Couples focus on developing open and honest lines of communication. This allows both individual and shared needs to be expressed clearly and patterns of thinking and behaving that are not effective to be identified. In practical terms, the focus of this work can be to improve the relationship or to help couples in the difficult process of separating.
Family Systems Work
Needs that are not met in childhood, perhaps because of abuse or other situational factors, give rise to difficulties later in life. These difficulties show themselves when people can’t maintain satisfying relationships, have trouble making decisions, are perfectionists or are generally unhappy. People find themselves caught in a cycle of self-criticism from which they are unable to break free. Family systems work identifies the roles played by each family member and how these roles have contributed to the present situation. This work goes back to the earliest remembered occurrence of these issues, and identifies those needs not met during that developmental period. This awareness helps clients understand why they feel and act the way they do and what concrete steps need to be taken.
Chronic muscular contraction can cause people to feel tense and stressed. A modified form of progressive muscular relaxation (PMR) focuses on systematically contracting and relaxing muscle groups throughout the body. PMR can reduce tension and make it easier to handle different situations.
Visualization is a technique often used in sports. Generally, a specific image of oneself performing a particular activity is visualized. This image is then used as a template to achieve the desired performance. In counselling, visualization helps the client to see a specific event in the past and to go back and change that event into one that has a more desirable outcome. This new image can then be used as a model for future behaviour.
Analyzing dreams can help determine unconscious tensions that affect clients. Dreams are the interface between the conscious waking world and the unconscious. The dream can often provide valuable information that has not yet reached consciousness.