Couples and relationship therapy

Healthy intimacy is when you allow people to know you to whatever level works for the relationship, but at the same time you can maintain a respectful sense of self; i.e. you don’t lose yourself or betray your values as a result of letting someone close. Many relationships problems stem from issues around intimacy and your experience of vulnerability and they show up as rows, increasing levels of resentment, feelings of being misunderstood or of being taken for granted.

If you are interested in CHARTER’s Couples Therapy please complete our Enquiry form or call us on 020 7323 4970.

Relationship problems

Healthy intimacy is when you allow people to know you to whatever level works for the relationship, but at the same time you can maintain a respectful sense of self; i.e. you don’t lose yourself or betray your values as a result of letting someone close. Many relationships problems stem from issues around intimacy and your experience of vulnerability and they show up as rows, increasing levels of resentment, feelings of being misunderstood or of being taken for granted.

At Charter we look at relationship difficulties through two simple perspectives at the same time. The first is to explore how you treat and feel about yourself. This will be implicit in how you allow others to treat you. Having a better understanding of your relationship with yourself and learning how to better take care of your own needs will set you up to have a more satisfying relationship with someone else. The second perspective is to explore the level of respect and the effectiveness of your communication with one another.

Relationships can be made or broken by these two crucial dimensions of intimacy – communication and respect – and almost always where there are relationship difficulties there are problems around ineffective communication which is often fuelled by poor self-esteem. This can be fuelled by childhood experience and sometimes manifests as infidelity or a betrayal of trust, as inequality in the relationship or as an extreme form of control, but usually once we have supported you to communicate more effectively and with better self-esteem you will find that these issues can often be more easily and calmly resolved.

Whether your difficulty in relationship is with a partner or a sibling, whether it’s a parent:child conflict or trouble in the step-family, whether you have fallen out with a friend, or are struggling with a work colleague you can do something about it. Both parties don’t always have to attend for therapy to work as it only takes one person to change the dance, but it does help.

Marriage, Separation & Divorce

Breaking up doesn’t have to mean breaking down . Mandy Saligari and her team of dedicated and experienced therapists specialise in working with couples and with families. Many of the referrals are via law firms where initial advice has been sought in the face of an event, or communication breakdown. Others come as a result of something happening which in itself has brought the family or couple to our door.

Here at Charter we assess each of you separately and also together so that we have listened to your individual difficulties, have a sense of the dynamic between you and understand what your goals might be. We then outline a plan of therapy, either for individual therapy or in a group or workshop – we will always advocate the support that we believe will help you the most.

Many families and couples come to us looking for help repairing difficult rifts after an event, or when communication, trust and mutual respect have broken down, or when an addiction is present. We work with each individual involved, looking at how he or she can best represent themselves, and with the resulting relationship. We examine how resentments may have built up; we look at how normal boundaries and expectations may have given way to life’s sometimes daunting demands. There’s no perfect formula for a ‘happy family’ or relationship but there are certainly ideal components, such as clean communication and good self-esteem that can vastly improve a family dynamic and which we can teach.

Marriage and couples work

Our marriage and couples work is based on the belief that we choose who we fall in love with, a fascinating take on attraction and social interaction that encourages self-awareness and curiosity in relationship, powerfully counteracting blame. We can explore the impact of the couple on the resulting family dynamic and unravel arguments and disagreements that may be explicit and visible or displaced so that another family member becomes scapegoated as ‘difficult’. What’s interesting here is when nothing seems to work to address the apparent problem – this can suggest that you haven’t yet found the real ‘problem’.

Our approaches to relationship counselling depend very much on the issues being presented. Some counselling sessions work within family groups , and others with a pair. Whatever the relationship or the need, we will work with you to address a specific issue.

Separation and divorce

A broken marriage is usually extremely painful for both parties. People often forget that the person initiating the separation can be as upset as the rejected partner, and each deserves the support that allows them to properly process the experience so that they can let go. Where children are involved it gets more complicated. Children are often the genuine victims as they are wide open to soaking up the various tensions and pain that are always an intense part of any separation or divorce, even if it doesn’t seem so, or if the intention is to protect them.

But separation and divorce don’t have to cause lasting harm, or emotional disturbance to your children if it is handled responsibly. This means communicating effectively and as adults when in all probability communication has long since broken down and resentment  taken its place. It takes self-discipline and intent to achieve this and Charter can help. An experienced therapist will work with you both together and if necessary separately to ensure you feel heard and are able to properly trust the space. This allows you to begin a process of unravelling your mutual histories so that with as little blame or resentment as possible, you can both let go and move on. At this point we need to work closely with you to ensure that the loss you feel is effectively managed and you both feel supported.

Boundaries are extremely important at this point too, and the ability to hold them in the face of children asking questions is challenging. It is too easy to deliver an answer in an emotional moment, that goes on to backfire on you or on them. When either or both parents confide in their children inadvertently or otherwise, it can cause long-term damage to the child or children’s emotional and social development, and their capacity to trust and form committed and rewarding personal relationships. Thus, managing your emotions, engaging in patterns of good self-care, having boundaries and focused contact with the separating partner and having a place to talk are all useful ways to minimise the impact on children.

At Charter we can provide individual and couples sessions to work through difficult areas of communication and negotiation to enable a more harmonious break up; we can also provide support to your children through referral to one of our child/adolescent practitioners.

JT (grateful addict – day care)

What makes Charter so special is the way Mandy works with the rest of the team, especially Clare in Tertiary, to create a complete picture of what you need and where you’re at on an almost second by second basis. I felt seen and heard. This made me feel safe enough to get on with the painful risks I needed to take in group to get properly well; the risks I’d spent a whole life avoiding.

ED (wife & mother)

I found the drama triangle and boundary work really useful and consequently I don’t ever feel that I am running on empty. I am kinder to myself. I have the tools now to avoid the pointless circular arguments and accusations that seemed to be an inevitable part of family life, consequently I am happier.

Maggie (Day Care)

Charter gave me my first real glimpse of freedom of my addiction and the will to face another day free of fear. Every single therapist brought their own particular stance into the rooms, and there was as much laughter as tears.  We were all led by Mandy Saigari, the bravest and most intuitive people I have ever met. I can only say thank you.

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