Couples Therapy in Halifax, Nova Scotia
Couples therapy and marriage counselling is a way to address relationship issues, including:
- Improving communication and conflict resolution skills
- Improving connection and emotional closeness
- Improving physical intimacy and enjoyment
- Repairing a relationship disruption and trust
- Overcoming an affair or infidelity
- Discussing co-parenting issues
- Mediating challenging discussions
Brad Peters utilizes a form of couples counselling that follows the basic principles of Emotionally-Focused Couples Therapy (EFCT), one of the most heavily researched and validated therapeutic approaches to addressing relationship concerns.
The initial session involves the couple meeting with the psychologist to describe the problem, concern, or challenge that brings them to therapy. Each person will have a chance to express how they perceive their relationship concerns. Following the initial session, the clinician will then meet with each partner for one individual session, to further explore the perspectives of each partner. The psychologist will also ask about individual family histories, values, and beliefs, in addition to any traumas and relational experiences that may be important for understanding current relationship challenges.
These initial sessions are by far the most important in terms of building the foundations for a successful course of couple therapy. In the following joint sessions, the psychologist will identify and explore the core relationship issues, which often involve problematic relational patterns that keep the relationship stuck. In the safe environment of the therapy room, couples will be encouraged to take emotional risks in communicating with their partner. While there might be some basic emphasis on ‘communication skills,’ a primary focus in the therapy session is on the ‘here and now’ process of how couples relate to each other. The focus is not on blaming one another, but on identifying each person’s needs, emotional experience, and triggers. The process of therapy then involves identifying the maladaptive relationship pattern and finding ways to free the couple from it.
Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love (Sue Johnson)
Sue Johnson is one of the pioneers of modern couples therapy and her version of Emotion Focused Therapy has quickly become one of the most empirically validated approaches to working with couples. From this perspective, and drawing from attachment theory, this book outlines some of the fundamental ingredients for relating to one another in an emotionally meaningful way. This book is an excellent adjunct to couples therapy. Couples who read parts of this book are often surprised and comforted by how many of the vignettes explain their situation or describe how they feel in their relationship.
Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work (John Gottman)
Most relationship books focus almost entirely on emotional communication as the key to a great marriage. Dr. Gottman takes a slightly different approach, drawing from clinical experience and research, to show that there is much more to a solid relationship than being able to openly share thoughts and feelings. This book outlines the ‘not-so-obvious’ signs of a relationship in trouble and explores important protective factors that can strengthen a relationship. Using in-depth relationship quizzes, checklists, and exercises, couples will develop new skills to help them find and maintain a happy and healthy marriage.
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