Couples & Relationship Therapy
Registered Marriage and Family Therapist Bonnie Mason along with her associates provide marriage or couples counselling for couples experiencing a wide variety of issues. The practice also offers pre-marital counselling for couples making the commitment to join their lives together. Many couples today believe in the value of seeking counselling with the goal of avoiding the unhealthy patterns that they may have witnessed with their parents.
Alderian Psychology believes throughout our life we will work towards wellness and balance in three major Life Tasks: Work, Socialization and Intimacy. Our success in these tasks will determine our sense of self worth. It has been my experience as a psychotherapist that most individuals enter therapy due to struggles in their intimacy, or inability to be intimate. I believe it is the most difficult task in our life, as we enter into relationships with beliefs/perceptions and expectations of what a relationship should be like, when many of these expectations may never have been discussed or are unconscious. They begin appearing as conflict and unhealthy patterns start. As a trained Family and Marriage Therapist some of the work in therapy may involve briefly looking back in time at your family of origin. Often what we learned about ourselves and relationships during childhood may be impacting our relationships in the present.
Couples often enter therapy when one or both partners are experiencing some disappointment in the relationship, or their need for acceptance, love and feeling loved is not being met. Most often couples believe if they could only learn to communicate things would improve, yet it is my experience that issues often go much deeper that just communication. What brings couples to therapy may be a lack of emotional satisfaction, extramarital affairs, conflict over responsibilities, career stressors, different parenting styles, health or economic stressors. Research states that most conflict in relationships is related to core personality difference, such as one partner values independence while the other wants more togetherness. Once couples begin the process of understanding each other and developing healthy patterns while in therapy, their overall wellness improves. The Life Task of Intimacy is the most difficult to accomplish successfully and can offer the greatest joy in our lives. Yet when couples decide to separate it can cause deep levels of grief and loss. Investing in marriage therapy with a Registered Marriage Therapist is a investment in your future.
What to expect from the process of couples counselling:
- Both partners will be honoured and respected equally.
- Improving the relationship is the goal of counselling. This may involve, re-establishing love and intimacy.
- In a safe environment you can explore your hurts, fears, disappointments and develop a deeper understanding of yourself and your partner.
- Learn what your unfinished issues are that get triggered by your partner and how to respond effectively.
- Feel confident that you can successfully negotiate the problems that arise in your relationship.
- Communicate with respect, fondness, softness, care and love.
- Understand the different models of relationships and work towards having a enriched model of marriage.
- Work together on your dreams and goals even when they may be different for each partner.
- Become the best partners possible and build a solid foundation for a lasting fulfilling relationship.
Dr. John Gottman, a researcher and psychologist at the University of Washington, has studied marriages for decades. During his research he has determined that a couple's ability to resolve the inevitable conflicts that arise in a marriage determines whether or not the marriage will be long lasting. He is known for his ability to predict with a 94% accuracy which marriage will continue and which will end, and he indicates that stable marriages must have 5 times as many positive moments as negative ones. When couples attend therapy at the practice we explore the patterns of conflict and teach them new skills to avoid what Gottman refers to as "warning signs".
"The more overwhelmed your relationship becomes, the less access either of you have to your natural talents of resolving difficulties."
- John Gottman
Marriage and Family Therapists are trained in systemic, or relational, therapy and believe that throughout life we exist in a number of relationships that directly and indirectly impact our well-being. Our relationships with family, friends, co-workers and neighbors influence and create our individual experience. Find out more about how MFTs can help you navigate your journey by watching the below video.
I started seeing Bonnie when I went through a divorce while raising three young children. I will always be grateful that she was recommended to me by a friend. Her guidance and insight have proved to be invaluable. Many years later Bonnie once again assisted me when I decided to remarry. She helped us successfully blend a family of six children and supported me in not losing myself in the process. Over the past 14 years I have recommend Bonnie to family and friends who were having relationship problems. They have all been very happy to report that she helped them tremendously. I have always been very impressed with the level of skill Bonnie brings to individual, family or couples therapy. I would highly recommend her and appreciate all she has done for my family.
- S.M., Surrey, BC