Would you like to improve your relationship?

Would you like to learn how to communicate differently and fight fair?



Around Valentine’s Day many singles and couples reflect on their relationship and wonder if it could be better. Most people would answer YES to wanting to improve their relationship and many would not know that there is an enormous body of research into what creates a long lasting relationship and that there are useful skills can be learned.

For example:

  • Did you know that in a relationship criticism, contempt, defensiveness and withdrawing are the key predictors of divorce?
  • Did you know that a marriage with five times more positivity than negativity is significantly less likely to result in divorce?
  • Did you know that there is an ideal mathematical ratio that predicts relationship longevity?
  • Do you know how to read your partner’s “love language”?
  • Do you use “spears” in your relationship (spears can be words, criticism etc., or can be thrown in the form of silent treatment, stonewalling)?
  • Can you recognise your partner’s “repair” attempts?
  • Would you like to be better “attuned” emotionally to your partner?
  • Can you find the “dream” within a conflict?
  • Did you know researchers have found the key behaviours that create a lasting relationship?

Dr. John Gottman’s research at the University of Washington proves that 69% of problems in a relationship are unsolvable. These may be things like personality traits your partner has that rub you the wrong way, or long-lasting issues around money. The research tells us that couples must learn to manage conflict rather than avoid or eliminate it. Trying to solve unsolvable problems is counterproductive, and no couple will ever completely eliminate them. However, discussing them is constructive and provides a positive opportunity for understanding and growth.

All relationships have perpetual problems that crop up. Psychologist Dan Wile once said that “when choosing a long-term partner, you will inevitably be choosing a “particular set of unresolvable problems.” No one escapes this fact. Fortunately, we have real science that helps couples learn how to manage such conflicts and keep their love alive and well. And couple therapy can be helpful. Couples usually come to therapy when they are in a cycle of negative interactions, arguments or they are having difficulties communicating or connecting.

Below is a list of frequently presented couple concerns seen in my practice.

Couples come to therapy for a range of issues such as:

  • Communication difficulties
  • Frequent arguments and disagreements
  • Differing approaches to parenting
  • Lack of connection and intimacy
  • Trust issues
  • Affairs
  • Feeling alone

Being part of a couple can be a truly rewarding experience, but intimate partnerships can also become fraught with difficulties. When concerns arise, people are sometimes unsure how serious they are and whether other couples face the same problems. I believe it is often helpful to address these early on, as research indicates that couples can wait 6 years on average before they seek help.

Meet our Couples Therapist /Psychologist Lorraine Cushing-Kléber

Lorraine is a registered Psychologist and has completed training with the Gottman Institute in providing evidence based therapy for couples. She has also completed training in Emotion Focused Therapy (EFT), Narrative therapy and Imago therapy. She has worked with many couples to help them learn how to break free from negative cycles and to learn ways to connect and communicate. She believes that couple therapy should be helpful and skills based as well as being an opportunity for couples to talk with each other in a meaningful way and develop new patterns as well as laughing together! Please contact Northpsych for more information.

“Real love is not about holding out for the perfect person or finding someone who meets all the criteria on your list. Real love is about finding an imperfect person and building a messy, beautiful love. Real love is finding someone who simply fits, and fighting to fit even when the pieces become jagged and worn over time.” – Marissa Donnelly


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