Things are not going well between you and your partner. You argue more. Some hurtful things get said sometimes leaving you both feeling pretty bad. Things used to be better. You wonder what happened.

You’ve tried talking about things with your partner, but that isn’t working. You end up not dealing with things more than you’d like to.

What you really want is to figure things out. Right now, though, it looks like you’re both feeling worse. There’s a lot of hurt going around and it’s hard to think clearly. And trying to bring things up is getting harder to do.

Couples Therapy Can Help

That’s where a skilled Couple’s Counsellor can help. Our couple’s counsellors know there’s a lot at stake and they are willing to work hard with both of you—to improve your relationship.

Our experienced couple’s counsellors understand that a couple’s life together is full of changes and challenges. There are ups and downs, planned and unexpected events. There are all kinds of things that can throw a good relationship off balance.

Most of us need help with relationship at some point, just not everyone realizes they need help or is willing to seek help in time. But those who seek couples support and are able to resolve their issues are more likely to grown into a more rewarding relationship.

At My Winnipeg Therapist, we offer couples counselling for a range of relationship issues. Our team has skills and expertise in a variety of relationship challenges.

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Common Signs Your Relationship Could Be in Trouble

  • lack of interest in being with your partner

  • feelings of resentment

  • often criticizing each-other

  • disagreements that escalate into fights

  • repeating the same arguments over and over

  • avoiding each other

  • lack of honesty

  • losing trust

  • thinking about cheating

  • cheating

  • avoiding going home

It May be Time to Seek Marriage Counseling

If you recognize any of these signs of trouble in your relationships, and especially if you these occur on a regular basis, then you may need to seek help from a qualified couples counsellor. You don’t have to deal with relationship problems by yourselves. Having an objective and supportive counsellor to help you navigate the issues may be what your relationship needs right now.

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Causes of Relationship Conflict

I’m sure we’re all guilty of criticizing an intimate partner. But, if that criticism is about the partner’s character that’s a personal attack, and that is damaging. These kinds of criticisms involve put-downs or attacks on a persons values, thoughts, and behaviours. An example would be criticizing a partner for not helping clear up after supper by saying, “I have to do everything around here. You never help me.”

Contempt is expressed in different ways. If you’ve ever been mocked, ridiculed or talked to in a sarcastic way then you’ve experienced contempt. It can feel pretty bad and in an intimate relationship it can be especially painful. It can sound like this, “Wow, you finally did some laundry, I hope you didn’t put your back out.”

Defensiveness makes it difficult to address issues that are a problem. You can communicate with care and good intentions. But what they hear is often different than what you meant. Sometimes, a gentle approach can be as an attack. For example, “You know I love you and really value how hard you work around here. I just want to ask if you can pick up your dirty clothes.” And the response can sound something like this, “There you go again. Nothing’s ever good enough for you.”

Stonewalling makes it difficult to address issues in a relationship. This happens when one partner refuses to talk about an issue that is important to the relationship or the other partner. They mighty say, “No, I don’t want to talk about it,”or walk away. Not addressing it will have a detrimental affect on the relationship. All of these responses are especially damaging to a relationship, leaving partners feeling frustrated, hurt and over time, resentful.

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Couples Therapy & Coaching Sessions

1. The First Session: Getting to Know the Relationship Problem

The initial couples therapy session will begin with looking at the issue or problem that brings you both into therapy. The couples therapist will want to hear from both of you, how you see the problem, what feelings, thoughts and behaviour are involved. It’s important that you both have nought time to feel heard, and understand how each of you have been affected.

The therapist will also want to know your strengths, the stuff that kept you together, the stuff what is good about your relationship, the stuff that works. Depending on how you feel, this can be hard for some people, but the counsellor knows how to help you identify your strengths.

Learning about your problems and strengths, the counsellor In the first session you discuss what you want to improve in your relationship. This becomes part of your goals in therapy and the counsellor will use different strategies to help you achieve these changes.

Assess your relationship’s problems and strengths. Your counsellor will listen to both perspectives so that each of your views are heard.

Determine what you want from each other. We’ll create a vision of what you want your relationship to look like.

Develop a plan of action for how you will achieve your relationship goals.

Begin the healing of your relationship by deciding on the concrete action steps you will work on until our next session.

Knowing your communication styles will be important. We are not always aware of our healthy and unhealthy communication patterns. Our Couples Therapists helps you both identify and strengthen your good communication patterns and helps you identify and reduce negative communication.

Assess your relationship’s problems and strengths. Your counsellor will listen to both perspectives so that each of your views are heard.

Determine what you want from each other. We’ll create a vision of what you want your relationship to look like.

Develop a plan of action for how you will achieve your relationship goals.

Begin the healing of your relationship by deciding on the concrete action steps you will work on until our next session.

2. Ongoing Couples Therapy Sessions

Couples Therapy and Marriage Counseling Sessions

Once we’ve completed the relationship inventory and have determined the plan for moving forward in your relationship, it’s best if we start weekly sessions immediately. We want you to be able to build momentum and quickly create new and more positive ways of relating. To achieve this, it will be in your interest if you attend consistently.

In the long run, you’ll see results faster and save time and money on the duration of couples therapy. Our goal is for you to be able to see immediate results and then turn your relationship around as quickly as possible.

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By the end of your work together in relationship counselling, you’ll likely be able to:

  • Develop healthy, loving patterns of interacting.
  • Skillfully communicate in order to get your needs met in the relationship.
  • Quickly be able to resolve conflict with each other and deepen intimacy, bringing you closer together.
  • Feel safer and more secure with each other.
  • Have more fun together as a couple.
  • Become optimistic about your future together.
  • Grow as an individual becoming more secure and confident in yourself.
  • Know how to Do Love Well.

What we know from decades of research is that counselling helps people work through depression, period!

Therapy can’t get rid of all your anxiety forever. Part of the reason is that anxiety protects us from danger when working correctly. It makes us jump when startled or ready to fight or run when feeling threatened. Anxiety is necessary. There’s a lot more to this complex process, and working with your therapist, you can better understand how your anxiety works and identify the unhelpful anxiety from the helpful anxiety.

Our Treatment Approaches for Couples Therapy in Winnipeg

Standard practices known to be effective include cognitive techniques, mindfulness, mediation, exposure therapy, and self-refection through techniques such as journaling. Importantly, My Winnipeg Therapist is committed to using the best approaches to help you.

We use therapy treatments that are backed by research. Research shows that one of the most effective treatments for anxiety is Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT). In addition, research demonstrates the effectiveness of mindfulness and relaxation training.

Everyone’s experience of anxiety is unique—like a fingerprint. Your therapist works with you to understand how anxiety affects you, whether it’s social anxiety, panic attacks or generalized anxiety. You gain an awareness of your specific thoughts, feelings, and body sensations connected with your anxiety.

You are never forced to use a technique or exercise you don’t want to try. Instead, your therapist works to find methods and skills you can relate to and are interested in trying. It’s your counselling, after all!

One approach, a cognitive strategy, works with thoughts. Anxious thoughts can lead to negative thinking patterns and worrying about things that will never happen. These ‘thinking traps’ trick you into believing that your idea is accurate. Even though these thoughts are not true, they seem very convincing in our heads. And that makes them hard to ignore. Your therapist teaches strategies and techniques to identify, challenge and reduce these thinking traps.

While other strategies address unhelpful thinking patterns, CBT also helps us change unhelpful behaviours. Maybe you feel self-conscious around your friends and end up saying very little. But you later regret being so quiet. There are many activities we can be afraid of doing, and you discover approaches to overcome the fear and become more comfortable. Your therapist can help you learn skills and confidence to engage more successfully with others.

Being anxious drains your energy. Doing the work and going through the therapy steps to reduce your anxiety can make you feel less worried and more confident, less anxious and calmer.

How do I start couples therapy in Winnipeg?

If you’re ready to start marriage or relationship counselling, we’re happy to help you. You can book online, fill out the online form, or call us. Our Client Care Coordinator can answer your questions, see if one of our therapists might be a good fit, or help you start as soon as possible.

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Other Services Offered at My Winnipeg Therapist

In addition to couples therapy and marriage counseling, My Winnipeg Therapist also offers a variety of mental health services. Our therapists offer specialized counselling for men and male youth, relationship counselling, marriage counselling, anxiety treatment, PTSD treatment and trauma counselling, and low self-esteem counselling. Contact our Winnipeg counselling clinic today to get the help you need to move forward with confidence.