03 Jun 2020

BY: Online Therapy

Couples Counselling / Good relationship therapists / Marriage Counselling / Online marriage counsellors / Online Relationship Counselling / Relationship Counselling

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Do you need online relationship counselling?


Photo by Vera Arsic from Pexels |Article by Kimberly Yusay

Wondering if you and your partner are in need of couples counselling? We’ve compiled five questions that will help you decide. But first, let’s talk about something important.

3 FACTORS AFFECTING RELATIONSHIP DISTRESS

According to the research of Martha Wadsworth and Howard Markman published in the Behavior Therapy journal, factors contributing to relationship problems can be classified into three:

  • Personal issues – History of mental illness, traumatic experiences from family of origin, attachment style, personality, etc.
  • Couple dynamics – Realistic vs. idealistic expectations, amount of effort put into the partnership, roles within the relationship, and compatibility in general
  • External Pressures – Parenthood, dealing with in-laws, work strain, etc.

With these factors in mind, here’s a set of questions that will aid in discerning whether you and your partner are in need of couples’ therapy:

(1) Are you transitioning into parenthood?

A 2011 study has shown that new parents may experience a drop in relationship satisfaction due to exhaustion, adjustment period, and lack of quality time spent with each other.

(2) Do you argue over money?

As stated by the Journal of Couple and Relationship Therapy, financial difficulties put a train to a relationship. This is because the couple may encounter more difficulties and challenges due to the lack of sufficient income.

(3) Is there a lot of miscommunication in your relationship?

According to a 2013 study, a couple’s communication pattern predicts the outcome of the relationship. Improving it results in a deeper connection and a lack of it can mean deterioration.

(4) Do you and/or your partner have a history of psychological problems?

A recent study indicated that mental health issues can contribute to relationship problems, and vice versa which often contributes to miscommunication in relationships.

(5) Are you co-parenting with a stepchild/children?

According to the Interdisciplinary Journal of Applied Family Studies, stepfamilies are at high risk for stress and relationship discord. It is difficult to negotiate parenting styles in newly blended families. Getting help from professionals can help during the boundary-setting phase.

WHEN YOU SHOULD GET HELP?

A survey published in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology disclosed that marital problems could be directly linked to psychological disorders, including:

  • Bipolar disorder
  • Alcohol-use disorder
  • Generalized anxiety disorder

Moreover, according to the Behaviour Therapy journal, relationship problems could exacerbate:

  • Depression
  • Social impairment (friends and family)
  • Work problems
  • Poor physical health
  • Suicidal ideation

Additionally, it is not only the couple who becomes affected by relationship distress. Dr. Matthew Bambling, a senior lecturer at the School of Clinical Medicine at the University of Queensland, said that it also heavily impacts the children, and could contribute to:

  • Behavioural problems
  • Substance misuse
  • Childhood depression

Researchers Ambika Krishnakumar and Cheryl Buehler also point out that this may be due to the parenting style of the dysfunctional couples which included harsh discipline and low parental acceptance.

WHERE TO FROM HERE?

Couples therapy can help couples decide where to go to regarding their current situation. Unfortunately, not all relationships can heal. So, where to from there?

For cohabiting and/or co-parenting couples, finding good relationship therapists who understand individual psychopathy, family dynamics and psychosocial stressors is important. Furthermore, partners who want safe, private and convenient counselling may try online relationship counselling.

27 Apr 2020

BY: Online Therapy

Marriage Counselling / Online Counsellor / Online Therapy / Online Therapy Clinical Psychologist / Relationship Counselling

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Of Sound Mind to Marry

Do you know if you are of sound mind to marry?

Going through the motions of getting married isn’t nearly as challenging as getting to know each other on a deeper level before the ceremony, says Psychologist Jim Bierman. His book raises all the controversial, yet crucial issues for pre-weds. He guides engaged couples through an enlightening process of self-examination and us-examination, helping them gain a greater understanding of their partner, of the person they are becoming as part of a couple, and of the marriage, they are about to create.

Who will benefit from this book?

Written for pre-weds, their families, close friends, and the professionals who counsel them, this thought-provoking text explores thinking about-and talking about-delicate issues from love, communication, friendship, and sex, to in-law relations, money matters and prenuptial agreements, and the ways in which children will change a relationship. When couples meet the challenge of deeply understanding each other and what they expect out of marriage, their chances of enjoying a satisfied, intimate, and stable married life are greatly enhanced. By the end of this book, pre-weds will have grown from the altered state of being in love to being of sound mind to marry, says Bierman.

Talking about the realities of becoming a husband or wife


Of Sound Mind to Marry by Jim Bierman

One of the last things couples planning a wedding usually want to do is talk about the realities of becoming husband and wife. Most would rather discuss wedding cake flavors and honeymoon plans than their views on children and finances, their personal insecurities and potential struggles, says Bierman, adding that even counselors and clergy usually do not tread into the area of these issues that can be deep, upsetting, and disagreement-inspiring. But better that before marriage than afterwards.

What you can expect from this book

This book raises all the controversial yet crucial issues for pre-weds. And that will help couples wed with far more understanding of themselves and each other, with more foresight and sound thinking, so that they’ll not only be thrilled to be marrying the one they have chosen, but they’ll know that their decision is a wise one.

Followed by peer review:

“All couples prepare for their wedding but few for their marriage. For those couples who want to ensure their marriage endures, this book is an excellent and essential guide. I recommend it without reservation.” (Harville Hendrix, Ph. D. author, Getting the Love You Want: A Guide for Couples)

Jim Bierman’s book is packed with enlightening and practical advice for any couple planning for marriage. He shows them how to deal directly with every important aspect of their relationship ahead of time and in a sensitive, loving way. I highly recommend it both to anyone planning to be married and to professionals who work with couples.” (Linda Adams President and CEO, Gordon Training International)

“Of Sound Mind to Marry offers a well-informed overview of the journey into marriage. Not just another book filled with advice, Bierman’s understanding of the psychological nuances of premarital and marriage relationships is presented in a clear and useful format. Add this one to your premarital reading list. A fresh treatment of the journey into marriage; Of Sound Mind to Marry is a sophisticated psychological look at forming a life-long relationship. Bierman is not afraid to tackle the difficult topics such as prenuptial agreements and deciding not to marry.” (Peter J. Larson, Ph.D. LP Vice President, Life Innovations, Inc.)

And full review by Richard Geller, Founder of CapitalCounselors.com and Clients4Therapists.com, 5.0 out of 5 stars The best manual for a couple hinking of getting married Reviewed in the United States on January 8, 2008 “I haven’t seen anything quite like this before. In my work I have several hundred clients, most of whom do some pre-marital counseling. If couples just read this book, they wouldn’t need anything else. That’s how good the book is. A great deal of thought that someone should give to getting married is really in asking the right questions. And those questions are clearly spelled out.” So much of life should come with an owner’s manual, but doesn’t.

Jim’s book comes awfully close to being an owner’s manual for people who are thinking of marrying. I run a service that matches counselors and therapists with couples and individuals. So I was eager to read Jim’s book and hoping it would serve for many couples who may want to read rather than see someone, or want to supplement what their religious or secular counseling provides them. I haven’t seen anything quite like this before. In my work I have several hundred clients, most of whom do some pre-marital counseling. If couples just read this book, they wouldn’t need anything else. That’s how good the book is.

A great deal of thought that someone should give to getting married is really in asking the right questions. And those questions are clearly spelled out. The first few chapters talk about how we need to ask honest questions about how we feel about our partner — questions that are difficult to ask in the “altered state of being in love” as Jim puts it.

Then the book explores what most of us don’t know to ask and think about, with respect to children, and in-laws and a host of other issues that often cause problems in a marriage because we don’t expect them. The last part talks about specific issues and methods. This is worth the price of the book because a lot of problems can be avoided by good communication — and Jim distils wisdom of how to communicate in easy clear language and exercises that couples can learn.

I don’t expect anything will truly replace in-person counseling, but Jim’s book is almost as good. Buy a copy today for yourself or for a friend or family member who is going to get married.

You can order the book on Amazon by following this link.

Alternatively, you can get in contact with Jim to discuss ‘Of sound mind to marry’ by completing the form below.

31 Oct 2018

BY: Online Therapy

Couple Counselling / Couples Counselling / Marriage Counselling / Online Skype Counselling / Online therapist / Online Therapy / Relationship Counselling / Video Counselling

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Relationship Counselling Auckland using Video Calling

Photo by J Carter.

Relationship Counselling Auckland using Video Calling:

This article, Relationship Counselling Auckland using Video Calling builds on an essay that discusses attachment theory within relationship counselling. Today’s article Relationship Counselling Auckland using Video Calling focuses on the separation-individuation theory (when children learn to separate from parents emotionally) and considers how the family system can cause family members to attain/not-attain personal authority and how it affects relationships.

Relationship counselling involves an exploration of attachment styles and looks at how people develop relationship communication patterns from childhood into adulthood. For example, have you ever wondered why you and your siblings remember events differently?

People experience circumstances within their contexts which influence how they make sense of themselves and their worlds.  The primary consideration in the separation-individuation process is the smooth transition from one stage to the next. Conversely, disruptions or restrictions during the transition process can have life-long effects in the way we respond to our worlds.

The mother is involved in her child’s changes from dependence, individuation to differentiation (discussed below).  At first the child is entirely dependent on the mother, but eventually, he/she struggles for control to achieve autonomy.  At times, parents are uncomfortable with the child finding his/her individuality, and a power struggle may ensue.   Early experiences affect the way people make sense of themselves over a lifetime and influence how they react in relationships.

Dependence

As discussed in Relationship counselling using Skype, attachment styles develop within the first years (zero to three years) when mother and baby are undifferentiated. In other words, the baby can’t discriminate between I / Not-I and believes mother/baby are one (Mahler, 1986). Furthermore, the mother experiences the baby as an extension of herself. Keep in mind, attachment theory is not developmental and is understood as universal individual experiences that form the basis of family dynamics (Blom & Bergman, 2013).

Individuation

From three years onwards, children start developing their own identities.  Failure to individuate means a person cannot create a sense of self and continues to experience the self in the context of the family.  Individuating too early can lead to coping styles where a person relies on self too much, but prolonged dependence can lead to overdependence in adult life.

A teenager generally individuates around the age of 16 by moving more towards their social circles and developing their own identities outside their family units.  At this stage, the young person is still very much part of the family.  Successful individuation is experienced when parents encourage teenagers to follow dreams, encourage open debate and let go (in a healthy way) of their children at the appropriate time.

Differentiation

Successful differentiation means that the young adult (generally by 35) is fully aware of I / Not-I and can function successfully independent of the parent or marriage partner.  However, I have found in therapy that some couples become fused and start viewing the other as an extension of themselves. This can place tremendous pressure on the relationship.  Once the partners accept that they can function independently within a unit, then the relationship can improve.

Can Relationship Counselling using Video Calling be effectively used with attachment problems?

Absolutely, not only can it be effective, but also convenient when avoiding traffic.  However, not all people are comfortable with the electronic medium and prefer face-to-face counselling.

Below please find the references for the article Relationship Counselling Auckland using Video Calling

Inga Blom and Anni Bergman: Observing Development: A Comparative View of Attachment Theory and Separation–Individuation Theory

Mahler, M. S. (1986b). On the first three subphases of the separation-individuation process. In P. Buckley (Ed.), Essential papers on object relations (pp. 222–232). New York: New York University Press.

Feel free to contact us if you need relationship counselling by completing the Contact us form.

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29 Oct 2018

BY: Online Therapy

Couple Counselling / Marriage Counselling / Relationship Counselling / Skype Counselling

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Relationship Counselling using Skype

Relationship counselling using Skype:

Online Therapy provides relationship counselling using Skype or Zoom.  Generally, relationship counselling is initiated by a partner when a couple struggles to deal with issues on their own.  Couples counselling, (sometimes referred to as marriage therapy) deals with problems and conflicts that arise in the relationship.  However, relationship therapy is not only between couples; it could also be with a family member or friend.  It is possible to receive relationship counselling using Skype, provided that the couple has a private place to talk to the therapist.

Theory: Relationship Therapy

From the Online Therapy perspective, our theoretical model mainly focuses on attachment theory and is possible to apply in relationship counselling using Skype. In other words, we believe that emotional and physical attachments to at least one caregiver is required for successful personal development in children. In approximately six to ten sessions, we will explore your childhood attachments to find out how it affects your current relationships.

Attachment Styles

Based on Ainsworth et al., (1978) four main attachment styles affect how adults react to others based on their experiences as a child.  Attachment styles develop when a baby is between zero and three years of age.

Secure (autonomous)

A secure attachment is formed when a baby receives sufficient nurturing and affection.  Furthermore, babies cannot self-soothe, they receive soothing from their parents (mainly the mother), which makes the child feel comfortable and loved.  Hence, a child learns that his/her world is safe.  As an adult, this person can securely attach to a partner, easily form close friendships and is dependable in turn.  This person will not avoid difficult situations (address them maturely without fear of rejection) and will be low on anxiety.

Avoidant (dismissive)

When a baby’s needs are not met, i.e. trained to sleep alone very early (crying until asleep) without his/her distress being responded to, as an adult this person will be uncomfortable with someone getting too close. For instance, they believe their primary caregivers rejected them, their needs were not met, and they experience the world not trusting others. In the long run, parents who encourage such independence teach the child that it is NOT ok to need someone.  As adults, they are self-contained and become emotionally unavailable (avoidant/dismissive).

Anxious (Preoccupied/ambivalent)

At times, parents are inconsistent in their reaction to children. One moment, they may respond in a nurturing manner, but other times they could be insensitive or intrusive. Consequently, this parenting style confuses children and makes them feel insecure because the child does not know what behaviour to expect from the parent. As adults, they seek extreme emotional closeness and often worry that they are not loved, they may also feel abandoned.

Anxious/Avoidant (Unresolved)

Physically or emotionally abused children are consistently in survival mode.  With this in mind, the world is a terrifying place for this child.  As an adult, they do not feel safe in relationships.  In other words, as much as they crave closeness, they run away when someone gets too close.  For this reason, these adults are uncomfortable with commitment but long for a close relationship.

Conclusion

As has been noted, attachment styles formed in childhood give us a glimpse into how a child will react to adult relationships.  For further reading on attachment styles Ainsworth et al., (1978) provide useful insight into child attachment development.

References

Ainsworth MD, Blehar M, Waters E, Wall S (1978). Patterns of Attachment: A Psychological Study of the Strange Situation. Hillsdale NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. 

To find out more about Relationship counselling using Skype, feel free to complete the contact form below and we will get back to you.

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