Our Approach to Marriage and Relationship Therapy
Our Counselling Philosophy: Relationship as a Vehicle for Healing
We are all created to love and be loved – equally and joyously. This is our natural purpose in life.
Ideally, left to develop organically we would simply do that. But in order to do this we would have to have perfect parents as well as perfect social, educational, political and economical systems, which would support this natural unfolding of purpose.
Of course, this is not the reality of our society.
As we grow in this world, we encounter these imperfect systems, which are often built on fear – a fear of not having enough, a fear of loss, a fear of separation and disconnection.
Instead of “perfect love”, what we end up getting is:
- Parents whose own needs for unconditional love were not met in childhood and are therefore unable to love us unconditionally.
- Faulty social, educational, political and economic systems, which often result in mis-information, mis-guided rules, mistrust and a preoccupation with getting as opposed to giving.
All of this inhibits our ability to love and be loved well. Our resulting wounds cause us to act in ways that are damaging to ourselves and our relationships. Even with the best of intentions, our partners hurt us and we hurt them. Thus, we continue in a cycle of not getting what we want in love.
However, the beauty of having had painful relationships is that they can be a catalyst for growth. They can teach us how to do love well.
Couples go through hard times in their marriage and with the birth of our daughter; we were not immune to this. We probably should have gone to Love Done Well years before we did! They helped us through some very difficult times, times in which we didn’t know how to effectively communicate with one another, times in which we felt guilty about the way we felt towards each other, times in which we didn’t even want to speak to each other.
Our counsellor provided us with tools that worked. She enabled us to do the personal work ourselves; and we realized in this journey that we had as much personal work to do as we did as a couple together. She is motivating, inspiring, incredibly trustworthy and non-judgmental. She is truly there to help and guide couples along their path together.
We are now in a very good place and expecting our second child. We still attend counselling on a semi-regular basis to “check in” with ourselves and each other and we now have the tools we use at home to keep the communication lines open.
I actually feel grateful that we went through such a challenging time in our marriage so early on because Love Done Well was there to help us to do the work to make our relationship much stronger than I ever imagined it could be.
Our relationship pain can be healed through our experiences in relationship. We can learn to identify our unmet needs, unhealthy patterns of relating and our blocks to growth. Once we are aware and take responsibility for the behaviors that are getting in the way of doing love well, loving becomes a whole lot easier. We can then choose to discard the obstacles, blocks, defenses and behaviors we developed for survival while growing up, that no longer serve us in our love relationships.
When we let go of these unhealthy relationship patterns and become accountable for the choices we make in our relationships, we uncover a state of being that is the natural birthright of all humanity – a state of love. Once we fully grasp this, we can really begin to love and be loved in much more fulfilling ways.
I attribute my counselling sessions over the last year and a half to greatly strengthening both my marriage and myself. Love Done Well came highly recommended by another friend. I have seen counsellors all my life (from childhood to adulthood) and no one has had the ability to transform my life as my counsellor at Love Done Well did. I have come to understand my actions and my emotions in ways I never knew possible. I feel the last year and a half has resulted in tremendous growth for me, both personally and in my relationship with my husband.
I have recommended Love Done Well to numerous couples and to friends who are going through personal challenging times in their lives. All have thanked me endlessly for introducing them to this great group of therapists. I would recommend them without hesitation. I shudder to imagine where I would be personally and in my marriage if we hadn’t found them when we did.
Thank you for all your help, support and guidance in my life and my marriage. I am forever grateful.
What to Expect from Couples & Relationship Counselling
Relationship therapy is not rocket science. Improvement can begin in the very first session. We will work quickly helping you to get to the root of your relationship problems and help you find your own personal road to healing. We want you to begin to see changes immediately upon entering therapy so that you can feel optimistic about your future in relationships. Once your sense of hope grows you will find that healing happens more easily.
Our style of relationship therapy is compassionate as we challenge you to grow. We’ll support you and validate your experiences and pain. AND, we’ll also ask tough questions at times and tell you when we think you need to make a change in order to improve your relationship happiness.
We have enormous faith in people’s ability to create the kind of relationships they have always longed for once they know how. Regardless of the pain you are bringing into the therapy room, we will work tirelessly utilizing our training, skills and resources to help you transform pain into love.
Our ultimate goal is to help you turn your way of relating around as quickly as possible.
I am grateful for the space, the love, the learning and the teaching that my therapist has brought to me.
I’ve bared my soul, exposed myself like never before, I did it by choice because I say “no more”, no more hiding, no more buying love, no more what if. As much as I was frightened by the exercises every week, I looked forward to them. I lost myself a very long time ago…
Thank you for teaching me my most valuable lesson: I’ve realized how important it is to be as clean as I can be with life.
Do I want Love or Fear?
I choose Love, you’ve showed me how love can heal, it is something that I have known all along but you gave me a glimpse of how quickly a shift can happen.
Sylvia H., Vancouver Island, BC
We use a variety of marriage counselling and relationship therapy approaches depending on the situation and what will work best in helping you move forward. Below is a summary of some of the most effective approaches we use in therapy:
- The Developmental Model of Couples Therapy (Bader-Pearson Model): This approach to marriage counselling is founded on the premise that particular aspects of childhood development will influence how an adult goes about their love relationships. How we attached to care-givers in childhood and how our relationships with them developed, in large part determines how well we can create intimate adult relationships. If any part of our development in childhood was thwarted, our adult love relationships will (painfully) reveal that lack. This model of couples therapy helps clients see where their development got stuck and offers couples a new way to relate about self in an intimate relationship with another. Once couples know what stage of development they are stuck in, they can consciously pursue the relationship tasks necessary to move forward and create success in their relationship.
- Imago Relationship Therapy (IRT) is a form of couples therapy that focuses on relational counselling to transform conflict between couples into opportunities for healing and growth. It is based on the concept that we unconsciously seek out the parent figure with whom we had the most unmet needs in childhood, in order to get those needs met now. Becoming aware of these unmet needs and learning to express them in a manner in which your partner can hear and try to meet them, is a vital part of this approach to couples counselling.
- Satir Transformational Systemic Therapy (STST) is an approach to relationship counselling that focuses on the client’s relationship with self, other and the world. Change is aimed at the level of Being, as well as at the domains of doing, feeling and perceiving. The goal is to support clients to work towards a sense of responsible wholeness, by helping them gain clarity about their unique desires.
- Cognitive Behavioural Therapy: Cognitive behavioral therapy focuses on your beliefs and thoughts. Understanding how you think offers the freedom to change your mind at any moment. Once you overcome your unhelpful and negative thoughts, you have the freedom to make the decisions that will enhance your love life.
- Somatic Experiencing: Every thought, feeling and experience you have manifests in your body. If you’re not aware of what is happening in your body, you won’t know how you are feeling, and if you don’t know how you are feeling, you won’t know how to get your needs met. We’ll help you become aware of where you are holding pain in your body so that you can release it, allowing more room for love.
- Transpersonal Therapy: Transpersonal therapy holds that the purpose of all relationships is to transform mistaken beliefs about ourselves and others so that we can be happy, joyous and free. It takes us beyond our individual needs and helps us connect to the larger sense of what it means to love in the world.
- Client-centered Therapy: Client-centered therapy means that we will work hard to build rapport with you by being genuine and caring. Client-centered therapy also means that you know what is best for you at any given time. Our role as your relationship counsellor is to help guide you towards trusting yourself more so that you can make decisions that will serve you well in relationships.
- Family Systems Therapy: Family Systems therapy focuses on releasing the pain and negative patterns of relationship that we learned when growing up. Most of our unhealthy relationship patterns were developed as a coping skill to survive the hurts we had in our early years. The problem is, these coping skills often wreak havoc in our relationships in adulthood. Through counselling, we’ll unearth these outdated ways of being and focus on helping you find more constructive ways of loving.
Our approach to helping you improve your relationships is simple, yet comprehensive. We’re confident that our philosophy, personal experience and professional skills can help you Do Love Well. After all, we’ve been helping couples turn their relationships around since 2003.
If you want a new approach to love and relationships, please contact us to set up your FREE 10 minute phone consultation.
We also provide relationship counselling and coaching to you if you live outside of the Vancouver area by phone, Skype and email.