When I started my studies in counselling and psychotherapy at the start of the new century, I really didn’t have any specific ideas about what kinds of clients I wanted to work with. But I had an amazing opportunity to do some intensive training in my final year of study with Margaret Newman, the original co-founder (along with David Jansen) of The Jansen Newman Institute. She took a very small group of students from our year and trained and supervised us in working with couples and relationship issues.
Margaret dedicated her entire professional life to helping couples through providing relationship counselling and psycho-educational workshops for couples, not to mention the thousands of therapists she trained throughout her career.
The experience was extraordinary. I got to dive into the deep end and start working with real couples with real relationship issues under the close supervision of Margaret. I still remember walking into the room with my first couple feeling nervous, excited and hopeful that I could help them improve their relationship.
One of the most important lessons I learned from Margaret was the importance of getting couples to recognise how they were each contributing to the relationship problems they were experiencing. She knew that the quicker each partner could take responsibility for their part in their ‘relationship dance’, the quicker they could start to experience positive change and build a better relationship.
This is still something I educate the couples I work with as soon as we meet – that if they can each commit to doing their own work and changing themselves, the relationship therapy work will progress much quicker and they’ll have better long-term results.
This mindset shift is one of many that you will benefit from when you look at how you can change the way you relate to others.
In my latest post for Mind Body Green, I discuss another way you can transform your relationships by making one simple mindset shift.
Click the link below to read it now: