A Relationship audit
I find it interesting to observe how widely acceptable and necessary it is to spring clean the house, NCT the car or annually audit a business yet few of us would ever prioritise or schedule in an audit of our relationships. Despite being highly publicised that more than half of all couples will separate and that raising teenagers is the hardest job in the world, usually we don’t evaluate our relationships until some kind of crisis forces us to.
As a society we leave ourselves very little time to reflect. We’re very busy doing, but we’re not busy thinking or feeling.
In your fast-paced, multi-tasking, complicated world making some time to gather and express your thoughts can be a really useful way of taking good care of yourself and preventing future breakdowns in your relationships.
Take some space
Talking therapy, or counselling as it’s more often called, offers a safe, non-judgemental place for you to ‘take some space’ or ‘clear your head’ so that you’re more able to ‘think straight’. Just as releasing the lid of a pressure cooker stops it exploding, the counselling room is a place where you can release your inner emotions in a contained way, before you get burnt out by stress.
Whether you’re facing tantrums with toddlers, fussy eaters, children who won’t stay in their own beds, unhappiness at school or the tough teenage years, it’s ok to admit that you need a listening ear and a helping hand sometimes. When you’re living with a situation daily it can become difficult to ‘see the wood for the trees’ in it. Talking with a counsellor can help you to take a step back and see things from a different angle.
It’s good to talk
Between family, friends, reading books, watching Supernanny and surfing the internet the amount of parenting advice available can become overwhelming, conflicting and confusing. It’s good to talk, however, to fully benefit from counselling it is important to shop around and find a professionally trained and experienced therapist.
When you meet a therapist, whether male or female, they should be warm, friendly and someone with whom you feel really comfortable and safe. You will then have the confidence to share honestly your thoughts and feelings about what is going on in your life and in your family. They should reassure you by agreeing in writing the terms of the counselling they offer and that what you say will be held in confidence.
The undivided attention the therapist is able to focus on you during the session, as they listen, understand and value what you say, is a powerful and healing experience. This will enable you to explore some of your fears and anxieties, the ‘what ifs’ in your family situation. As the therapist gently asks you questions like “what do you need?”, “how do you feel about that?”, “what solution makes most sense to you?” or “how would things be different?” options and choices you may not have previously discovered will become apparent. This is called developing self awareness and self understanding. You will start to see more clearly ways in which you might say or do things differently that will help to improve your family situation and your closest relationships.
Invest in yourself, you’re worth it!
If you keep doing what you’ve always done, you’ll keep getting what you’ve always got.
As with any investment you will get out of it what you put into it. Your children are your ultimate investment and the best way to teach them that the only person you can change is yourself is by example. In much the same way as you strive to teach your children independence, I will offer you practical tips and suggestions that you can try out at home and we will work together with the results in order to find solutions that work for you and your particular family situation.
This is your life, your journey, you are in the driving seat, I will be beside you all the way.