Talking can break down all barriers

I agree with Ellaine Cameron manager of Relate Gloucester and Swindon, writing in Swindon Advertiser, that lack of communication is a prime cause of relationship breakdown. Important to break down the barriers. “Keep talking and keep listening”. Other common reasons are infidelity, strife involving extended family, delicate business of blending step families and task sharing. In my own experience, as a relationship counsellor, conflict and difficulty in resolving issues is a common reason for relationship breakdown as well as relationship being one sided and couple not “playing” that is not enjoying being together. (Ideas from Transactional Analysis). Relationship and other counselling is a two way process. Equally shared between counsellor and client. It requires the client(s) to be engaged and committed. May involved doing some “homework”. As Elaine says, not to sit in a room with a counsellor and have the counsellor tell them what to do. (Same as being in a relationship really)

New Year relationship blues

New year is a time when many of us naturally assess how life is going and this includes in our relationships. Relationship counselling organisations and counsellors in private practice receive a higher number of calls at this time of the year. This might be because people are considering what they want from their relationship or because Christmas has put a greater strain on a relationship as issues come to the surface. Contacting a counsellor is a positive step.

How do you feel about your – or someone else’s – behaviour? Permission to let go.

Let me give you some “Permission”

You (or someone else) may have engaged in a not-OK behaviour but you (or someone else) are/is OK as a person. I believe that you (someone else) did the best you could have – as you saw it at the time – when everything was known and taken into account. Therefore you do not deserve blame from me or anyone.

In other words:

Don’t blame yourself

Don’t accept blame from anyone else (including the Parent Ego figures in your imagination)

You did your best – or what you had to do – given the circumstances.

We may disagree with the behaviour (your own or someone else’s) but behaviour is a message from the person not the person themselves. If you believe this statement, you will look for the highest intention behind any behaviour and try to find the real person behind it. This includes how you talk to and view yourself.

Blame does not help. (Towards someone else or towards yourself)

It traps and binds and prevents the very change it seeks to bring about.

Forgiveness is a decision to make a fresh start and to remove – from past events – the power to control our lives in the future.

It is an act of liberation for us and for others.

Acknowledgement to Peter Flowerdew

Permission is a very important part of Transactional Analysis.

It’s a situation in which the therapist says

“You can do what your parents or other people told you not to do” or

“You don’t have to keep doing what you decided to do as a child”

For example, if a person is now very shy was told

“Don’t ask for anything”

one permission would be to ask for what is wanted or needed.

Claude Steiner

In the not OK behaviour, we are following strategies we decided upon as a young children. These strategies were the best ways we could work out as infants to survive and get what we wanted from a world that may have seemed hostile. As grown ups we still pursue these same patterns at times. We may do this even though the results are painful or unproductive. The behaviour might be doing something or not doing something as in Claude Steiner’s example above.

Come and talk to me about behaviours that have been unproductive and painful.





Where’s the summer?

Does the weather affect how we feel about ourselves or our relationships? It’s easy to “blame” what’s going on our there for how we think and feel but we have more control over mind than we believe. In fact one belief system – that of Buddhists – is that problems don’t exist outside our mind. I often hear couples say that if only she or he would change in some way then all would be well in their relationships. In fact we are all interdependent. I appreciate that the interdependence idea is hard to believe sometimes especially if he or she has behaved very hurtfully towards ourselves. Hurtful behavior may be a “cry for help” or a symptom of a poorly relationship. It’s the system that needs examining or exploring. Like that of an engine. The parts depend on each other.

Autumn news


Now that the summer is over it’s back to work on those Changes.


I resigned from my job in Contraception and Sexual Health nursing in June to enable to me to offer clients regular (same time and day) appointments.

I’ve now completed my Relationship Counselling conversion course with Relate and continue to work towards the full Relate qualification. Relate in Wolverhampton and Dudley is very busy since being taken over by Birmingham. I’m still working with couples in private practice.

I’m still working with clients who come to see me for support and an understanding of their process and Change with the use of Transactional Analysis and continue to work with my superviser Peter Flowerdew.

New tools for the tool box. I’m going to start NLP and hypnotherapy training in October. This will satisfy the request I’ve been getting for techniques and hopefully make the process of Change quicker for clients.

Husband and I are moving house soon. I’ll still be working from home in the front room until I have a purpose build therapy room.