The Bath Couples   Therapy Practice

Evidence-Based Therapy

Frequently Asked Questions

The aim of the Bath Couples Therapy Practice is to employ the best of science on what makes relationships happy, fulfilling and enduring. I will use my skills as a Clinical Psychologist to tailor it to your specific needs.

Apart from addressing issues in the here and now, I will also help you to strengthen and deepen your connection and if relevant and desired, help you with specific issues, such as major life transitions and other matters in the past or future.

See here for more details about Couples Therapy at the Bath Couples Therapy Practice.
Feeling unsure about the need for or effectiveness of therapy is not uncommon. Furthermore, finding a Couples Therapist who has the training and experience to address your specific needs and with whom you both feel comfortable can be very difficult.

If this is relevant to you, I am at your disposal. I offer the introductory meeting at low cost to answer any of your questions and help you with your decision about therapy. It is a one-off meeting without any commitment to start therapy at my practice.

Because there will be less outside-the-session clinical administrative work for me, which can take up to an hour for regular therapy appointments, I will pass on this saving to you.

I would be delighted to meet you both.
There is no need to do anything before therapy. However, if you have any questions or worries about therapy, it would be a good thing to write them down to be sure they will be covered when we meet.

It is likely that the therapy programme we develop together will involve spending time between sessions doing things. The best way to make Couples Therapy work effectively is to practice at home what you learn and discover in therapy.

A common mechanism perpetuating relationship difficulties is summed up nicely in the adage - old habits die hard. The good news is that there are powerful psychological methods to break those old habits and, importantly, replace them with new habits that will nurture the health and happiness of your relationship. Those methods together with a sincere willingness to try things out, and being committed to each other and the therapy process, have been found in research to lead to successful outcomes in therapy.

Another upside is that many of the things you will do as part of the therapy programme are gratifying and even fun at times.

If one of you are not sure about therapy

It is not uncommon for one partner to be hesitant about therapy. Partners often have different ideas of what is happening in their relationship and how to make things better.

An equal level of motivation is not necessary for therapy to work, but it is important that you both make and own the decision to come and commit. The hesitant partner may decide to come to learn more about the nature and process of therapy while reserving the right not to continue.

Couples who give it a try usually find that ambivalence and pessimism dissipate when things starting to improve in their relationship.
Depending on what definition of persuasion is used, one first has to consider whether it is a good thing to persuade someone about something they do not want to do. Coercion, threats of breaking up and ultimatums are unhelpful and can make things worse. Even if coaxing makes a person come, they would be less likely to engage with the therapy. Successful outcome of therapy is partly dependent on the person owing the decision to come.

On the other hand, there are ways to make you both interested in giving Couples Therapy a try by making use of specific ways of encouragement and nudges. Scientific studies have found that people are more likely to take a certain decision if: 1) it is recommended by a credible expert; 2) they like the person who recommends; 3) they become aware that the decision is taken by other people in the same situation as them. To apply this to your situation, you may wish to encourage your partner to read about the effectiveness of specific Couples Therapies and how therapy has helped friends, acquaintances and perhaps well-known public figures.
If possible, it can be helpful to explore together the underlying reasons for their reluctance. For example, there are alas plenty of myths about therapy that stop people seeking help. For example, some people avoid therapy because they believe the therapist will take sides and be judgemental. At the Bath Couples Therapy Practice, I will be on both your sides and guide the therapy to provide equal time to talk and be listened to. If there are other concerns, joint fact-finding about specific therapies can go a long way encouraging a person to come.

It is often a good idea to have an initial meeting with your preferred Couples Therapist to get to know them and the services they offer. At the Bath Couples Therapy Practice, I would be delighted to meet and to help you with your decision about therapy. To make it convenient for you, you can book such an one-off introductory meeting online at a reduced sessional rate.

Do we need therapy?

Mutually rewarding relationships, both romantic and platonic, are one of our most fundamental human needs. From relationships we derive meaning, self-confidence, support, love, passion and help coping with the ups and downs of life. Despite its importance, many of us struggle to build and maintain healthy relationships. The good news is that for most couples, there are a plenty of things that you can learn and do to make things better.

As a Couples Therapist, you will not be surprised to hear me saying that Couples Therapy can make real and lasting positive changes in people's lives. But you do not have to take my word for it, more and more people are talking openly about the benefits to them, including public figures.

I would be very happy to talk to you and assist you with your decision-making.
I also offer an introductory meeting at a reduced rate without any other commitment and as a one-off.
I. To Strengthen, Prepare & Deepen connection

For example:
  • To develop a closer and deeper connection with their partner
  • To prepare for major life transitions, eg starting a family, moving in together or marry
  • To learn how to enjoy talking and spending time together again
  • To improve skills in decision-making and conflict management
  • To learn how to maintain a relationship that is going well and keep on growing together
II. To overcome relationship difficulties

For example:
  • Disagreements about the share of household chores or child care
  • Feeling unappreciated or misunderstood
  • Emotional withdrawal/detachment
  • Breach of trust
  • Unsatisfactory communication
  • Arguments that escalate out of control
  • Interactions characterised by criticism, contempt, defensiveness or stonewalling
  • Strong negative feelings, such as anger, between partners
  • Dysfunctional decision-making
  • Little or no success after following relationship advice from self-help media, friends and family
  • An unsuccessful trial of couples counselling/therapy
  • Intimacy problems
  • Unfaithfulness or thinking thereof
  • Not enjoying each other’s company
Most certainly. Couples Therapy is not only about remedying things that are not going well. The ongoing care and nurturing of the positive aspects of coupleship and, if needed and relevant, the preparation for pending life transitions are equally important.

For example, couples come to therapy to learn more about how to maintain passion and loving bonds, and new and exciting ways to interact and grow closer. Others come to prepare them for having their first child, moving house, taking on new caring responsibilities or coping with demanding situations, such as health issues or financial difficulties.

We will make use of over 40 years of research on what makes and maintains a mutually rewarding relationship to support your long-term happiness as a couple.
Good question. To answer this I need to understand what you mean with “luck.” If the question is about whether there are couples who have met by lucky chance and are happy without making efforts or having problems, then I would say that would be untrue for most people. To have a successful and loving relationship in the long-term is the result of continuous effort for most of us. Interestingly, a study found that only one third of couples fell in love at first sight. Thus, it seems that even in the beginning of a relationship, other things than just good fortune are at play.
This is a good question. To respond to it well and as accurately as possible, I would need more information about your situation. In general, we know that couples in on-and-off unhappy relationships wait a long time before seeking help if they do it at all. A common situation that can prolong unhappiness unnecessarily are avoidance like sweeping things under the carpet. Although this is a natural and common response to difficulties, it is rarely a good strategy. One study found that couples who attend therapy have waited on average six years. This is heartbreaking because long periods of unhappiness can be avoided by nipping problems in the bud. It is easier to repair relationship issues early and thereby avoid entrenchment of negative thoughts, emotions and behaviour.

So, how to decide whether or not you and your partner can benefit from therapy? Apart from reading about it and perhaps talking to people who have been through therapy, probably the most easy and discreet way would be to have an introductory meeting with a Couples Therapist without any need to commit. I will be more than happy to talk to you in that way and help you with your decision.

You may also wish to have a look at my answer to the question “Common reasons for which people come to Couples Therapy”

Co-occurring couple & individual therapy

If personal issues are brought up before therapy (which I encourage you to do if relevant) or emerge during the Couples Therapy, I will be sensitive to these needs and supportive. Together, we will strive to make adjustments to take these into account as far as is possible while keeping our therapy focus on Couples Therapy. It is important to note that apart from exceptional circumstances, best therapy practice does not permit two different therapies to be undertaken concurrently. Engaging in two therapies can be confusing, draining and impede progress.

If the need of personal therapy is urgent and emerges during the main application of Couples Therapy (when appointments take place weekly to monthly), we can discuss a pause in therapy. If the need emerges during the optional follow-up period of therapy, we may be able to continue depending on both partners’ needs and preferences, and treatment integrity.
There would be some clear advantages with such an arrangement, such as having an existing good working relationship with a therapist familiar with you and some of your needs. However, the are also significant drawbacks.

For example, you may experience therapy overload and the therapy aims in the two therapies may be incompatible. There is also a real possibility that the therapist will be perceived as taking sides because he/she have developed a closer working relationship with one of you.

Even if you both are seen for individual therapy, other unhelpful issues could arise. A no-secret policy concerning what is shared with the therapist in Couples Therapy is essential to the effectiveness of this therapy, but such a constraint in individual therapy could limit its usefulness and make it more difficult to be open and frank about your individual needs.

For the above reasons, my practice adheres to the advice of the British Psychological Society, and best therapy practice in general, which recommend refraining from seeing the same therapist for both Individual and Couples Therapy concurrently.

Process of therapy

Unlikely. It is worth bearing in mind, though that many people find it difficult to acknowledge and face up to things that are not going well. This together of the effects of trying something new and waiting for the therapy to take effect, can make one feel worse before feeling better. This is not unique to Couples Therapy, but applies to all talking therapies. The upside is that “approach” as opposed to “avoidance” is one of the healing ingredients of Couples Therapy and that by its nature, therapy is an excellent place to practice “approach” because of the presence of a neutral, supportive and specialist third person.

A thing to bear in mind when choosing a therapy provider is that there are a multitude of therapies and counselling approaches for relationship problems, and their delivery are unregulated and widely diverse. Not all therapies deliver successful outcomes and the delivery of them are sometimes counter-productive.

At the Bath Couples Therapy Practice, I aim to give you access to some of the most effective therapy methods as evidenced by scientific research and to offer your reassurance in its competent application in my capacity as an associate fellow of the British Psychological Society and Doctor of Clinical Psychology.
Most therapists are aware that taking sides is unhelpful and that they should remain neutral, and seek to understand and support both partners equally. As your therapist, I take this very seriously and will take steps throughout the therapy to make sure the process of therapy is fair and balanced.
I am glad you are asking this question. There is evidence to suggest that therapy is more successful when the personal style of the therapist is of the client’s liking.

You may have come across or read about therapists being quiet for the majority of the consultation and perhaps at the end offering interpretations of what you are saying. Other therapy approaches can come across as formulaic, inflexible and jargon laden. I aim to offer something completely different to those ways of carrying out therapy.

As an evidence-based practitioner and by the nature of my personality, I consider you to be the experts on your lives and the issues you bring. I am keen to listen and learn from all what you bring without judging or taking sides. On my part, I bring expertise in the knowledge-base and practice of Couples Therapy and practical skills from my long experience of helping people both in the NHS and private practice.

I employ methods from specific Couples Therapy programs as well as Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy and other proven therapies, to help you reaching your goals for therapy, and facilitate healing and change. If you already have experience and knowledge of Couples Therapy, we will build on what already works for you and incorporate that with our jointly developed treatment programme. My approach to the realisation of therapy is to be outcome-focussed, non-dogmatic and collaborative. I also aim to bring healthy doses of fun and congeniality to our sessions.

It is of course easy to say and write the above things. For this reason, I encourage and invite you to meet or call me to make up your mind. I look forward to hearing from you.

Practical questions

If you change your mind about a booked appointment, it can easily and quickly be cancelled online 24/7 without any need to call or email. Of course, it would be nice and helpful to hear from you and the reasons you cancel but you can do this when you are ready. Re-scheduled and cancelled appointments made with more than 48 hours notice will be fully refunded. For shorter notice, the full fee will be incurred.
I am only contactable during contracted hours. To offer the best possible support to my clients, I offer optional telephone or video consultations during the weekly Contact Surgery.

If you have an urgent matter for which you need support, I suggest you contact your GP or a relevant helpline; here is a list from the NHS website.
At the Bath Couples Therapy Practice, data protection, your privacy and control over your Personal Data are of highest priority. In accordance with best practice and apart from exceptional circumstances to which I am bound by UK law and my professional practice guidelines, all information you disclose is confidential.

For more details about confidentiality and data protection, please see my Privacy Notice.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you like to know more.

Please also pass on any suggestion of additional questions on this page. Posted questions will be anonymous and generic. I will not post any name or identifying details. Thank you.