Couples can become immune to hearing each other, while voicing their own unmet needs and disappointments. And so, they lose contact with each other and the confidence in their capacity to resolve differences. Becoming better equipped to listen, express oneself and work together may require new skills, and being better able to manage one own emotions. When we can speak with integrity, be willing to take risks and be able to self-sooth when triggered, we have the capacities to develop and nurture a rewarding intimate relationship.
Couples counselling can provide a touchstone during rough times, a safe place to unpick the messy knitting that life has become. To help to sort and release the feelings, to bring clarity and new understanding and to reframe and refocus. It can help to open up and explore a couple’s patterns and desires, revising their history and what existed from their families of origin. Learning to better work through differences develops a deeper intimacy.
Counselling can also provide support to couples navigating changing life circumstances such as a new baby, altered work situations, illness or other major upheavals. Lilliana’s approach is to share effective ways of communicating and give tools that support both self-awareness and connection so that clients continue to grow their capacity for differentiation and intimacy and develop their relationship skills beyond the consulting room.
In crisis situations, counselling can help a couple move beyond pain and defence, to explore their own patterns, expectations and history and how this has contributed to their current situation. Counselling is a safe place to discover whether trust can be repaired, and if not, it can help support both parties to separate with less hostility and more understanding.
Lilliana also works with divorcing couples and those who have separated and want to collaborate well for their children. This work can ease suffering, increase understanding and both parties learn valuable relationship skills that support the ongoing co-parent relationship, and increase their confidence and capacity for new intimacy.
“We do not see things as they are;
we see things as we are”
How to start couples counselling
The first couples counselling session is always exploratory and without further commitment. Counselling is relational, so its essential to feel it's a good fit. Clients are encouraged to talk together at home and decide next steps. For couples choosing to work with Lilliana, she suggests initially committing to six sessions, and then reviewing. However, people’s circumstances, availability and resources vary, and its vital that each couple have an arrangement that best supports them. Lilliana tends to see clients for between 6 and 12 sessions.
Intensive couples counselling
In some situations, a Couple Intensive is the best option. This is a five hour commitment and a powerful way of exploring relationship dynamics, addressing issues and deepening intimacy. While an Intensive will not suit all couples, for some it is an effective and efficient method for addressing a crisis, or for providing a potent booster to a long-term relationship, particularly if the couple live far away or are not available for a series of sessions.