Couples therapy and relationship counselling, coaching and psychotherapy in Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire, HX7 8HJ
“Couples therapy and relationship counselling is particularly important in the modern world, because we have reached a 50% divorce rate, and family misery is greatly increased by couple conflict. Many couples expect to be able to ‘operate’ a successful relationship without having the slightest idea what a ‘relationship is’, what ‘marital commitment’ means, or even how to ‘actively love’ their partner (other than in a brief, amorous, sexual manner). Amorous and sexual love comes naturally to all primates, and many other animals, but the ability to achieve a happy relationship in a human community has to be learned!”
Dr Jim Byrne, December 2017
Update, January 2018
And where do you think we learn about how to establish and run a sex-love relationship? Why, in our family of origin, of course! See Postscript 2 further down this page for ways to change what we got – in terms of ‘relationship skills and attitudes’ – from our family of origin.
Eighteen Key Principles of Happy Relationships through Couples Therapy
by Dr Jim Byrne
What is couples therapy, and how can it improve relationships between married and cohabiting couples? According to the Mayo Clinic:
“Marriage counselling, also called couples therapy, is a type of psychotherapy. Marriage counselling helps couples of all types recognise and resolve conflicts and improve their relationships. Through marriage counselling, you can make thoughtful decisions about rebuilding your relationship or going your separate ways.”
According to Life Hacker: “The main purpose of couples therapy is to put you and your significant other in a room with a neutral mediator to help you make sense of what’s going on. If you’re having trouble communicating with each other, then the counselor is going to help guide you through talking about it.”
In the system of counselling that I use, there are three definitions of relationship, which help you to know what is a realistic expectation of your partner, and what your partner is likely to expect from you to make the relationship equal and viable. Then there are eighteen principles of happy relationship, which teach you the core beliefs that can guide you into a happy and peaceful sharing of your future life with your partner.
Postscript 1, 2018
During the year 2017, I’ve been experimenting with a new approach to helping couple-clients to ‘reprogram their Inner Couple’, which is their guide to current relationships (based on what they saw in their family of origin). When couples do this work, they begin to related to each other in much more constructive and healthy and happy ways! (See Postscript 2, further down this page).
Over the years (since 1984) I have tried to identify the most helpful insights on managing happy, loving relationships, and I have passed these on to my couple-clients.
At the last count, I had collected, and/or developed, eighteen principles, or things you can do, which make the biggest and quickest contribution to improving your capacity to manage a happy couple relationship. (The number eighteen does not include those principles mentioned above).
Here is the first one, as an illustration:
1. A marriage (or marriage-like relationship) is a “house” that is built every day. What actions did you consciously take to build the “house” of your marriage today?
When you wake up in the morning, remind yourself that all you have are ‘the foundations’ of a relationship. You now have to build that relationship all over again; every single day. The house of your relationship is never complete. You can never ‘clock off’.
A relationship is not something you HAVE, it is something you DO! It is a process rather than a thing.
If you go to sleep in your relationship, you will wake up to find it has collapsed from want of repair. Having destructive arguments with your partner about who is right and who is wrong, and especially who is ‘top dog’ and who is ‘under dog’, is equivalent to trying to polish the walls of your “house” with sledge hammers! You will wreck it in no time. So I ask again:
What actions did you consciously take today to build the “house” of your relationship?
What actions did you take to stop swinging the wrecking ball against the walls of your relationship?
If you need help with conflict or dissatisfaction in your marriage or couple relationship, then this is the page for you.
Counselling services for couples – help with conflict and communication problems.
It has often been said, including by Werner Erhard, that people can’t communicate because what they call communication isn’t communication at all; and they cannot manage relationships, because their definitions of relationship are naive and simplistic. I can teach you how to communicate effectively with your loved ones, and to have great relationships at home and at work.
Dr Jim Byrne, Couple counsellor
Here are two more of my key principles:
Principles, insights and techniques for successful relating by happy couples
2. If you want your relationship to survive, then you need to maintain a 5:1 ratio of positive to negative moments. If you fail to do this, then your relationship is heading for disintegration. “But what more can I do?”, I hear you ask. Try this:
Avoid criticising your partner. Criticism is corrosive and destroys self esteem and good feelings in a relationship. Use reasonable ‘assertive complaints’ about behaviours, not about your partner’s essence, or person-hood.
Remember to set up dates and assignations with your partner, for friendly talk, walks, outings and sex-love encounters. High quality time together counts towards the 5 positives that you need. Ignoring or abandoning your partner counts towards the negative side of the equation.
Demonstrate respect and care for your partner. Take responsibility for your side of the relationship. And develop a deeper and deeper knowledge of ‘who’ your partner is. Try to find out more and more about their values, ideas, dreams, childhood, friendships, goals, etc.
3. The best way to get love is to sincerely offer it to your partner. In what ways could you offer love to your partner which you are not currently doing?
“But”, I hear you protest, “what love do I get from them?” That’s a really crazy way to do the sums. It’s just like the person sitting in front of a cold and black stove, with a huge wooden log in their hands, and saying to the stove: “If you give me some heat, I’ll give you this log!” Crazy! All they have to do is put the log on the fire, and fan the resulting flames a little; and – whoosh – up come the warming heat.
Do not wait for your partner to start loving you before you will love them. That’s crazy. Become the source of love in your relationship, and watch the magical results!
Take responsibility for the state of your relationship. “If there’s a problem here, then I am responsible”. Nobody’s coming on a cuffing white charger to rescue your relationship. Get stuck in and sort it out.
Successful lovers are ‘givers’. Unsuccessful lovers are like vampires. They are looking to suck some kind of benefit out of their partner. This is the wrong way around. Your partner will flee from vampire behaviour.
To learn the remaining 15 principles of happy couple relationships, please contact Dr Jim Byrne for a coaching, counselling or psychotherapy session.
Or phone: 01422 843 629
Couples Therapy and Marriage Guidance in Hebden Bridge
By Dr Jim Byrne – Doctor of Counselling
July 2016 (Updated January 2018)
My name is Jim Byrne, and I am a very happily married Doctor of Counselling. I completed my own couple’s therapy work in 1984, and I’ve had 34+ years of very happy marriage since that time.
I have now been in private practice as a coach/ counsellor/ psychotherapist for more than nineteen years, in Hebden Bridge, near Halifax, West Yorkshire; and all over the world via the telephone and internet systems.
During that time, I’ve been pleased to help lots of couples with all kinds of marriage, relationship and communication problems. Here’s a little video introduction to the kinds of ideas that I teach to my clients in couple’s therapy:
Here are just three of the testimonials I’ve received from some of those couples:
♣ Email feedback: “Dear Jim, … PS: We consulted you by telephone a few years ago, for relationship conflict, involving a very serious rift … And we are now happily married with a nine month old child. Your help was fantastic, and we still use the phrases and descriptions you used then. In fact, we have a list of insights on a laminated poster on our living room wall, to keep us on the straight and narrow! We will always be grateful for those insights.” S.W. (and P.W), Sheffield. (Six sessions of telephone counselling [using speaker phone] for couple conflict and relationship advice).
♣ Verbal feedback: “Every time we come to see you, our relationship gets better and better. We did not expect this. We have now reached a kind of comfortable plateau, and we don’t know if things will get any better. But we have talked about it, and we don’t know what you said or what you did to help us to get to this much nicer place in our relationship”.
Dr. A.D, North Halifax, West Yorkshire. UK. (Five sessions of face to face couples therapy).
♣ Postcard (in an envelope!): “Hiya Jim, Thanks for everything you’ve done for me. Without you and this (counselling) work, I wouldn’t be here now. I would have killed myself weeks ago!”
P.C., Rochdale, Lancs. UK. (Six sessions of face-to-face counselling for anger, rage, attachment issues, couple conflict and suicidal intent).
Most systems of couples therapy are not very effective, for a variety of reasons. But my approach has the advantage of being an educational process, in which the partners learn to be more loving, more caring, and much more skillful in the way they relate to each other. This is novel and unique. I also outlaw any form of conflict in the therapy room. Time is shared equally, and one partner works with me at a time, and the other one remains silent and respectful of their partner’s right to share their perspective and their perceptions. (Furthermore, as at January 2018, I now offer a new, revolutionary approach to reprogramming couples for happy relationships, based on radical new ideas in this field. Please see Postscript 2, below).
I am in no doubt that I have a special talent for helping couples in distress, conflict and deteriorating communication.
I earned that special talent by growing up in a loveless home, and learning about love the hard way later on. I learned that special talent by going through marriage guidance with my own wife, back in the mid-1980s, and learning how to relate to her in more realistic, reasonable and loving ways. I learned that special talent by studying some of the most potent and powerful approaches to couples therapy that have been developed on this planet so far. (And, in 2017, I have expanded my talent and skill in this area, by studying and applying a whole new approach to helping couples to reprogram their non-conscious goals for relationship, and what is called their Inner Couple Model! See Postscript 2 below).
Now I want to teach what I have learned to you!
Does this sound interesting to you?
If so, you can contact me today,
By email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Or by phoning 01422 843 629 (And If you are outside the UK, you can work with me over the telephone or Skype, or via email. Call me on 44 1422 843 629 today!)
Do you have any problems of relationship conflict, or communication difficulties, or romantic or sexual issues? Do you feel your relationship is declining in satisfaction for you or your partner, and you want to revive the excitement of the early years? If so, then I can help you.
I look forward to meeting you (individually or as a couple) and to helping you to have the kind of highly successful marriage that I have enjoyed every single day of my (post-couples-therapy) blessed life, for more than 33 years!
Dr Jim Byrne
Doctor of Counselling
And Couples Therapy coach/counsellor/psychotherapist
If you do not live close enough to Hebden Bridge to take advantage of this revolutionary teaching/coaching service in couples therapy, then you can email me to set up a long-distance process, by phone or Skype.
Email to email@example.com
Do you have any couple conflict issues; or problems of interpersonal relating; or help with deadlocks in your negotiations of your areas of difference? If so, then I can help you to resolve your difficulties.
To set up an appointment, call me today on:
Telephone: 01422 843 629 (inside the UK)
Telephone: 44 1422 843 629 (outside the UK)
Or email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Or download an information pack: Information pack for Face to Face clients
Don’t miss this chance to improve the most important relationship in your life.
Call me today.
Doctor of Counselling
ABC Coaching and Counselling Services
Do you need help with your marriage problems, relationship issues, or couple difficulties? If so, I can help you.
If you still do not have enough information to make a decision about whether or not to consult me with your problems with couple relationship, then here is some additional information:
Self-help resources for Couples in conflict*** (To buy a full copy of Jim’s 18 principles of happy relations, please email email@example.com)
Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
POSTSCRIPT 2: JANUARY 2018
Reflections on Anne Teachworth’s first exercise
By Jim Byrne, January 2018
In her book – Why we Pick the Mates we do: A step-by-step program to select a better partner or improve the relationship you’re already in – Anne Teachworth argues that we choose our ‘life partner’ on the basis of something called our ‘Inner Couple’. And our Inner Couple happens to be the ‘video film’ we made in the first five to ten years of our lives, while watching how our mother and father (or main carers) related to each other.
Think about that.
If you grew up watching a loving couple, in your family of origin, then you will effortlessly replicate that in your own adult life, when you come to choose a partner and a pattern of relating.
But if you grew up watching a dysfunctional, or unhappy, or conflicted couple, in your family of origin, then you will reliably replicate that unhappiness in your own relationship(s) with significant others – like lovers, and marriage partners.
In some ways, this seems like a profoundly depressing thought – except that there is a way out!
Using Gestalt reprogramming
It is possible – according to Anne Teachworth – to “reprogram your Inner Couple”. And her book is a step by step process to do just that, so that, at the end of the process, you will have a happy Inner Couple, and this will lead you to have a happy and successful marriage, or marriage-like relationship yourself!
This has to be good news for you, if you are struggling with unhappiness in your current romantic life!
And according to Anne Teachworth, she has helped hundreds of couples to change their current relationships from unhappy to happy, using her Gestalt reprogramming approach.
Recently I have been experimenting with this approach with my couple clients, and I have had positive feedback on the client’s experience of the process. They like it!
Our conscious and non-conscious goals
We humans have a ‘design fault’ which causes us to believe we are wholly conscious beings, who make our choices consciously. However, there is lots of research evidence to show that we are not capable of consciously processing all the information that we actually process every second of our day. In fact, we probably are conscious of about one-millionth of the data that our body-brain-mind processes, second by second.
There is research evidence to support the conclusion that individuals have both conscious and non-conscious goals, including goals for relationship. That is to say, a person may tell you that they consciously are seeking a ‘perfect partner’, with particular positive qualities. However, if you then watch what they do when they are presented with a choice between somebody with those positive qualities (in a speed dating context, for example), and somebody who totally lacks those positive qualities, you will too often find that they go for the person who lacks the qualities that they believe they are seeking. And what is the explanation for this strange behaviour? They also have non-conscious goals for relationship, and the non-conscious goal is normally very much stronger than the conscious goal.
This is the best explanation for the reason that advising individuals to carry a list of the desirable qualities of their ideal love match will not help. They will make their choice on the basis of goals which are below their conscious level of awareness. Isn’t it true that you have seen this perverse behaviour in yourself, and/or some of your close friends or relatives?
A shift in understanding
Most couple therapists, from the psychodynamic tradition, in the past, have argued that we choose our partner to complete something that was left incomplete between us (as an individual) and our parent of the opposite sex. It certainly most often looks like that is the best explanation, but Anne Teachworth has refined our understanding in this area, and we now know that the non-conscious goal is not about finding a ‘perfect mate’, but about finding a perfect ‘match’ between the two memorized members of our Inner Couple (mum and dad; or our equivalent; or main carers while we were growing up [from birth to about age ten years]).
I now teach this model to many of my couple clients – (I also teach other models when they are more appropriate). And my aim is to help my couple-clients to reprogram their Inner Couple for happy relationship, instead of the kind of misery and conflict that so often results from that kind of non-conscious choosing of a ‘perfect match’ with the conflicted Inner Couple from childhood!
That’s all for now.
Dr Jim Byrne
01422 843 629 (or, from outside the UK: 44 1422 843 629)
4th January 2018.