Menu

Marriage/Couples Counselling

Marriage/Couples Counselling

happy coupleWhen do you put gas in your car?  For some, it's when the gas light comes on.  For others, it's proactively when you're at half a tank because you believe going lower hurts your vehicle.  If you don't ever add fuel, your car simply stops working.  Your car takes routine maintenance to work.  When it doesn't work, you take it to a mechanic.  The same logic can apply to your romantic relationship. 

For some individuals "couples counselling" is a stigmatized term accompanied by shame and perceived failure.  On the contrary!  Attending counselling with your partner demonstrates wisdom, courage and commitment to your relationship.  If people invested as much time and effort "tuning up" their marriages/love relationships as they do their cars, the separation/divorce rate might be lower.  Seeking couples counselling is also like going to a medical doctor or the gym - it won't hurt you, only help you, even though it may be uncomfortable at times.

Depending on a couple's issues, needs and goals, I may endeavour to help both partners:                            

  • See their relationship in a more open-minded way and stop the "blame game" elderly couple   
  • Learn how past experiences affect current relationship dynamics and problems      
  • Better understand each other's feelings, perspectives, needs and behaviors    
  • Improve communication and interaction patterns      
  • Discuss differences rationally and solve problems together            
  • Heal from an affair and restore trust                        
  • Bring out emotions and thoughts that they fear expressing to the other person
    (to reduce the risk of becoming emotionally distant and growing apart).

If your spouse/partner refuses to attend sessions, you can still go by yourself.  It's more challenging to resolve differences when only one person is willing to participate in therapy, but you can still benefit by learning about your reactions/behavior and how these impact the relationship.

Marriage/couples counselling can be relatively brief or more extensive.  You might need only a few sessions to help you weather a crisis, or you may require more sessions if your relationship has greatly deteriorated.  In some cases, joint counselling helps partners discover that their differences are irreconcilable and that it is better to end the relationship.

Please Note:

I will not counsel a couple together if physical abuse is present in their relationship. 

In order for couples’ therapy to be successful, both partners must feel safe disclosing how they feel, be willing to take responsibility for their actions and make adjustments to their behavior. 

Abusive people typically want all the power and control in the relationship and will focus on maintaining that imbalance, even if it means continuing unhealthy, hurtful and dangerous behavior patterns.  Furthermore, abuse is not a "relationship" problem.  The choice to be abusive lies solely with the abusive partner. 

 

gay couple

Anger Management Resources

If an abusive partner is willing to change, these organizations specialize in anger management programs/therapy:

  • John Howard Society                             www.johnhoward.on.ca                    (416) 925-4386 / 1-866-265-4434  
  • Family Service Toronto                         https://familyservicetoronto.org      (416) 595-9618
  • Catholic Family Services Toronto        www.cfstoronto.com                         (416) 921-1163 / (416) 222-0048    

For Abused Women

If you are a woman who is or has been abused, the Assaulted Women's Helpline provides crisis/emotional support, safety planning, information/referrals for local shelters, legal, financial or health-related resources 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.  

It is a free and completely anonymous service.   (It does not have caller ID and the number won't show up on your phone bill.)

(416) 863-0511    1-866-863-0511    (TTY) 1-866-7868       www.awhl.org

Please be aware that your computer can be monitored by your abuser and it is impossible to clear your net travels/tracks completely.  If you are afraid your internet activity might be monitored, it is safest to call instead.

If you need immediate assistance, call 911.           

For Abused Men

If you are a male experiencing abuse by your partner, please reach out to the following organizations for help:

  • The National Domestic Violence Hotline    1-800-799-7233
  • The Canadian Centre for Men and Families (Toronto) offers:  trauma/abuse counselling, support groups, workshops, suicide prevention, parent education, mentorship, legal aid, advocacy, outreach and research on men's issues.
    www.menandfamilies.org   (647) 479-9611   1-844-900-2263

   If you need immediate assistance, call 911.