How I Work
Relationship, Couples, and Parent Counselling
Relationship counselling can help you have the kind of relationship you’ve been longing for…
“Ranka is a mine of relevant, up to date advice when it comes to relationship and parenting issues. It has been my good fortune to be able to seek her professional advice on the behalf of a number patients.”
Dr. Helena Rosengren MBChB, FRACGP, FACSCM, FSCCA, MMed, MPHTM, DRCOG, Senior Lecturer James Cook University, Chair Research Committee Skin Cancer College Australasia, Accredited GP Supervisor (GMT JCU)
Relationships are challenging, even for those who have strong, healthy ones. They require constant effort to keep them functioning well.
Most of us did not have perfect caretakers when we were children. Even if your parents did their best in raising you, there were likely things that were missing for you emotionally. You carry these unmet needs into your adult life and they can wreak havoc in your intimate relationships.
If your childhood was severely troubled, your relationships in adult life are likely to be even more difficult.
The two most common results of unmet childhood needs are to demand attention from your partner or withdraw inwardly and avoid your partner when you’re upset and feeling unloved. These behaviors where helpful coping mechanisms when you were a child but they often get in the way of successful relationships in your adult life.
Like powerful magnets, those who withdraw when distressed tend to be attracted to those who demand attention, and those who demand attention tend to be drawn to those who withdraw.
Relationship counselling facilitates growth and healing of these unmet childhood needs by helping you understand how they cause you distress and unhappiness. When you heal them, you can develop new skills and make better choices that lead to relationship happiness.
Counselling helps you create a relationship that has deep intimacy, joy, and passion. Overall, counselling helps you live your life to your fullest potential.
My Style and Approach to Relationship and Couples Therapy
As your relationship or couples therapist, I provide a safe and non-judgmental space to guide you towards your relationship goals. I’ll help you resolve negative patterns of behavior that have become entrenched within yourself and your relationships.
My approach to counselling is integrative, drawing from diverse theories and using the ones best suit to your needs, or preferences. It can be described as psychodynamic, client-centred, relational, holistic, experiential, and strength-based.
Three major counselling approaches that inform my work are Imago Relationship Therapy, Person-Centred Psychotherapy, and a Strengths-Based Approach.
Imago Relationship Therapy is a research-based approach. It is a highly effective form of relationship and couples therapy. It is based on the concept that, as adults, we unconsciously seek out the parent figure with whom we had the most unmet needs in childhood; in order to have those needs met now. Imago is known to help people move from blame and reactivity to understanding and empathy. Imago therapy helps transform conflicts into opportunities for healing and growth. Couples can then connect more lovingly with one another.
Client Centered Therapy means that I actively work on building a rapport and relationship with you by being caring, understanding, and genuine. I help you live more freely, fully, and more present in the present, rather than living constantly in the past, or in the future.
A Strengths-Based Approach means that in our work together, I focus on the internal strengths and resilience you already have – the characteristics that have helped you survive difficult times in your past. We work to enhance these strengths so that you can “reclaim” them and use them positively in your life and relationships.
How to Make the Most Out of Counselling
You will be successful in therapy if you are willing to examine your behaviors – both your strengths and areas requiring growth. You’ll need to be honest with yourself and your partner, if you have one, and commit to ending the painful ways you relate to one another. You’ll need to be willing to create a relationship that is mutually healing and fulfilling.
This sometimes requires stepping out of your comfort zone and into the shoes of your partner. You’ll need to discover how to resolve conflict in a healthy way so that you can grow and become closer to one another.
I’ll help you become your “best self” as an individual and a partner and so that you can become the best you can be as a couple.
Steps in the Counselling Process for Couples
When working with you as a couple, I first focus on listening to each of your perceptions of your problems as we work towards building a trusting relationship. I’ll help you feel safe and comfortable talking to me about your struggles.
We’ll explore how you relate to one another and the root cause of the behaviors that are creating problems in your relationship. We’ll identify the strengths in each of you and determine areas that will require change in order to have a better relationship.
After we explore your relationship dynamics, I will gently and respectfully share my observations with you, and we’ll set goals for growth and healing.
I’ll help you express the deeper feelings that you may not have expressed to your partner before. I’ll help you relate to one another in ways that allow for both of you to feel heard and understood. Through this process, you’ll develop healthier behaviors and greater intimacy.
As you improve your communication skills and develop more empathy toward one another, we’ll focus on enhancing your relationship strengths and how they can be used to build a lasting relationship for the future.
Steps in the Counselling Process for Single Individuals
When working with you as a single person, I first focus on listening to you as you tell me your struggles as we begin to build a trusting relationship. It’s essential that you feel safe and comfortable talking to me about your problems.
If you are dealing with a recent relationship loss, we’ll work on healing these immediate wounds.
We’ll explore the root cause of your relationship problems – where and how they began in your early life. You’ll come to understand your relational style, your positive and negative communication patterns, and the self-defeating behaviours that have been getting in the way of finding a loving partner.
We’ll set goals for working together that will allow you to heal your early relationship wounds and unhelpful behaviors. I will help you develop new and healthy ways of being in a relationship. We’ll focus on building your strengths so that you can have a better relationship in the future.
We’ll explore the type of relationship you want to create and develop a vision of what you want it to be. You’ll establish a secure and loving connection with yourself that will allow you to feel strong, confident, and happy alone until you find a partner that will fulfill your needs and whose needs you’ll be able to meet.