Paul Cockayne – 07791 970406 – firstname.lastname@example.org
This blog is intended to give you a flavour of how I work. You can find more information about me by clicking one of the links at the bottom right of this page
Clients arrive at my door in many different situations, and in many different states of mind. Commonly people are confused; they don’t know what they want, they don’t understand their feelings, they don’t like the way they feel. But sometimes people arrive feeling very certain – they understand the problem – they know the answers.
So why have they come for counselling?
Although sometimes people come for individual counselling in this state of mind, more often they have come with their partner. And the problem is that their partner is less certain; they don’t see the problem in the same way, they don’t see the same answers.
Therein can lie a problem with the relationship. One partner sees things clearly, can focus in on the key points, can understand them, analyse them and find solutions. The other partner sees complications, doesn’t find it easy to see what is important, to understand what is happening, to see a way forward.
Now, if you are the one who knows the answers, it looks as if your partner is missing the obvious. All they need to do is to see your point of view and agree with you – and everything will be fine. If you are the other partner, it looks as if your partner is oversimplifying the situation, is ignoring your concerns and feelings, is trying to force you into doing things their way.
We all remember things differently; we all interpret things differently; we all have different concerns and priorities. Neither of these two partners is right, and neither is wrong.
What is the way forward? An important first step is to recognise what is happening. The person with the answers perhaps needs to say to themself : “My partner is seeing difficulties that I am not seeing – perhaps I am missing something. I should take time to listen to my partner and understand their concerns so that we can work out the way forward together.” At the same time, the partner who is more confused might need to say “My partner is not worried about some of things that concern me – perhaps I am making too much of some of them. They can help me to focus on what is important and what is not, and then focus on the main issues so that we can work out the way forward together.”
A key word here is “together”. Rather than one partner feeling that they have the answers – “if only my partner could see it!” and the other feeling excluded “they’re not listening to me!” – rather than that, it is about recognising that your different perspectives are valid and that you both have something to offer. Differences in a relationship are sources of strength – “I am inclined to ignore things that don’t matter to me. My partner can help me to think about things more broadly” – “I am inclined to get engrossed in detail and get confused. My partner can help me to think about things more clearly”. Once differences are recognised and appreciated, they can be used to help find mutually agreeable solutions.