Counselling services

Couples Therapy and Marriage Counselling

Bottom blue wave

How Can Couples Therapy Help?

There can be many different sources of conflict in a relationship. For many relationship conflicts, if they are not dealt with, they can escalate and undermine the health of a marriage or relationship.

Recognizing and seeking out couples therapy might feel like a difficult step, but it can provide the attention and support that both parties in the relationship need in order to thrive and grow together. Sometimes, rather than seeking help early, couples only look for counselling when an issue has already caused some damage in the relationship and recovery is more challenging.

For other couples, coming together at relationship counselling sessions is a natural part of good, proactive relationship maintenance, similar to a routine checkup at the doctor. Even for a couple that isn’t dealing with a major crisis or relationship problems, getting relationship counselling services at least every year is a great idea. Regular check-ins with a relationship counsellor is a way for couples to identify relationship weaknesses before they become problematic and identify strategies to keep strengthening a healthy relationship in the long-term.

No matter where you are in your relationship, a relationship counsellor can act as an unbiased, impartial facilitator of a safe space. Here, you and your partner can connect, open up, and work on rebuilding or building on the love and connection that brought you together in the first place.

Through the relationship counselling process, you might find that you’ll arrive at a new, stronger place as your relationship evolves.

What Is The Gottman Method?

Developed by John and Julie Schwartz Gottman, the Gottman technique relies on 40 years of scientific research about what causes the success and failure of marriages. Based on the extensive knowledge about marriage, the method focuses on delivering effective counselling to couples in need.

The Gottmans’ research concluded that relationships tend to last when couples become better friends. In addition, couples can increase the success of their relationship if they learn to manage conflict and create ways to support each other’s hopes and dreams.

The Gottman Method teaches couples how to create the nine components of healthy relationships.

What Couples Will Learn In Therapy

  • How to understand your partner’s inner psychology. Are you aware of the history, worries, stresses, joys, and hopes that your partner is experiencing? It is called the Love Map.
  • How to show fondness and admiration for one another. Increase respect, affection, and closeness and gain an understanding of how to empathize with your partner and strengthen the expressions of appreciation and admiration.
  • How to state your needs, and become aware of attempts to create a connection, and respond when they feel misunderstood. Gottman believes that turning towards each other and focusing on small, everyday moments are the building blocks of any relationship.
  • How to maintain a positive perception of your partner, including problem-solving and repairing communication that has gone wrong. All marriages need these repair-attempt skills to survive and thrive.
  • How to manage conflict. Conflict is natural in every relationship and has functional and positive aspects. But couples sometimes struggle with managing this conflict, including managing both physiology and psychology to deal with recurring problems (the ones that never go away) and solvable issues (the ones that will). Couples will also learn how to keep conflict discussions calm and break through the gridlock to resolve conflict when they feel stuck.
  • How to make life dreams come true and create an atmosphere that encourages each person to talk openly and honestly about hopes, values, convictions, and aspirations.
  • How to understand essential narratives, myths, and metaphors about your relationship and how to co-construct shared meaning to guide you through any life circumstance.
  • Trust means knowing that your partner always acts and thinks with your best interest in mind, not just their own. In other words, confidence is knowing that your partner has your back, which takes time and is built through moment by moment interactions.
  • Commitment: means believing, acting, and being with your partner on a lifelong journey, for better or for worse. It encompasses cherishing your partner, having gratitude for your partner, and being positive for your partner.

Tips & Tools For Healthy Communication

Use “I” Statements

Stay away from using the word “you,” which is generally interpreted as a criticism and often causes people to become defensive.

Practice Empathy

This can be difficult when you’re upset with your loved one, but empathy is essential for healthy communication. Try to feel what your loved one may be feeling.

Avoid being persuasive

It’s best to communicate understanding to your loved one rather than trying to problem-solve or get them to see that you are right. Seek to understand before being understood.

Validate fears

Fear grows in the dark but dissipates in the light. Minimizing fear makes people feel alone, causing them to either shut down or attack.

Know when to stop

Couples and families tend to let arguments control them, rather than being in control of the discussion. It’s essential to take a break to calm down if needed. When we argue, we activate our body’s stress response, and we go into fight, flight or immobility. It is a process that researcher Dr. John Gottman calls DPA (Diffuse Physiological Arousal). A good trick when conflict gets too heated is to stop, take a break.

Our Approach To Couples Therapy

Melody Evans specializes in marriage and couples counselling. In addition to helping people deal with conflict, lack of communication, infidelity, betrayal, divorce, and separation, she assists with handling challenges related to money issues, co-parenting, extended family relationships and couples sex therapy.

Melody uses the Gottman method of couples counselling in her counselling sessions. This therapeutic technique is specifically designed for marriage or couples counselling.

Gottman Couple’s Therapy: What To Expect In Sessions

Using the knowledge and wisdom gained from nearly 40 years of studies and clinical practice, the Gottman Method of Couples Therapy helps couples break through challenges. It helps them to achieve greater understanding, connection, and intimacy in their relationship. The therapy is structured and goal-oriented, and interventions based on empirical data from Dr. Gottman’s studies of more than 3,000 couples.

What does this mean for you? We know the techniques that actually work to help couples achieve long-term happiness.

How Couples Therapy Sessions Progress

Although every couple and their needs are different, this is a typical outline of how couples therapy sessions progress over time.
  • Assessment. In the first session or the first couple of sessions, you can expect to have a conversation about the goals of your relationship and couples counselling. Together, we will also map out the history of your relationship and your relationship dynamics.
  • Re-Connect and Change Conflict Patterns. After we have a good foundation to start the work together, we will work on reconnecting and restoring the love for each other. In addition, we will explore tools, strategies, and communication skills to better handle conflicts, so they don’t erode your relationship and impede progress.
  • Laying the Foundation for Lasting Change. Later sessions will focus on making sure that your progress will continue long-term. Together, we will discover how positive changes have made your relationship more enjoyable and stronger. We will also look at strategies that prevent you and your partner from relapsing to toxic or unhealthy behaviours in the relationship.

No couple and no relationship is the same. Each counselling session and each couple’s therapy plan will be specifically tailored to you and your partner’s needs, goals, and preferences.

If you want to learn more about how couple’s therapy works, don’t hesitate to contact Can’t We Just Get Along Counselling for more details!

Complementary Therapy

Sometimes, couples therapy is not the only solution. In more complex situations, our team offers other types of therapy that can help progress couples therapy and your relationship.

How Couples Therapy Sessions Progress

There are always two individuals in a relationship!

In some cases, it can be effective to have individual relationship counselling sessions before joint sessions or in parallel with couples therapy. During couples therapy, you might also uncover specific mental health concerns or issues that are best unpacked individually, including anger management, depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem.

Individual therapy—sometimes referred to as psychotherapy—can be an important complement to couples therapy or a valuable stand-alone therapeutic tool to help you address your unique challenges.

EMDR Therapy

If any past trauma is preventing you from a healthy and happy relationship, or you need support to address current trauma, EMDR Therapy could be the solution. Trauma may include relationship abuse, discovering an affair, divorce or break-ups of a significant relationship.
 
EMDR Therapy can be an effective treatment for any form of trauma and can be combined with other forms of therapy, such as relationship therapy with great results. Melody Evans is a certified EMDR therapist with EMDR International Association (EMDRIA) and a member of EMDR Canada.
 
Can’t We Just Get Along Counselling offers the necessary support, tools, and compassion to help you improve your mental health, your relationship with yourself, and help you cope with feelings of grief and loss.

Family Therapy

Does your relationship issues affect the whole family or stem from a family-related problem? Can’t We Just Get Along Counselling also offers family therapy. This type of therapy focuses on improving your family dynamics and communication. Family therapy can involve any family member who wishes to participate.

Invest In Your Relationship

At Can’t We Just Get Along Counselling, we firmly believe there is hope for all relationships. Sometimes you need an impartial professional to help you navigate a problem and find the right path forward.

With the right support, attention, and commitment, most relationships are not beyond repair. If you are struggling in a relationship that’s fraught with conflicts or you feel that you and your partner have drifted apart, it’s never too late to seek the help you need to get better together.

About Can't We Just Get Along Counselling

Can’t We Just Get Along Counselling is a private counselling practice, operated by Melody Evans, a registered clinical psychologist and an experienced marriage and family therapist, and her team.

She has 16 years of experience as a marriage counsellor and couples counsellor, providing countless couples in the Calgary area with the tools and support to make positive changes in their shared lives.

Melody has a Master’s of Science in Marriage and Family Therapy and is a Registered Psychologist with the College of Alberta Psychologists.