31 Oct 2018

BY: Anna Keyter

Couple Counselling / Couples Counselling / Marriage Counselling / Online Skype Counselling / 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.

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29 Oct 2018

BY: Anna Keyter

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. 

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01 Nov 2017

BY: Anna Keyter

Couple Counselling / Featured / Online Counselling / Online Therapy

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Online Couples Therapy in New Zealand

Online couples therapy is a concept that New Zealanders are mostly familiar with.  Relationship counselling and interacting with couples in the privacy of their own homes can be useful to help them address deep emotional issues that contributed to resentment, hurt and frustration.  Online therapy is similar to visiting the therapy room, however, some individuals are simply not comfortable with technology and may feel that face to face counselling is part of their healing process.

Read More “Online Couples Therapy in New Zealand”

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