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Evolving Connections Counselling

Relationships, Individuals, Families



Transform Your Relationships Now

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STEP INSIDE LOVE: Insight into Relationship Counselling

Posted on January 4, 2020 at 10:30 PM Comments comments (826)

Throughout my time as a therapist, I have noticed an interesting duality that occurs in the behaviours of some clients. On the one hand, people are aware that they have a right to ask for something that they need from their partner while at the same time they may feel embarrassment and/or shame about what it is they need. This situation can often lead to difficulties in communication between partners but is something that can be worked on through therapy.

The following case study has been drawn from a real session. Names have been changed to protect identities but the content is real.

Step Inside Love

Tony and Sam have been a couple for over 30 years. Both came to relationships counselling because constant bickering and withdrawal patterns had led to criticism and stonewalling behaviours that were too much to bear. As a couple, they felt concerned that the relationship was on shaky grounds and were aware that the rest of their family was finding it quite challenging to manage the tension and to be around them. They agreed that the common value for them was family unity and harmony and they named the negative interaction between them as "The Distancer".

Tony and Sam worked hard in their therapy sessions. Both identified that they had experienced feelings of betrayal and emotional injuries throughout the majority of their relationship and they tallked to each other about significant events that had impacted severely upon them in the past. Through their counselling sessions, they learnt to speak from a place of vulneraibilty to help each other hear and understand what each of them needed. However, the work was not quite done as yet.

During their seventh session, the couple reported that whilst they had noticed that "The Distancer" was less prevalent in their lives when it came to dealing with the "big stuff",  it continued to appear over "trivial stuff". Sam relayed the experience of Tony bringing in dusty footprints into the house whilst working on laying a new deck on their veranda. Sam was aware of the right to ask for something - not having the clean floors soiled by work boots - but also felt some embarrassment to ask because Sam was aware that Tony was working and sometimes it is difficult not to make some mess. The duality of thoughts seems also to have found its way into the counselling session. Right from the start and peppered throughout the story was Sam's constant apology for "...wasting the session..." and "...I know it seems really silly but..." 

Turns out, that once that experience had been fully explored, the key factor for Sam had been feelings of unacknowledgment and devalue and that actually these feelings were also experienced by Tony. Through their work in their sessions, both Sam and Tony came to recognise that they had felt triggered and had defaulted to "The Distancer". Furthermore, they came to see that the values they both held of being heard and seen and to be shown that they are valued by one another are constants.

Even those things we might ordinarilly see as 'trivial' can turn out to be the very things that allow us to overcome the duality of thoughts and actions.

Happy 2020 Everyone!


Jo X

Maintaining Healthy Relationships During the Festive Season

Posted on December 14, 2019 at 7:00 AM Comments comments (1668)

This time of year can be fraught with anxiety, stress and disconnection in your relationships. To offset this, it is worth remembering the feeling of joy you get when you give someone a surprise gift that you have made or the mood lift you feel when helping a friend or colleague out.

Studies have shown that performing small acts of kindness benefits mental and physical health. It has also been shown to improve relationships. A recent study observed people who reported experiencing depression. The study spanned three weeks and measured how meditation and performing small acts of kindness affects depressive symptoms. Results showed that there was a reduction in depressive symptoms and that the biggest reduction occured in the people who performed small acts of kindness.

Performing and witnessing kindness has been shown to increase the love hormone oxytocin which brings you closer to those you love. This in turn helps to lower blood pressure and improves our heart health. Oxytocin also increases our self-esteem and optimism and this helps us to manage shyness in social situations. Donating things and volunteering time has also been linked with generating the feeling of happiness, reducing aches and pains and increasing our lifespan.

What better time of year than now to improve your mental and physical wellbeing and enhance your relationships? How about trying a little experiment by performing some small acts of kindness this festive season? Below are some ideas.

1. Tell someone who has made a difference to you that you feel grateful to them. This can be someone that you see often, not so often or that you haven't seen in a long time. You can be radical and do so in the 'old school' way by writing and sending them a card or a letter. Let them know how they influenced you. It might be that they showed you the love of playing an instrument or dancing. It might be that they showed you the love of debate or cooking. It can also be that they helped you to cultivate values such as healthy communication or showing affection with loved ones. 

2. Volunteer your time and talents. What do you enjoy doing? Perhaps you enjoy chatting and connecting with others and would like to spend some of your time volunteering to spend time with people who may be in hospital or are living in aged care facilities. You may love cooking and sharing food and would like to contribute your Christmas signature baking dish to someone in need.

3. Tell someone why you admire them. This can be a family member who is living or deceased. It can also be someone famous like an author, actor or sports person. Chances are that you'll learn a lot about yourself too because we usually the admire people who have traits we share or aspire to have.

Let us know in the comments section how you perform small acts of kindness.

Evolving Connetions would like to wish you good mental health and meaningful connections this festive season and always.

Love, Jo x