like asking your next door neighbour
to fix your relationship while you nip out for a cocktail.
So here is the good news and
the bad news.
The good news is, how your
choice to move abroad succeeds or fails is down to you.
The Bad news is, how your
choice to move abroad succeeds or fails is down to you.
My name is Mary Aaron. I
am an Integrative Psychotherapist. Qualified and Experienced couples therapist,
having trained at The Tavistock Centre, London, UK, internationally
renowned experts. I currently work, part-time within an NHS setting, I
also have a private practice.
My passion is working with couples. I have been
described as warm and open, however I also believe Iam honest in my
approach and feel it is a gift to challenge clients to discover their authentic
I also work with individuals who present with many
issues, including relationship problems, bereavement, depression and
I am a member of BACP and am on their
How did I get into the world of relationships? Well I’ve
had them, disastrous ones, good ones, I have relationships with my daughters,
their partners good and not so good. However never before have I had a
relationship with anyone like the one I’m in now.
I met my present husband over 5 years ago, on a dating
site, and we have been together ever since.
So why is this different? , well I believe as I was single
for some time by choice, divorced from my second husband, I consciously decided
I had to figure me out before I tried to figure out how to have a relationship.
So I embarked on the best, fun journey I got to know me, I got
to know me through my siblings, my friends, my kids. I figured why I did what I
did, why I thought like I did and where it all came from.
I figured where my deal breakers where, the line to which I
would not go below, What I would and would not accept in a relationship, and
that is with anyone, family or partners, by discovering my deal breakers I could
see how I had allowed myself to go below this imaginary line and drop my
standards to meet the standards of others, just so I could remain in the relationship.
By getting to know me my level of care for me became
paramount and my level of love and self-respect
rose, and so now I do not go below the “ deal breaker line”.
So let’s go back to the wonderful relationship I’m in now,
as amazingly wonderful and loving and giving my husband is, this does not mean
violins play in the background we still have our moments however I now demand a
level of respectful communication, and it is through learning to communicate,
not scream or shout or demand to be heard but by respecting each other I now believe
I am truly happy with me, because I’m not letting me down by allowing someone
to talk to me disrespectfully , no matter who, partner or child, but also which
is the magical part I have so much respect now for my husband ,my daughters and
others it’s like having brand new relationships.
I have studied for
years, to work in the field of therapy/ counselling. I have worked for years in
the field of therapy/ counselling. I studied at the Tavistock where I trained to
be a Couple Therapist. I worked for NHS as a therapist/ counsellor , throughout
my career I was always asked what is your niche, everyone put my niche as couple
work, but it didn’t feel right, then my friend said you’re like a relationship
expert, and that’s when it came to me, my niche is relationships, whether with
ourselves, our lovers, our friends ,our children. Indeed any relationships I believe
I can bring my knowledge, my love and my passion, to all kinds of relationships,
young or old.
Check my webiste, subscribe for newsletters, there will be
lots of information on here regularly for all your relationship needs.
If you think I can be of service to you call me 07539738191