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Acute Couples Counselling Psychotherapy

Are you and your partner constantly arguing? Here’s how to break the negative cycle

Contrary to common belief, arguments are not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, research has shown that couples who have regular arguments are more likely to stay together.

Conflict and subsequent resolution can bring us closer and aid an understanding of one another’s boundaries.

 

It is how we argue that changes its influence on the relationship.

Let me demonstrate ways that the negative cycle starts, and suggest how to break a negative cycle of conflict. This transforms the cycle into a healthy, constructive form of communication.

What are we arguing about?
  1. Money

Money is said to be one of the most common topics of contention within a relationship. Secret spending, a change in financial status or disagreement on how money is allocated, are all potential instigators for a row to begin.

2. The children

Parents might disagree on how children should be raised or how to approach a challenging parenting situation. There may also be issues involving a step child or blended family unit. Whether or not to have more children can also cause tensions between couples.

3. Time together / Schedules

Sometimes, one partner can feel neglected or dissatisfied with the amount of quality time being spent together as a couple. Frequency of date nights, sexual intimacy, holidays or time spent with friends can cause arguments.

4. Future plans

When your relationship began, your future plans may have been aligned. But over time, people and circumstances can change. If you are no longer seeing eye to eye on what the future should look like, you could end up arguing.

5. Affairs / Secrets

If one of you has had an affair, or been deceitful or unfaithful in some way, this can cause tremendous rows and tensions – potentially for years. Healing from major impacting events is an important step in minimising these arguments and moving forward from them.

And there are, of course, many more. ‘Annoying’ habits, wider family problems, cultural differences, religious differences, and sexual disagreements are also very common topics for disagreement.

When arguments hurt

Like I said before, how you argue is important. I witness people’s argument styles frequently and have observed that most people fall into one of these categories:

  • The attacker – this is where a person makes an effort to verbally attack the other, pointing out why they are wrong and listing their annoyances.

For example:

Ben: I don’t think you should buy that expensive purse.

Amy: You always do this, you’re so tight with money, I can’t believe how mean, petty and controlling you are.

  • The defender – this is where a person spends much of their time defending their choices and actions when they perceive criticism.

For example:

Ben: I don’t think you should buy that expensive purse.

Amy: I deserve it. I have been working hard. I never buy myself anything. I am right to want this purse.

  • The withdrawer – this is where a hint of criticism can cause a person to emotionally and/or physically withdraw and avoid the conflict.

For example:

Ben: I don’t think you should buy that expensive purse.

Amy: I don’t want to talk about this. I’m going out.

Any of these argument styles can be harmful to a relationship and fuel a constant pattern of arguing. So, what can be done to change this?

When arguments are healing

Arguments arise because something is unresolved – whether that be with one another or within ourselves. Partners must identify the true cause of conflicts and align and work together to find a way forward.

When you attend couples therapy, you can learn to communicate with each other in an honest, nurturing way without an argument exploding. You can be supported in adapting your language to be less attacking / defensive / avoidant, and instead be more accountable and in ownership of your emotions. You can also make the space to properly hear your partner (and be heard) and benefit from a third ear in the room to help prevent misunderstandings.

At the end of it, you will have acquired skills that can transform future arguments from high-conflict and repetitive, to healthy and solution-orientated.

Getting the support you need

I offer you acute couples counselling, couples therapy and individual psychotherapy based on your preferences, either online, at your place, or at my clinics in Østerbro or Svendborg.

We can also go for a walk.

My pledge

Whichever help and support you need, my pledge to you is consistent.

Next step

Book a free 15 minute conversation, which is all you need to begin your journey. We will talk about where you are now, where you want to be, and how I can help you get there.

Categories
Acute Couples Counselling Couples Counselling

10 signs that your relationship needs couples therapy

In one survey, 93% of couples reported that couples therapy gave them effective tools for dealing with relationship problems. Which relationship problems are best dealt with in a therapy setting?  

Your relationship is unique, and has its own presence, like a third entity, between you both.

This entity has its own set of rules, strengths, challenges and expectations. Therefore, there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to having a successful, happy union.

What is common amongst all relationships is that, sometimes, conflicts can arise. Some of these are minor and can be dealt with quickly. Other conflicts can be extremely complicated, emotionally difficult and can put enormous pressure on the relationship. 

Couples therapy helps people, whether dealing with minor or major conflicts, to overcome them positively and proactively. But how do you know that your relationship needs therapy? Here are 10 signs…

Reasons to attend couples therapy

Conversations turn into arguments

Arguments are normal and healthy. In fact, studies have shown that frequent arguments are a sign of a functioning relationship. However, when everyday conversations frequently turn into conflicts, and you find your relationship in a persistent state of tension, something much deeper could be going on, and couples therapy should be sought. 

A cultural, racial or religious disagreement has occurred 

Conflicts involving race, culture or religion can be particularly sensitive and complicated. Your heritage, values and faith play a huge role in how you think and behave within your relationship. When fundamental parts of your identity are challenged by your spouse, it can cause immense friction and discomfort. Couples therapy provides a safe space to unpack and explore these issues. 

Sex has stopped or stagnated

I find that changes in the bedroom are often one of the first signs that something is wrong in the relationship. The frequency, intimacy levels or more practical components of sex might have altered, leaving couples struggling to communicate or pinpoint the causitive issue. Couples therapy allows you to discuss and explore your sex life in an honest way, free from judgement. 

You’re considering infidelity / Someone has been unfaithful

Without a doubt, infidelity is one of the hardest challenges a couple can endure. Studies have shown that almost half of the population of Denmark has been unfaithful at some point in their lives – it is extremely common and always distressing. Affairs don’t happen from nowhere. There is always a build up. Couples therapy helps to heal a partnership struggling with infidelity, and reduce the likelihood of a future affair occurring. 

There are money worries

Money is one of the leading causes of divorce. There are all sorts of ways that money can negatively impact your relationship. These include debt, secret spending, an imbalance of earnings (and therefore power), or never agreeing on how much should be spent, saved or invested. For some, talking about money can be very difficult, and so couples therapy allows a safe space for this topic to be explored with transparency. 

Lacking interest in one another

When you are co-existing instead of collaborating, you might benefit from seeing a couples therapist. Healthy relationships require interaction, quality time, and a genuine interest in one another. Without this, you are two housemates coexisting in the same space. And that’s not fulfilling for anyone. Couples therapy can help you to re-energise the relationship and re-discover each other. 

There are issues involving children

Raising children is undoubtedly a privilege. But it is also a heavy responsibility, often burdened with immense challenges that can strain even the best of relationships. Whether you are having trouble conceiving, have recently had a baby, are raising teenagers, adopting, fostering or forming a blended family, children present us with highly complex and often very emotional relationship hurdles. Couples therapy helps you to navigate the trials of parenting, freeing you up to enjoy the triumphs.  

You / they crave more space

Hearing ‘I need space’ is never easy. If your partner has said this, it’s likely they’re feeling overwhelmed, suffocated or distracted by something else. Taking time apart is difficult but often necessary to avoid the escalation of problems. What’s crucial though, is that when you come back together again, you seek therapy to help understand what caused the need for space in the first place. 

You / they crave more intimacy 

I often see one partner in a relationship craving more intimacy and connection from the other. This can manifest as wanting more quality time, more date nights, more sex, more conversation, more affection… If you recognise this as forming part of your relationship, you might want to consider couples therapy to help understand why the balance is off. It will also help you to see your partner’s point of view, hear what their needs are, and allow them to know more about you and your needs. 

There has been a sudden life change

If you have recently experienced a significant event, such as a bereavement, relocation, a new baby, a job loss or a trauma, couples therapy can help. Couples therapy gives you both the time and space to acknowledge the event, explore the feelings within it, work through any challenges and face the future in a more positive way together. 

There is no right or wrong time to go to therapy. I would recommend, however, that if you have noticed any of these 10 signs, that you explore the option of therapy as soon as possible. This way, you can take a proactive approach in maintaining a healthy, solid union, rather than waiting for a crisis to hit. 

Getting the support you need

I offer you acute couples counselling, couples therapy and individual psychotherapy based on your preferences, either online, at your place, or at my clinics in Østerbro or Svendborg.

We can also go for a walk.

My pledge

Whichever help and support you need, my pledge to you is consistent.

Next step

Book a free 15 minute conversation, which is all you need to begin your journey. We will talk about where you are now, where you want to be, and how I can help you get there.

Categories
Acute Couples Counselling

Acute crisis couples therapy

Acute couples counselling can bring immediate relief, and help move the rupture from emergency through crisis management to healing. 

Sometimes a sudden crisis emerges within a relationship, and this crisis requires immediate attention to plug the leakage. For that reason, I offer comprehensive and acute marriage counselling, couples counselling and couples psychotherapy to those in need. Acute couples therapy offers you the opportunity to share your thoughts, feelings and experiences and to establish a safe common ground. Regardless of how your relationship develops, I offer assistance in facilitating a respecting communication between you.

In order to bring a sense of containment to painful situations, I aim at offering sessions within one business day of your first contact to me. Contact me immediately here

Knowing what constitutes a ‘crisis’ is the first step in finding a healthier, happier relationship.
A 2013 study demonstrated that 72.2% of couples cited conflict and communication problems as a major contributor to divorce. Other reasons included infidelity (59.6%), marrying at a young age (45.1%) and substance misuse (34.6%). 

All of us at some point experience a relationship problem. The problem might be easily managed or it might feel like a dragging, nagging issue. In some cases, these problems and issues can turn into an immediate relationship crisis. If unmanaged in these dark and choppy waters, the relationship may not survive. 

What is a crisis?

What constitutes a crisis is personal and individual. There is no set definition. You might, however, notice some of the following problems that indicate you are in a relationship crisis:

  • You are discussing / arguing again and again, with no end in sight
  • You are stonewalling each other / don’t speak to each other
  • You are sleeping or living apart (when this is not the norm for you)
  • You are depressed or anxious about your relationship more often than you are content
  • You have contempt for your partner (or they have contempt for you)
  • You, or your partner, has an affair / is unfaithful 
  • There’s violence
  • You are considering separation / divorce
  • Criminal activity is being considered

Whatever your crisis is, it’s important to meet it with immediate care and attention. This can be challenging because oftentimes we don’t notice this crisis creeping up on us. 

What are the warning signs of a crisis?

If you have noticed any of the following, you might already be in a crisis. It’s important to take action now and not wait for further pain to occur. 

  • You’re starting to hide things from your partner or don’t feel you can tell them how you feel
  • You are feeling suspicious of your partner
  • You feel arguments aren’t being properly resolved
  • You’re arguing more often than you used to
  • Sex is less frequent or less fulfilling
  • You are having romantic or intimate feelings for another person
  • You dread going home / take sanctuary elsewhere
  • The relationship is feeling like a chore
  • A life change (such as having a baby) has adversely impacted the relationship 
  • There are wider challenges (such as conflict with in-laws) that aren’t being resolved
When your relationship needs help right now

If you and your partner are noticing any of the crisis fault lines mentioned, don’t hesitate to get the help your relationship deserves.  Much like an ambulance is needed at a crash site, acute couples counseling can assist you and your partner in identifying immediate dangers, setting up a safe space from which to listen to, and speak to each other. Finally, acute couples counseling can bring down inflammatory and hurt rhetoric, so healing has a potential to begin.  These first steps are often the hardest for a couple to undertake, and there is no reason you should go the distance alone. 

As your couples therapist, I will assist you in these first steps towards healing the rift, and my goal is to bring you lovingly together again in a new way, or help you both separate with dignity. 

These processes are especially important if there are children involved. 

Will acute couples counseling save my relationship? 
It can and I am here to do just that.  I have helped many couples come together again after serious betrayals. 

Going a bit deeper to answering this very common question though, is that you get back what you give out. Whatever is happening within your relationship, I can help you to unpack the problems and find a more thoughtful way forward. But, I can only take you as far as you want to go. There needs to be an opening from you to let me in and then, working together, we can go far.

“If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together”

What can be guaranteed, with just a few couples therapy sessions, is that you will both have a more intimate understanding of one another, and a much clearer view on where the relationship is going.

Getting the support you need

I offer you acute couples counselling, couples therapy and individual psychotherapy based on your preferences, either online, at your place, or at my clinics in Østerbro or Svendborg. We can also go for a walk.

My pledge

Whichever help and support you need, my pledge to you is consistent.

Next step

Book a free 15 minute conversation, which is all you need to begin your journey. We will talk about where you are now, where you want to be, and how I can help you get there.

Categories
Acute Couples Counselling Couples Counselling

Can my relationship recover from an affair?

With an estimated 23% of partners admitting to cheating, is it time for us to positively address infidelity in relationships? 

There is no doubt about it – relationships can be tough.

The thrill and excitement you felt in the early stages of dating might have diminished with time, while life pressures and over-familiarity with your spouse can create tensions or resentments.

Does this sound familiar? 

You or your partner might react to home and relationship stressors by having an affair. And this isn’t as uncommon as you might think. A survey conducted between 2017 and 2018 spanning almost 50,000 Danes, an average of 9,000 respondents admitting to cheating. 

For some, the discovery of infidelity is enough to end the relationship. But for many others, a way forward is possible. 

I offer hope to you and your partner if you wish to repair the rupture in your relationship after the discovery of infidelity.

What is ‘infidelity’?

Definitions matter when describing infidelity. A 2-year affair does not manifest, nor have the same impact, as a one-night-stand does. Did you know that an emotional affair can damage more than a  physical one? 

Universally, an infidelity (in any form) is a fundamental betrayal of the other partner in the relationship.

When discovered, it causes immense pain, guilt, anger, shame, distrust and confusion.  Research has also shown a causative link between infidelity and poor mental health, domestic violence and divorce. 

If you have discovered infidelity in your relationship or you yourself are being unfaithful, you might ask yourself;

  • Why would my partner do this to me?
  • Why have I done this to my partner?
  • How am I ever going to trust him/her again?
  • What is wrong with me that they would feel they need to do this?
  • What does that third person have that I don’t?
  • How do we repair this? 
  • What about our children / apartment / future together? 
  • Can therapy help with this problem?

What’s important to understand is that you do not have to suffer alone. There is a safe and constructive way to explore these questions and find a way forward – couples therapy

Your relationship needs an impartial professional who can help you unpack the relevant aspects of the relationship and identify a) what brought you to this point, b) where you’d like to go from here and c) how you’re going to get there. 

I will help guide the conversation through exploring the rupture, sharing the pain and finally mapping out how to take positive action and bring responsibility and shared care to the relationship, and to the individuals involved. Finally, we may look at the role the “other” person has had in the rupture, and how to bring meaning back into the relationship, this time without betrayal and shame. 

Why do we cheat?

When you discover an affair, your first question is often – why? 

I can see why you might want an instant answer to that question – but infidelity is complicated. There is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ reason why it occurs. The reasons for unfaithfulness are multifaceted and unique to your relationship. That’s the whole point of couples therapy – together, we look at your particular circumstances and identify what happened within your relationship. 

Research conducted by Barta, W. D., & Kiene, S. M. (2005) identified the following possible motivations for unfaithfulness, some of which you may be able to identify with:

  • A need for variety:  74% of research respondents identified a desire for variety after feeling that the relationship has stagnated. 
  • Neglect: 70%of respondents said that feeling neglected was a partial driver in causing the infidelity. 
  • Low self esteem: 57% of respondents said that cheating on their partner helped boost their self esteem. 
  • Lack of commitment: 41% said low levels of commitment towards their partner caused them to cheat. 
  • Lack of sex: 32% said that lack of sex, sexual issues or sexual disalignment caused them to look elsewhere for sexual fulfilment. 

Furthermore, it’s important to know that certain contributing factors will increase the likelihood of infidelity, such as having an insecure attachment style, having a material or immaterial addiction, perhaps displacing a challenge from work. The hardest reason to spot can be the accumulation of the “blah-di-blahs”; a slow and steady pile-up of small occurrences that cause the intimacy in the relationship, initially strong, to slow down, fragment and break. Think of a river that flows freely and strongly to the ocean, full of well oxygenated water, plants and a varied animal life. Slow, the source of the river silts up, and the flow slows. Further downriver, new bends and curvatures add to the silting process, bringing the once roaring mouth of the river to a mere trickle. The river is slowly suffocated by other intruding natural forces. 

So, where is the water that once flowed freely in the relationship? 

Water always finds the path of least resistance, and “comes out” or “shows up” in the strangest of places.

A spark, such as a caring gesture from a colleague, or a flirt with an old friend at that get-together party can suddenly bring an eruption of water springing forward – the affair is ignited, and with it can come fiery feelings of passion, release, recognition and support in the infidelic partner, plus the thrill / guilt pattern of breaking a taboo. 

In my experience, there are four major influences that can bring a relationship to its knees. These are money, sex, power and culture. Read more about the big 4.

Since 2004 couples have found healing to their relationships and rediscovered their intimate partners by overcoming infidelity with my help. Oftentime, infidelity is a symptom of far deeper relationship issues and this does not need to define your relationship. By bringing these issues to consciousness in a safe and positive way I can help your relationship develop great depths of intimacy. 

Getting the support you need

I offer you acute couples counselling, couples therapy and individual psychotherapy based on your preferences, either online, at your place, or at my clinics in Østerbro or Svendborg.

We can also go for a walk.

My pledge

Whichever help and support you need, my pledge to you is consistent.

Next step

Book a free 15 minute conversation, which is all you need to begin your journey. We will talk about where you are now, where you want to be, and how I can help you get there.