Often as the sessions progress people are still looking for me to give advice, asking what do you think I should do? Of course it's only natural that everybody would want their problems to be solved as soon as possible to relieve themselves of their discomfort that they are feeling.
The work of the counsellor is to assist their clients in finding solutions that best suits them. My aim is to construct the counselling in a collaborative way so it's Tailored to your needs.
By using a systemic approach, I can help you to change the unhelpful communication patterns used when interacting with members of your family or in our wider social world. The couples, intervention techniques that I may use vary widely.
Counselling helps to draw out answers within yourself and it identifies your beliefs values and faults which affects how you act and feel.
I see the client as the expert on themselves often clients do you have the solutions they are seeking they have the knowledge but have not been able to step back and view the difficulties from different perspectives.
It's through the conversations within the counselling session that helps with the understanding of how the difficulties were first formed and from discovering new perspectives fresh possibilities are often discovered by the client to form solutions to their problems.
Here Jackie gives you an insight on what to expect from your sessions and the reasoning behind the questions she would ask during these sessions.
Well one of the first questions I would ask you would be based around in what way are you looking for me to help you with the situation that is troubling you?
So with that in mind I would generally ask couples when I first meet them why ‘now’ has counselling been sort at this present point in time. This may seem at first a strange question to ask, but this question may lead to how your attempts in the past have worked temporarily but not as a permanent measure. Usually couples have tried various different solutions and may have given up when the first few attempts at the solution didn’t prove successful. Through having couple counselling, we can explore what worked, what nearly worked and what didn’t work. The awareness of the different aspects of a solution and making a solution work can be useful.
“When did you first become aware that there was a difficulty in your relationship?!”
“Do you think your partner is also finding this issue difficult or do they believe that the relationship is doing fine as it is?”
The above questions are important as quite often couples come into counselling with different agendas as to what they think the problem is or for one of them it might not be a problem at all.
“What goals you and your partner want to achieve by coming to counselling?”
For instance, “What are you hoping to gain from counselling?” or “What are you hoping to learn?” or “Where would you like to see your relationship by the end of counselling?” I would also be curious about how each of you would recognise if your relationship was improving.
As the session progresses I often ask questions about your extended family to find out if you had similar up bringing or if they were very different.
Some people may believe your upbringing doesn’t have much to do with your current relationship difficulties, but it is from our early childhood experiences that we start to develop our core beliefs of how relationships ‘should’ work. We carry these expectation templates around with us into our future relationships. Here we might take on new ways of doing things that add to the core belief ‘internal map of the world’. We may discard some of our old beliefs to make room for these new beliefs and your partner might like wise do the same.
I would be curious of any repeating generational patterns through each of your families, this will help me to see if you are following a certain life script. By becoming aware of any life scripts that are impacting your relationship being the way you both desire it to be. Awareness goes a long way in helping you to break free of any generational scripts that have been handed down to you or your partner.
I would be interested in your decision making to become a couple and what both of your hopes and expectations were at that point for your future together.
Knowing a couples’ history can help a counsellor focus on their strengths. Awareness of what drew a couple together in the first place can be helpful in reigniting the spark in the relationship.
It is important for me to know how you deal with conflict and style of arguing (or not as the case may be), and your communication styles. Or whether any life events have impacted on you, for instance births, deaths, loss of jobs to name a few.
This information can help identify strategies that will be most useful in supporting you with the development of appropriate ways to work through your disagreements.