Couples counselling is a practical approach for couples who find themselves frequently in conflict or unable to resolve difficult disagreements. This process is often a very effective way to learn new communication skills and relationship habits to become a better partner.
There are limits, however, to how much people can change. Personality traits, deeply held values and beliefs, and certain kinds of behaviours and habits are often resistant to change. But this does not mean that conflict is inevitable. Often what we love about another person is what makes them different–even if those differences drive us crazy sometimes. By identifying the underlying causes of why people are the way they are, we can develop a greater sense of understanding, acceptance, and patience.
My mediation practice focuses on helping couples manage the differences that drive conflict, disappointment, and frustration. Sometimes all we can do is gain a deeper understanding of the other person and learn to treat their differences with patience and compassion. I help couples do this by identifying the underlying moral values, personality traits, and life experiences that shape who we are and how we behave. I also teach scientifically-supported practices to help us cultivate patience and compassion.
Once we understand the roots of our differences, we can also find ways to transform individual differences into opportunities to strengthen our relationships. At least in some situations, our differences often complement each other and can bring more balance into our relationships. There is no single perspective, personality trait, level of emotional sensitivity, or behaviour that works effectively in every situation. Sometimes the way we are inclined to respond to some event or challenge is not going to be the most effective, or effective at all. A partner’s differences can be a source of wisdom and insight to find a more effective strategy.
My role as a mediator is not to take sides but to act as a neutral third party. By helping each of you gain a deeper understanding of the roots of your differences, you will develop more acceptance and patience for each other. And by helping you see your differences as complementary rather than in conflict, you will find more productive ways to resolve disagreements and manage the challenges that you face together.
Often, however, we are embroiled in conflicts with people who are unwilling or unable to participate in mediation. Whether the issue is with a family member, friend, coworker, or neighbour, conflict can be a major source of stress and worry. It’s even harder when it seems like the other person has no interest in resolving the conflict.
In these situations, I work with individuals who are looking to find ways to manage and cope with these conflicts. Using a variety of scientifically-supported cognitive exercises, I will help you find strategies to develop a greater sense of patience with the other person and cultivate habits that de-escalate tensions between you and the other person.
While this might not resolve the conflict–after all, that depends in part on the other person–my goal is to help make these conflicts something you can live with and accept without the constant stress and worry.
For more information about billing and how I offer my services, please read the “Services” page. If you are unsure about whether mediation or conflict management is right for you, please contact me for a free consultation or for more information.