According to a survey of divorced couples, only 1% had sought help from a marriage counsellor. According to another study, the average distressed couple waited six years before contacting a relationship professional.
People would not wait 6 minutes to be relieved of the pain of a broken arm, but couples will wait six years to treat a broken marriage because they THINK they have failed! And they believe that marriage counselling will be ineffective. So couples counselling is in desperate need of a public relationship makeover! Coaching Basingstoke
The problem with waiting six years is that it spells disaster for couples – six years of frustration, six years of fighting the same stupid fight over and over again. Six years of emotional estrangement, six years of helplessness and hopelessness. After six years of agony, how could anyone be expected to hold on to hope?
Couples counselling can both save and improve a “bad” marriage. I believe that every relationship could benefit from some education, a relationship map, and a set of tools.
Furthermore, sessions with a couples counsellor are not comparable to a day at the beach. Counselling, on the other hand, can use playfulness and humour for therapeutic purposes! To paraphrase a well-known saying, “Marriage can be a tragedy for those who feel, but a comedy for those who think!”
Humour is the most powerful tool a couples counsellor can use to help couples gain insight and perspective. Humour reduces tension between two people. Humour creates a more gentle and playful atmosphere for a couple, bringing out the natural “we.” Humour allows clients to shift from “reactor” to “observer” in their drama, making it a very effective mindfulness tool.
Furthermore, humour in couples counselling sessions is an instant mood changer for four couples and aids in the relaxation and de-escalation of conflict. Laughter, according to neuroscientists, influences both sides of the brain, our emotional mind and our thinking mind. As a result, humour is an excellent tool for couples to use to convey their messages to one another without resistance. And we all learn more when we are having a good time.
Here’s an example of what I’m referring to. In my office, I have a large red ball. It measures about 20 inches across and is decorated with “Big Ball of Blame.” When a new couple walks into my office, I often notice a slight smile on their faces. Who doesn’t have a smouldering ball of resentment somewhere in their relationship? They understand. They also know that I may take a different approach to all of this.
When someone goes on a blaming rant during a session, which can happen quite frequently, I make them hold the “Big Ball of Blame” while they talk. Another variation is to place the ball between the couple and point to it, saying, “This “thing” – the BLAME – is what is coming in between the two of you.” Again, this assists a couple in shifting from their “You vs Me” positions to Us vs “The Big Ball of Blame.”
In my office, I also have a pair of foam swords leaning against the wall. When new couples notice the blades, you can usually see a glint in their eyes as they inquire, “When can we play with the swords?” And if the other partner laughs, that’s a great sign! If a couple can still play together, they have a lot of passion left in them.
I also use the swords to show how they are pushing each other instead of doing what they want, pulling each other closer. “What does it feel like to ask for love with a weapon in your hands?” I ask couples. When a couple gets into a “Dumb Fight” – a mindless and unproductive conflict – I give them a chance to experience their fierce dumb fight “duels” in a completely new way. Believe me. They understand!
Couple counselling can give you hope and normalise your conflicts because every couple has differences. In addition, counselling gives you solutions and tools. Last but not least, counselling with a sense of humour can be a lot of fun. Many couples tell me that they enjoy coming to sessions for the insight, bonding, and psychological release that laughter provides.
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