Are you worried that your relationship isn’t going the way you hoped it would? Are you feeling more disconnected from your partner during COVID-19? Have you tried everything with your partner but he (or she) just doesn’t seem to get it or change? Is your relationship always feeling like a struggle?
If you feel less connected to your partner, if you feel stuck or find that the intimacy with your partner has been lost, then you may benefit from couples therapy with me.
Marital therapy (aka couples counselling) is designed to increase communication with your partner and help the two of you reconnect once again. It is also designed to recreate a vision of how the two of you can be together long-term.
Learning to communicate with your partner, comfort each other, as well as get your own needs met is key to long-term success in any relationship.
If your arguments and discussions never seem to go anywhere, if you are feeling frustrated or uncertain about your future together then it’s time to get your relationship back on track with couples counselling.
Couples in this stage, fight, attack and emotionally ramp up very quickly. Or they may actively ignore their partner for days on end. They don’t feel emotionally safe, nor feel like they can open up and share their concerns with their partner.
Couples are quicker to use sarcasm, deflection, anger and blame to express their discontent. In some cases, this can also include occasional hitting, pushing and slapping (with no pattern of domestic violence).
While the couple may be in a lot of pain, they typically won’t express it that way. However, in this stage couples often feel very hurt and discouraged about their situation as things never seem to change.
Key Indicator of Success: High Motivation to Change
Couples in this stage tend to come in and say they still love their partner but are no longer feeling the spark and excitement they once felt. There may be a noticeable decrease is sexual intimacy, communication or just feeling distant. They still work well together but aren’t necessarily feeling super happy with their current relationship situation.
This group has typically tried several things on their own which haven’t worked out so they are now seeking professional advice. Couples in this group have often been together for quite sometime (e.g., three to ten years) but priorities like work, raising their kids, and life in general have gotten in the way of them focusing on their relationship.
The success rate of this group is much higher as couples are already seeking to love and understand their partner more as well as themselves.
Partner’s Needs: Vulnerability, Truthfulness, Feeling Heard, and Being Present for Them
Key Indicator of Success: Open to Learning and Trying New Things
Couples in this stage have already moved mostly through the first two stages of relationship healing either by themselves or with my help. They are actively practicing self-love and self-care and truly appreciate and get excited when their partner is around.
Long-term success at this stage requires both partners to begin to focus much more on simply being themselves and sharing their dreams, thoughts and goals with their partner.
They have a personal identity that is both separate from their partner’s and a part of it. They feel very comfortable and open around each other, expressing their vulnerabilities and hurts with honesty and candor. Their partner actively loves and supports them.
Partner’s Needs: Genuineness, Transparency, Playfulness and Love
Key Indicator of Success: A Desire for Increased Joy and Contentment
All couples will have a foot or a hand in all three stages, but their overall tendency will be to remain in one of the three.
As all couples are unique, Heron doesn’t use a linear approach to counselling to help couples heal and reconnect. The 3-Stage Model is simply a guide to help you get a sense of where you might be at and how you might move forward with your partner. If you’re interested in more, book in for a free consultation with Heron today.
Heron Free, M.Ed., is a counselling therapist, relationship intelligence expert, and family life educator.
Heron has helped clients with marriage and relationship issues, life stress, anxiety and depression for over 20 years in his private practice. His specialty is love-based relationships, and how you can better access them, and bring them more fully into your life. He is a master therapist in integrative couples psychotherapy and has worked with thousands of clients, and hundreds of couples during his 20 year practice.
Heron is the author: The Relationship Code and has appeared on Global TV News and Shaw TV as an expert in the fields of relationship intelligence and life stress.
He obtained his Master of Education in Counseling Psychology at McGill University in 1996. He also holds a Post-Graduate Diploma in Human Relations and Family Life Education, and a Bachelors of Arts in Psychology from the University of Calgary in Canada.
I truly enjoyed working with Heron as he provided clear guidance and useful thoughts that improved my quality of life. I felt safe to open up and enjoyed his unique perspectives that I continue to use daily. If you are looking for life or career guidance, I would highly recommend seeing Heron.
Heron has made me a more positive and spiritual person, and I will continue to seek his wisdom.
Heron is amazing! He helped me so much on my journey of self improvement. He’s friendly and so easy to talk to. Even from my intial consult I realized how much he could help me. I would recommend Heron Free to anyone seeking and sort of counseling on relationships to self improvement. Highly recommend
It is hard to find words that describe someone who helped you change your life. Four years ago I left an abusive relationship to only find myself being stalked by the very person I was trying to leave. After a year of enduring this, a friend of mine asked me if I wanted to go to a seminar about loving relationships, I had plans but for some reason they fell through, and I ended up going. I would say to date, this was one of the best “by chance” things to have happened to me. When I started going to Heron for therapy things had become so upside down in my life, I didn't know left from right, I had no reality aside from what was happening to me. It is hard to break down what stalking does to you, though in short, it takes away any sense of security and safety you have. There were times I couldn't leave my home and I would cry from frustration, that there was nothing I could do to help myself leave. Heron helped me to see things from a better place, a place where happiness and the good in this world derive. I'm still not quite sure how he does it, though his honest and genuine approach to helping people is a part of who he is, he is one that has found his calling so to speak. It has been almost a year since I have spoke with Heron, however, I always reflect on the things he taught me because now they are a part of me, of my thoughts and the way I choose to be. Regardless of what your struggles in life may be, Heron is one therapist that will show you the true potential YOU have to overcome anything.