A connected and harmonious relationship can shift our family dynamics, help us sleep better, function more effectively, and increase our self-worth. Our job is to give you the tools and techniques to achieve a balanced and fulfilling relationship so you can direct your focus towards your life goals as opposed to your relationship challenges. The success of therapy is directly correlated with the fit of your therapist for each partner’s unique needs, so choosing the therapist that’s the best for you is essential. Learn more about relationship counselling below and for support with finding the therapist that’s the best fit for your relationship, book online for a complimentary service where we’ll guide you through the process of how to choose a counsellor that’s the best fit to get you started. Call now or book online.
RELATIONSHIP THERAPY / COUPLES COUNSELLING
Shifting Towards Empowerment
Relationships are directly linked to our quality of life
Our relationship supports the foundation of everything that we do. Our partners support us with our families, our work, our goals, our self-growth, and we support our partners to be better, do better, and dream bigger. Research has shown that people that are feeling connected in their romantic relationship, are happier, more effective at work, have higher self-worth and rate themselves higher in life-contentedness than those who feel disconnected or stuck in their relationship.
Long-term relationships require communication strategies tailored to your partner, languages of love that are context dependant, and healing our partner’s attachment style in a way that promotes independence and equality. Counselling is a tool to increase your effectiveness of communication, decreasing misunderstandings and cumulative pain, and shift your relationship to be in alignment with who you want to be as a partner, and what you’ve always wanted in a relationship.
What is modern-day Relationship Counselling anyways?
Relationship Therapy encompasses couples counselling, conflict resolution, communication strategy, romantic support, and sex therapy within a relationship with one or more people to facilitate behavioural change and emotional understanding of ourselves and our partners.
Relationship counsellor and relationship therapist are used interchangeably and have the same regulatory license as individual therapists (Registered Clinical Counsellors in BC or Certified Canadian Counsellor across Canada). Having these licenses dictate that the therapist has a Master’s Degree and above and is held accountable to a professional organization ethically and legally. A relationship therapist has this/these license(s) and has additional training in therapies specific to relationships like Gottman Therapy or Emotion-Focused Therapy (EFT).
Relationship therapy is not the stereotypical couples counselling where the therapist shames you for your mistakes, prescribes unsolicited sex exercises, chooses sides, or pretends like they know your relationship better than you do, and it’s not only for relationships that are doomed to begin with. Much like individual therapy, relationship therapy is about quality of life. Often relationships can make it through a crisis without the support of a counsellor, however having a counsellor speeds up the healing process, increases efficiency of communication and helps partners decide what to prioritize from a neutral standpoint.
Relationship counsellors can have specializations underneath the umbrella of relationship therapy. For example, a relationship therapist could be well-versed in navigating familial conflict, sex, trauma, or parenting. Often these concerns overlap, and a relationship therapist typically has experience in multiple commonly related areas.
If this is resonating, what this means for you:
That’s what we are here for. No judgment, scientifically founded therapy with no waitlists and authentically real, non-burnt-out therapists that specialize in navigating what pieces in your relationship are holding you back from a higher quality of life so you can focus on life outside of your relationship, and have a relationship that continues to promote happiness, growth, and confidence.
Expectations we should all have for our relationship therapist:
It is our job to guide the relationship to a place where there is hope, effective and transparent communication, and to direct the relationship utilizing common goals and values
Relationship therapy provides a space for feedback from a neutral source. It’s the therapist’s job to be unbiased– all parties in relationship therapy should feel heard and understood by the relationship therapist.
And our feelings surrounding our relationship do not have to reflect outcomes. Therapy is where feelings of frustration, hopelessness, and fear are motivators for change.
And is dictated by establishing conflict priorities, and focusing on shifting patterns in the relationship to stop re-occurring conflicts and compounding emotional pain
It’s ok if partners have different preferences with a therapist, it’s on the therapist to accommodate both sets of needs.
Cry with and talk about sex with (even if it’s not on your radar for counselling). This is an assessment strategy for comfort as finding the right fit for each partner is vital in ensuring success
Skylark has a complimentary counsellor-match service where partners can attend a phone consultation and be guided through the process of what traits are needed in your relationship counsellor. Book the consult here.
Prior to relationship counselling, it’s ok if you are feeling:
- Stuck in a set of patterns within their relationship
- The desire to re-start the relationship
- Unseen or insignificant
- Hopeless in having your ideal relationship
- Difficulty in letting go of past conflicts
- Difficulty in understanding your partner’s decisions and behaviours
- Resentment towards your partner’s trajectory of self-growth
- Uncertainty over which partner’s needs to prioritize
- Like you’re not the partner you want to be
- Lost in how to support your partner(s)
- Grief towards the relationship you imagined yourself to be in
- Unsure of the difference between acceptance and resignation
- Fear surrounding upcoming life transitions
- Regret around relationship decision making
- Guilted into going into relationship therapy because someone is encouraging it
- The desire to have a therapist in their back pocket, for life’s unforeseen events or as a backup plan if things go sideways
What can you expect support for in relationship therapy at Skylark?
- 1. Healing through your values.
- 2. Pattern identification and change.
- 3. Confirmation of definitions.
- 4. Navigating family.
- 5. Skills to heal the day-to-day conflicts.
- 6. Sex!
- 7. Supporting our many roles in a relationship
- 8. Further understanding your partner.
- 9. Action plan
Our values dictate how we see the world, how we interact with it, and how we cope with the adaptations needed to be happy, healthy, and grounded in our relationship. Our individual values are a particular combination of our strengths, challenges, life experience, and our relationship history, and these values are merged when we enter into a relationship resulting in a unique set of relational values.
Our counsellors can work with you to uncover these values, define them, and use them to prioritize what to address first, and how to navigate past pain by utilizing the foundation of your relationship.
Often frustration and disconnection stem from feeling stuck, reoccurring patterns preventing growth, and misaligned expectations fostering a sense of hopelessness for change. The therapist’s job is to identify the nuances of these patterns, highlight blind spots, and shift accountability towards actionable behaviours that support a healthy relationship.
Relationship counselling supports differentiation between “settling” and “realism,” “emotional cheating and friendship,” “my work versus my partner’s work,” “expectation and entitlement” “equality and support.” We haven’t had anyone to guide us in how to distinguish important differences between these concepts.
Relationship counselling supports skills on when to apologize, how to apologize, and what is “sweeping things under the rug” versus prioritization of conflict. What merits recognition can often be confusing as there are so many opportunities for conflict when working as a domestic team.
Many of us have our sex education grounded in condoms on bananas and/or our sexual upbringing was solidly defined through porn. Your therapist’s job is to ask the questions you may not be asking, normalize sexual communication not just when our sex life is struggling but to establish check-ins and what is in a check-in, decrease feelings of rejection, and explore what each partner’s own unique needs are.
We are friends to each other, we are support systems to each other, we are motivators, financial advisors, domestic team leaders, secret holders, and role models to each other. We hold space for healing, and we set the bar for expectations in lifestyle, our sex lives, childhood healing, and family. Knowing how to show up in a relationship and who to show up as, is just as important as the direction we are going.
Humans are complex creatures at the best of times, and witnessing a partner’s growth, seeing their trajectory of change, and having a greater awareness towards why they are who they are, or why they see what they see, can facilitate clearer communication, deeper emotional connection, and lasting stability in your relationship’s success.
A concrete plan of how your relationship is going to improve and how to measure success. Dreams are turned into goals through confirmation of strategy, and having your partner(s) on the same page as you for your relationship ideal increases efficiency and confidence in the relationship if partners are moving in the same direction.