for better relationships with Lilliana Gibbs

  • Couples1

    Relationship difficulties are inevitable in long term partnerships.
    How we work through issues and resolve differences can really make the difference.

Will couples counselling help?

Couples can become immune to hearing each other, while voicing their own unmet needs and disappointments. And so, they lose contact with each other and the confidence in their capacity to resolve differences.

Becoming better equipped to listen, express oneself and work together may require new skills, and being better able to manage one own emotions. When we can speak with integrity, be willing to take risks and be able to self-sooth when triggered, we have the capacities to develop and nurture a rewarding intimate relationship.

What happens in couples counselling?

Couples counselling can provide a touchstone during rough times, a safe place to unpick the messy knitting that life has become. To help to sort and release the feelings, to bring clarity and new understanding and to reframe and refocus. It can help to open up and explore a couple’s patterns and desires, revising their history and what existed from their families of origin. Learning to better work through differences develops a deeper intimacy. 

Counselling can also provide support to couples navigating changing life circumstances such as a new baby, altered work situations, illness or other major upheavals. Lilliana’s approach is to share better ways of communicating and give tools that support both self-awareness and connection so that clients continue to grow their capacity for differentiation and intimacy and develop their relationship skills beyond the consulting room.

Is it ever too late for couples counselling?

In crisis situations, counselling can help a couple move beyond pain and defence, to explore their own patterns, expectations and history and how this has contributed to their current situation.  Counselling is a safe place to discover whether trust can be repaired, and if not, it can help support both parties to separate with less hostility and more understanding.  It’s never too soon to seek support for your most important relationship.

It is a sad fact that the average time between couples deciding they need some help, and actually getting it, is seven years. Things may simmer down, but if there are problems that don’t go away, then best to get some support to address them.

Lilliana also works with divorcing couples, or those who have separated but want to collaborate well for their children. This work can ease suffering, increase understanding and both parties learn valuable relationship skill that support this ongoing co-parent relationship, and increase their confidence and capacity for new intimacy.

“We do not see things as they are;
we see things as we are”
Anais Nin

Your couples counsellor

A qualified and experienced couples counsellor, Lilliana works with couples in East Sussex and in London. She run’s workshops for couples and on-line programmes. She also sees individuals who are tackling relationship issues or wanting to create a committed relationship.

Her counselling style is strongly influenced by Dr David Schnarch’s Crucible Approach, (he is the author of Intimacy & Desire, Passionate Marriage and Brain Talk) and she regularly attends training with David Schnarch. Lilliana’s continuing development includes training in using systemic constellation for couples with Judith Hemming. Lilliana values Dr Harville Hendrix’s Imago Therapy (author of Getting the Love you Want & other books) and she draws on the wisdom of many other relationship writers and teachers, including Sue Johnson, John Gottman and Esther Perel.

How to start your couples counselling

The first couples counselling session is always exploratory and without further commitment. Counselling is a relationship, and its essential to feel confident it’s the right fit. Clients are encouraged to talk at home and decide next steps.

For couples choosing to work with Lilliana, she suggests initially committing to six sessions, and then reviewing.  However, people’s circumstances, availability and resources vary, and its vital that each couple have an arrangement that best supports them. Lilliana tends to see clients for between 6 and 12 sessions.

Intensive couples counselling

In some situations, a Couple Intensive is the best option.  This is a half-day commitment and a powerful way of exploring relationship dynamics, addressing issues and deepening intimacy.

While an Intensive will not suit all couples, for some it is an effective and efficient method for addressing a crisis, or for providing a potent booster to a long-term relationship, particularly if the couple live far away or are not available for a series of sessions.

“It is not our differences that divide us.
It is our inability to recognize, accept, and celebrate those differences”

Audre Lorde

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