Mike Gray Couple Counsellingfor Kingston upon Thames and Surbiton

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Couples and Marriage Counsellor in Surbiton

Are you having problems in your relationship?

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Maybe your relationship isn’t everything it used to be. If you try to talk to your partner about it, they get angry, or refuse to discuss it because they think you’re trying to blame them. Or perhaps they are always trying to tell you how you need to be different. Sometimes you aren’t sure if the problem is you or them. Whatever the discussion is about (money, relatives, sex, children, work…) somehow it isn’t possible to have a sensible conversation. Maybe you feel lonely in this relationship.

I specialise in relationship therapy. I can help get things back on track.

I particularly work with people who are having relationship difficulties such as:

  • difficulties with communications
  • arguments or conflict
  • an affair or infidelity
  • disagreements over parenting, over money, over in-laws...
  • arguments about nothing!
  • disagreements over sex, or different levels of sexual desire.

 

Please check my "Contact, Availability, and Charges" page and contact me if you have relationship problems like these. (I am based in Surbiton, convenient for Kingston upon Thames, Thames Ditton, Raynes Park, and Wimbledon.) We can set up a first session to understand what is going on. If after the first session, you decide not to proceed, I will not mind, and will happily refund the cost of that session. You have to find a counsellor that's right for you. Most of my work is on Zoom, but I do have some face to face sessions on Sundays in Surbiton.

Please feel free to contact me.

 

Talking to a couples counsellor

Talking to a couple counsellor, also known as relationship therapy or marriage guidance, can help to get your conversation going again. It can be a relief to each be able to express your point of view safely. A relationship counsellor will be non-judgemental and will not be trying to decide which of a couple is right, or who wins the argument. Very often, one of the couple is more keen to do counselling than the other. This is normal. Again, please feel free to discuss it with me if this concerns you.

I do not generally think of my clients in terms of having something wrong with them, but rather in terms of having got into a bad pattern of interaction. I often use the approach of Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy (EFT for couples). EFT for couples is rated by the Society of Clinical Psychology as having "strong research support", the highest grade.

If you are having problems, it is much better to address them sooner rather than later.

I also offer individual work with men.

See my "About" page for more about my approach.


Latest blog post - Talk about it when you're calm

....not in the middle of an argument. 

 

I often advise couples that the time to discuss their difficulties is not in the middle of an argument, but when things are okay. But people are often reluctant to raise problems when there is calm, in case it re-starts the argument. That’s understandable. That’s one way that a weekly counselling session can help. 

 


There was a good article recently at The School of Life about “preoccupied attachment style”. It describes what that feels like. And their advice is “Progress begins when we can learn to reveal our tendencies to partners before the arguments have started”. Yes. “Reveal our tendencies”. Not “point out our partner’s shortcomings”. 

 

The tendency of a person with preoccupied attachment is to try to resolve relationship problems by demanding endless reassurance, but not being able to accept it. The reassurance is never enough. The other two styles in this simple scheme are secure, the people who can ask for reassurance and accept it; and avoidant, the people who conceal their distress, and don’t want to talk about it. (I don’t often see couples where both partners are avoidant, because one thing they agree on is they don’t want therapy.) 

 

So one possibility for therapy is to investigate and talk about our own tendencies. I’ll help you. 

 

https://www.theschooloflife.com/article/the-pains-of-preoccupied-attachment/

To men

Masculinity today is a puzzle: how are you supposed to be these days? Strong? Or emotional? Should you show your feelings? How can you be "emotionally supportive" in a masculine way?

Have you perhaps looked at men’s web sites, or the book “No More Mr Nice Guy”?

As I am a man, I am aware of these issues. I understand the problems that men face in relationships. As a couples counsellor I can help you with them, without trying to push you into a feminine way of dealing with them. Men and women often tend to have different ways of dealing with emotions and relationships.


Other sources of support for couples

Many good books on marriage and relationship problems are available - I particularly recommend those published by RELATE on topics such as infidelity.

Internet Forums - there are quite a number of free marriage guidance forums and discussion groups on the internet where visitors advise each other about their relationship problems such as affairs and arguments. I recommend caution with these. Generally the people providing online advice are not trained marriage counsellors - they are other people having problems, so they often have quite a negative view, and urge people towards separation. Some forums advise almost everyone to divorce! Beware of this. Most relationship problems can be improved, if the partners want to. Most couples who think about divorce but don't, are glad later that they stayed together.


Please go to the "Contact and availability" page to get in touch with me

Contact and availability page

 

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