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Helen Slator gave an insightful talk at the AGM about her work with couples. She suggested this therapy is most useful when the client has an awareness of themselves and their patterns of behaviour, or if individual work becomes primarily focussed on the couple relationship and if both partners feel that couples counselling will be helpful.

Individual therapy tends to be about issues of self, whereas Couples therapy focusses on issues about the relationship. However, individual and couples therapy can run alongside each other very positively.

Helen outlined a variety of tools and ‘homework’ that she uses with couples, including exploring what attracted them to each other in the beginning; parental attachment history and its ongoing impact; recent life circumstances.

She also stressed the need to take into account ‘life stage’ – whether newly together, caring for children or elderly parents, or in later years – and exploring the tasks required of each stage.

Helen described how goals are agreed and set for the therapy – including identifying the central problem, together with ‘non-problems’ or games; helping the partners try new behaviours and strategies; pinpointing strengths and resources alongside deficits and instilling hope that change is possible.

And she talked about the various methods she uses – identifying the feelings behind destructive responses; teaching communication skills and emotional expression; encouraging people to leave their parents’ family scripts behind; exploring sexual issues and confronting broken trust.

An interesting and inspiring evening – many of those present left feeling less daunted by couple work, and more aware of how stimulating it could be.

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Swindon Counsellors
Swindon Counsellors and Psychotherapists Network
Network Meetings
The Willows Centre,
11 Prospect Place,
Old Town,
Contact Us
Contact Membership Secretary Christine Fishlock at:

The Counselling & Psychotherapy Centre,
23 Bath Road,

or email: christine@scpn.org.uk
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