Gold Coast Marriage Counsellor Jiselle Saranghi describes relationship counselling as it happens -:
It was definitely a war zone; my impulse was to duck for cover as the verbal missiles were being fired fast and furiously at each other. They sat facing each other, while I was in the middle on the side as is the customary set up for my couple work.
I let them continue for a little while hoping they might run out of steam. When it was evident the attack was escalating I took a deep breath and prepared to intervene and take back control of the session.
Without saying a word I stretched out my hands in each direction signalling a truce. It took a few minutes but I finally managed to get order back so we could continue.
The funny thing is that this is one of favourite type of couples to work with and this couple in particular I have great affection for. They have been together since they were very young and they have 3 young children ranging in age from 10 to 16.The energy and the passion that is always there means their relationship is very much alive and brimming with possibility. I don’t doubt for a second their love for each other but that will mean nothing if they continue down the path of attack and counter attack!
The challenge for me is how to best harness their energy so that it becomes a positive force to rebuild their relationship.
The model that I work with in couple therapy is Imago Relationship Therapy. This therapy provides the perfect structure to hold clients safely while they explore their issues.
Imago’s premise is that the conflict in our relationships is ‘our growth trying to happen’. What this means is that our partners are our best teachers for our own personal growth and healing even though it might not seem like it at the time!
It is a beautiful model to work within and works equally well for the volatile couple as it does for the quieter and more introverted ones.
Back to the war zone and my current volatile couple.
My strategy is to call frequent cease-fires.
Mini mindfulness exercises are filtered throughout the session as I ask them to Stop, Pause, close their eyes and feel their feet on the floor. I then ask them to focus on their breath and to follow the air as it moves in and out of their body. I remind them while their eyes are closed to remember why they are here and that they are on the same team. At the end of the day they do want the same things for their life together.
I also reminded them of their intention that they set at the start of the session. Their intention was to really listen to each other and hear what the other had to say even though this may be difficult at times.
Learning to self soothe and contain are important tools to learn if this is to happen.
While either of them is in a heightened emotional state (freeze, flight, fight) it is pointless to try and engage with each other. No meaningful listening can ever occur while in this state. Recognising this is an important learning for all couples. There is a time to call a halt in all heated discussions and agreeing to resume at a later date is evidence of a mature relationship.
This couple is not there yet! To their credit they are well aware that at this stage they cannot do it on their own. Engaging me as a trained professional is actually testament to how much they value their marriage, their family and their future together.
The session was finally able to proceed when the couple were in a calmer and more receptive place. The next step was to coach them on how to reframe their words so that they were more palatable to each other and their message was more likely to be received.
This process is repeated many times. My role is to assist them to deepen their dialogue so that they can access the feelings under the content while holding the space for them.
Today, however they were pretty insistent on sparring with each other and it was hard for me to intervene. I despaired of them being able to reach any meaningful connection or understandings. It felt like I was watching two young children squabbling, both insistent on scoring points against each other.
But then it happened!
In the last ten minutes of this session there was an energy shift and something really lovely occurred.
The husband stopped directing the tirade against his wife, he owned his feelings of jealousy and dropped below the top angry emotion to the hurt underneath. The wife suddenly got that this wasn’t about her. She withdrew from the battle and moved towards her husband with love and understanding. His willingness to be vulnerable shifted everything. The peace flag went up and in that moment I was witness to their tender reconnection. I was again reminded of why I love this work.
Add a comment to this article via your Facebook Login
09/11/2017 Don't kill the ants »
25/10/2017 Plumbing, the Ancient Art of Managing Water »
11/10/2017 The Secret Life of Micropiles »
29/09/2017 Foundation Underpinning »
08/09/2017 Termites the secretive pest »
07/09/2017 Sharing your Google Analytics »
05/09/2017 Website speed test claims put to the test »
23/08/2017 Custom Timber Dining Tables »
23/06/2017 Kitchen Renovation Alfresco BBQ »
12/06/2017 Hire a photo booth »
10/05/2017 My Site Dropped out of Google »
20/04/2017 Recycled Timber comes with a story »
08/04/2017 Light Up Your Home »
12/12/2016 Evolving eCommerce with SEO »
05/12/2016 Image Manager 4 Released »
14/10/2016 Classic Gold Coast »
26/09/2016 Techheads who can market »
09/09/2016 Issues with childhood photography »
30/08/2016 Never Make an Impulse Buy »
15/08/2016 Using the potential of YouTube »
02/08/2016 How to add a review to Google Places »
26/07/2016 Servicing your air-conditioner »
22/07/2016 Eco-friendly Home Building »
13/06/2016 Timber Floors »
13/05/2016 Timber Furniture Gold Coast »
13/04/2016 Interactive Charts »
18/02/2016 Ideas for creating passive income »
29/01/2016 Better Childhood Photography »
30/12/2015 Gold Coast Real Estate »
20/11/2015 Feed-in Solar Tariffs Queensland »
05/11/2015 Kindergarten Photographers »
23/09/2015 Low Budget High Impact Web Videos »
08/09/2015 Pool Inspection Laws Queensland »
23/07/2015 Protection against power surges »
13/07/2015 Intelligent Security Systems »
17/06/2015 Advanced Security Cameras »
15/01/2015 Is your security provider licensed? »
06/01/2015 Inspired by Necessity »
07/12/2014 Social Media vs SEO for sales generation »
01/11/2014 Responsive Websites vs a Mobile version »
08/09/2014 Simplify Writing - Get that job »
08/04/2014 Cockroaches like BBQs too »
27/03/2014 Admin System Mark 3 »
12/02/2014 HTML5 improving SEO and Social Interaction »
17/01/2014 TV Commercials with impact - on time »
02/12/2013 Negative SEO »
29/11/2013 A flexible e-mail system »
13/11/2013 Social Media Strategies for SEO »
15/10/2013 Web Video Production »
26/09/2013 Soft drinks can damage your teeth? »
29/08/2013 Haridresser Gold Coast »
26/08/2013 Jet Boat Ride Gold Coast »
06/08/2013 Dental Site Videos »
03/08/2013 Gold Coast Tradesman Directory »
02/07/2013 Creating audio for your site via your iPhone »
23/04/2013 Yellow Pages Google Partnership Unfair »
17/08/2012 Facebook Account Security »
06/07/2012 Gold Coast a great place to Study »
22/12/2011 New Real Estate System »
17/10/2011 Managing your domains a quick guide »
04/04/2011 Our Facebook Application »
01/02/2011 Video Marketing »
05/01/2011 Questions to ask your web developer »
28/12/2010 Health and Fitness sites »
28/12/2010 Surfboard for sale site launched »
09/12/2010 Why is my content management system so slow? »
26/11/2010 Google now includes local places results »
31/10/2010 Getting Listed on Google Places very important »
19/10/2010 Security Systems site launched »
28/09/2010 Google Personalized Searches »
13/09/2010 Web Marketing – To Green or Not to Green? Beware! »
09/09/2010 Jet ski or Jet boat Gold Coast »
19/07/2010 Java Web Hosting »
07/07/2010 Assess your eCommerce opportunities »
11/06/2010 DIY SEO »
26/05/2010 Planning a website »
22/04/2010 Enhanced Email Marketing Tool for your website »
12/04/2010 Site Speed is important for Google »
26/03/2010 360 degree Panoramas + Google Maps »