Iffley Turn Practice Tel: 01865 251233
Email : angelashanly@oxfordfamilypsychology.co.uk
Clinical Psychology and Family Therapy Services | Children, Adults, Couples and Families

Couples

I offer couples therapy for any of the following issues, at any stage of the relationship:

  • dealing with severe life stressors such as bereavement, change in work for one or both partners, decisions about where to live, affairs and other issues.
  • one partner is suffering with a mental health or physical health condition which impacts on the couple relationship.
  • relationship crises where there is a question of whether to stay together or separate
  • unhappiness with the relationship means there is a desire to reflect together about how to improve the quality of the relationship
  • separated parents wish to address co-parenting issues: this would often be combined with family sessions.

Couples’ sessions may initially be weekly, but generally, fortnightly sessions of 60 or 90 minutes are usually sufficient. As time goes on frequency can be decreased. Brief interventions of a small number of sessions may be effective or useful in some cases.

What Happens in Sessions

It is very common for one member of the couple to want to attend more than the other. In this situation, sometimes one person may attend alone initially. When the other person is prepared to come, the therapist will focus on the views and perspectives of both. The aim of the therapist is to create an equal relationship with both partners. The therapist’s goal is to help both individuals and the relationship, or to support the couple to gain clarity about whether they wish to continue the relationship.

The work will involve eliciting information about the current situation, history of the relationship, the patterns of positive relating in the past and present, the difficult or unhelpful patterns from the past and in the present, and the hopes and wishes of each person for themselves and the relationship in the future. Where the couple are parents, then the impact of parenting on the relationship will need to be carefully explored.

Discussion will focus on similarities and differences between the couple in terms of temperament, emotional expression, communication styles, and also broader categories, such as gender, race, culture, religious beliefs, and patterns in families of origin, as well as each person’s experiences and description of significant events. Where children are contributing to stress in the couple or where the couple relationship is impacting on the children, it may be important to consider involving them at some stage in a family session.