Couples Counselling in Downtown Toronto

Marriage Relationship Couples Counselling Toronto

Looking for the best couples therapy in Toronto that tailors tips, tools and insights to your relationship? Wondering how pre marital or marriage counselling can help you improve communication, reconnect and make love last?

I am Lisa M Kelly, a Registered Psychotherapist providing couples counselling in downtown Toronto. My clients are LGBT and straight, from Rosedale, Cabbagetown, the Distillery, Riverdale, Leslieville, St. Lawrence Market, Yorkville and the GTA.

Relationships suffer when couples lack the necessary skills for addressing their inevitable issues. With courage, commitment and the help of an experienced couple therapist, partners can often repair and strengthen their connection. A fulfilling love relationship takes work - the motivation of both partners to grow and change.

You might feel nervous, skeptical or perhaps hopeful about the idea of collaborating with a couples counsellor. I offer a calm, compassionate and constructive environment in which to help you get to the heart of troubling challenges and dynamics. If you would like to gain relational and communication skills key to improving the quality of your partnership and life, please email me.

Scroll down to learn more about the couples therapy process and pre marriage relationship counselling in Toronto.

couples counselling

Signs couples counselling might be best:

  • Communication challenges or repetitive arguments
  • Emotional disconnection, coexistence, separate lives
  • Opposite needs for closeness/ connection & distance/ freedom
  • Use of cell phones, social media, video games, TV, laptops
  • Criticism and complaints versus affirmation and requests
  • Conflicting priorities re: work, friends, family, interests, school
  • Couples Counselling Downtown Toronto
  • Busy or opposite work schedules, work-life imbalance
  • Different love langiages: gifts, time, touch, words, action etc.
  • Parallel monologues versus engaging dialogues
  • Lack of attunement, initiative or responsiveness
  • Disagreements over roles and responsibilities
  • Difficulty identifying and expressing emotion
  • Feeling insignificant, unheard, resentful, alone
  • Feeling inadequate, unappreciated, discouraged
  • Confusion and heartache re misunderstandings
  • Decrease of interest, effort, energy, commitment
  • Contemplation of an affair, flirtation with others
  • Cycles of blaming, interrupting, debating etc.
  • Contrasting attachment styles: anxious or avoidant
  • Long distance relationship: feeling disconnected, alone, purposeless
  • Relocation blues: far from support system, no new friends or job
  • Conflicting perceptions, values, interests, goals, approaches
  • Avoidance of or aversion to emotionally intimate discussion
  • Decision-making that fails to consider the other's feelings
  • A "me" versus "we" attitude
  • Challenges of being a stay-at-home versus an employed parent
  • Emotional unavailability, withdrawal, walling off, shutting down
  • Gay Couples Therapy Toronto
  • Anxiety, over-investing, interrogating, helicoptering
  • Marriage and babies versus a common law partnership
  • Infidelity, emotional affairs, trust issues, "sexting"
  • A passionless room-mate relationship
  • Tension over a past, current or upcoming event
  • Conflicts about an ex-partner who is still in the picture
  • All-work versus all-play; planning versus improvising
  • Challenges with parents, in-laws, ex-partners, children, dogs
  • Problems connecting since the arrival of a newborn
  • Stress re: differing incomes and spending patterns
  • Failure to prioritize a partner, the relationship, family
  • Sexual incompatibility or a lack of physical intimacy
  • Differing visions for the future
  • Preferences for holidays, vacations and down time
  • Financial, spending, money and debt problems
  • Differing faiths, cultures, languages, family values
  • Controlling, passive-aggressive or avoidant behaviours
  • Low self-esteem or self-worth of one or both partners
  • Feeling loved but not desired or desired but not loved

relationship counselling

Relationship counselling in Toronto: Why build relational and communication skills?

Research indicates that fulfilling relationships significantly improve emotional and physical well-being and that close bonds form the foundation of caring communities. However, few of us know how to create and sustain loving connection. For lack of insight and relational as well as communication skills we find emotional intimacy confusing, complex and downright painful.

We tend to enter romantic relationships idealizing our partner and believing that shared interests and values will sustain our connection over the long run. Later, when entangled in webs of misunderstanding, we realize that lasting love requires more. What to do when we realize that characteristics we once found attractive in our significant other now feel irritating? Partners stumble into each other's childhood wounds, resent that their needs are not being met, react, lapse into difficult dynamics and question compatibility.

The great news is that couples can and do improve their partnerships. But most need guidance, support and practice to develop the necessary relational and communication skills. Couples therapy and relationship counselling helps partners use their differences as opportunities for personal development, for creating a better relational dynamic and for establishing a stronger bond over the long run.

If you are married or have been with your partner for years, you may feel that a lot is on the line. Beyond your own feelings and theirs, you may worry about the impact of a break-up on your children, extended family, mutual friends, investments, home and pets. Rather than face the fallout and pain of a failed relationship, you would like to get back on track and experience the best possible connection.

marriage counselling & couples therapy

Marriage counselling:

  • Improve communication skills and emotional responsiveness
  • Discover the fears and longings underlying gridlock
  • Turn conflict into opportunities for growth and connection
  • Couples Counselling Toronto
  • Collaborate to establish an atmosphere of emotional safety
  • Express what matters most in ways that create closeness
  • Explore feelings which trigger difficult repetitive interactions
  • Replace damaging cycles with healthier relational dynamics
  • Create a shared relationship vision and bond-building routines
  • Identify gestures and comments which evoke loving feelings
  • Develop negotiation skills and make mutually satisfying agreements
  • Deepen understanding and rekindle physical intimacy
  • Engage each other with honesty, care and sensitivity
  • Identify and validate efforts and progress

Couples therapy:

    Toronto Marriage Counsellor
  • Develop communication skills which cultivate connection
  • Gain insight into reactions and relationship dynamics
  • Identify feelings, concerns and fears driving repetitive cycles
  • Recognize the attachment issues underlying the content issues
  • Replace dysfunctional patterns with actions that build closeness
  • Improve relational skills and behaviours which elicit love
  • Deepen emotional intimacy and rekindle sexual interest
  • Recognize and constructively express concerns and needs
  • Resolve solvable problems; discuss perpetual issues
  • Make requests and agreements which meet respective needs
  • Acknowledge and appreciate each other's efforts

couples communication skills

The same old argument:

Partners complain they repeatedly argue about the same things. Each tries to be heard in the best ways s/he knows how. One person might anxiously pursue with criticisms, demands and pleas. The other might withdraw, stonewall and shut down. In this dynamic, basic beliefs about oneself and about one's partner get triggered. Gaps open up and sparks sometimes fly. As long as this cycle continues, emotional intimacy is side-stepped. When communication breaks down partners feel ashamed, alone, inadequate, rejected, unloved and disconnected. They wonder whether to try harder or throw in the towel.

Couples Counselling Communication Toronto

Why communication skills matter:

Communication skills, a subset of relational skills, enable us to cultivate fulfilling connections with others. Our relationships, which often evolve out of shared interests and values, ideally provide support for personal development, allow us to heal old emotional wounds, and to experience a sense of purpose, meaning, belonging, comfort and safety in the world. As such, they can contribute greatly to our sense of well-being and quality of life. Communication skills, in and of themselves, help to untangle current misunderstandings, prevent future disagreements, and to create, deepen and sustain emotional intimacy. In short, great communication is fundamental to quality relating.

Are you looking to bridge the gaps and find some common ground? Are you hoping to be heard and heal relational wounds? Are you longing for your partner to open up? Or to offer a kind, loving response, regardless of how s/he feels? Would you like to engage one another with more honesty and tenderness or learn how to care for the space between you? Are you hoping for understanding versus a debate? Are you ready to build effective skills with which to strengthen your relationship or marriage for the years to come? If you are hoping for private, customized support with the emotional issues that fuel repetitive miscommunication, please contact me.

Communicating at your best - Couples Counselling in Toronto:

Effective communication is essential to creating and sustaining healthy partnerships. The ability to communicate well - initiating a conversation and using phrasing, tone, facial expression and body language to convey a sensitive yet clear message - fosters emotional intimacy and helps to resolve existing as well as potential disagreements. Frequently, relationships benefit when partners express more vulnerability (self-disclose) and/or become more assertive.

Interestingly, great communication is not just about speaking effectively. It's also very much about listening effectively. The ability to listen well - to offer your full attention, maintain eye contact, focus on the speaker's feelings, ask open-ended questions, request clarifying detail, repeat the words you believe you heard, acknowledge the intended message and refrain from interrupting - helps your loved one to feel heard, understood, validated and closer to you. Often when listening skills improve partners feel more connected.

Sometimes couples fear that talking about issues will lead to hurt feelings, guilt, defensiveness, conflict, disconnection and ultimately to rejection and abandonment. The truth is that when issues are avoided - rather than identified and discussed - resentment and frustration build, feelings of distrust and detachment grow, and interest in physical intimacy wanes. Why not allow a relationship therapist to coach you as well as facilitate your important conversations? Communicate at your best with the help of Toronto couples counselling.

marriage counselling in toronto

Talking tips:

  • Express your feelings using "I" (versus "we" or "you") statements.
  • Turn your complaint into a request.
  • Acknowledge your partner's feelings or point of view.
  • Check to make sure you understood your partner's words.
  • Refrain from interrupting, yelling, eye-rolling, sighing, yawning, shutting-down.
  • Acknowledge each other's repair attempts.
  • Regularly express appreciation.

Couples counselling for better communication:

Effective relational communication is multi-faceted - requiring self-awareness, honesty, courage, specific phrasing, para-phrasing, sensitivity, emotional presence, self-disclosure, permeability, responsiveness, compassionate curiosity, the ability to listen carefully while tolerating intense feelings, effective questioning, the capacity for empathy, and the use of a wide array of non-verbal modes of expression. Therefore, these skills may take some time to master. Customizing tools and exercises to each couple's unique conversational dynamics, I support partners in better understanding one another and their relational patterns. If you are looking for customized communication skills coaching, please contact me.

I encourage couples to discuss problems as they arise - to deliver messages calmly, truthfully, succinctly and with care. Specific, heartfelt messages preserve feelings of goodwill and of emotional connection. Among other important elements of relationship communication - such as active listening (involving repetition and acknowledgment of what was said) - I also encourage the use of "I" statements. That's where someone might say, "I feel x, when you say/do y." For example, "I feel disappointed when you arrive late." (Versus, "You disappoint me." Or, "You are always late.") Or, "I feel inadequate when you complain." (Versus "You complain too much." Or "You are so negative.")

LGBT Relationship Therapy in Toronto

relationship therapy

Can relationship therapy help?

Given that problems arise for every couple you might wonder whether a fulfilling connection is even possible. If you and your partner are suffering from growing pains, the idea is to get professional support before irreversible damage occurs.

The good news is that your relationship can be a source of companionship, emotional support, physical intimacy and personal growth - even over the long run. Making a few adjustments - which take each other's feelings and needs into account - is a good place to start. Making changes might take a bit of work initially. Your problems took awhile to develop. Right? So, time and committed effort might be needed to achieve sustained change.

Instead of trying to understand each other, most partners make accusations and get defensive. That's where the trouble begins. All relationships experience growing pains. The idea is to get help before irreversible damage gets done. l help couples to uncover feelings driving their interactions and reactions and then use communication skills coaching to help them transform the way they relate and connect.

Would you like to strengthen your partnership? The path to resolution, healing, hope, happiness and fulfillment begins here. Benefit from the professional facilitation that relationship therapy offers. It will likely make communicating and connecting much easier and more productive.

Best Couples Therapy Toronto

Why modern relationships are challenging:

We are in a new era. Never before in history have we expected more from our significant other. Roles are no longer clearly defined and yet a modern day partner is expected to offer what an entire community used to supply: Now, a partner is expected to be all things simultaneously - provider, companion, confidant, protector/ nurturer, sounding board, problem solver, soul-mate, financial planner, household project manager and passionate lover.

The current global context - with its higher cost of living, longer work hours, precarious employment and resulting work-life imbalance - heavily impacts our relationships. Further, our culture - which determines our value according to income, race, looks, credentials and the extent to which we produces and consumes etc. - insidiously erodes self-esteem. Various forms of oppression may compound the impacts of family of origin issues. It seems we can never quite have or be enough. Negative core beliefs and unfinished emotional business from childhood can then play out in troublesome dynamics.

Decorum, manners, emotional attunement, responsivity - so integral to quality relating - have too often been replaced by individualism and self-entitlement. While technology provides opportunities to communicate, learn and connect, we are perhaps less emotionally present to our partners than ever. When stress builds, our devices offer distraction, escape and immediate gratification.

Relationships, once fun (during courtship), become encumbered with responsibilities (paying bills, doing chores, childcare) and future plans (saving for a home or retirement). Time in which to enjoy life - either alone or together - seems to be in short supply. Through the years, differences are more glaring and partners live seemingly separate lives.

Find an experienced relationship therapist in Toronto

We often learn the most about ourselves with intimate partners. Interactions with loved ones can bring out the very best and worst in us. If the dynamic with your spouse or partner is a repeated source of pain, try working with a relationship therapist or marriage counsellor. Often a couples expert can spot problematic patterns in communication, criticism, defensiveness or withdrawal and can help partners re-connect with qualities they value in each other. If you intend to get married, consider premarital counselling.

Why relationship therapy with Lisa? because she:

  • provides a free consultation call (up to 15 minutes)
  • offers weeknight evening sessions in downtown Toronto
  • combines and customizes relationship therapy approaches
  • marriage counselling communication toronto
  • introduces relational and communication skills
  • facilitates constructive, productive conversations
  • helps you get to the heart of the matter and reconnect
  • asks thought-provoking, inspiring questions
  • supports emotional presence and responsiveness
  • collaborates with you to find mutually satisfying solutions
  • is genuinely motivated to help you make improvements
  • offers couples counselling near Riverdale, Rosedale, Cabbagetown
  • offers relatively affordable marriage counselling
  • is a Registered Psychotherapist trained in relational therapy
  • offers 2-hour focused sessions

couples therapy

Reading reviews about Toronto's best couples therapy?

You may feel uneasy about the idea of getting professional help - especially if you have never seen a counsellor or therapist before. You don't know what to expect and the idea of facing your interpersonal and communication issues may be a bit daunting. You could be feeling frustrated or ashamed that despite your best efforts you haven't been able to sort things out on your own. Further, you might fear that delving into problems may make them worse.

Alternatively, you could feel optimistic about gaining insights, improving communication skills, resolving problems and strengthening intimacy. I aim to help partners review their concerns, better understand one another's feelings, communicate more effectively and to make small specific agreements. I will ask about your goals as a couple and help you more clearly express your feelings and needs. I will also support you in becoming emotionally attuned and responsive to one another. You will have the chance to develop skills, as well as make requests and adjustments that potentially lead you to feel more comfortable and connected. The questions are: How can we work together to make your relationship better - not perfect, but better? How can you have the best possible couples therapy experience?

Couples therapy is generally productive when partners are:

Marital Couples Therapy Toronto
  • genuinely receptive to the idea of therapy
  • sincerely motivated to improve their partnership
  • interested in honing communication skills
  • willing to be honest and open
  • able to appreciate that therapy is a process vs. a quick fix
  • commited to weekly or bi-weekly sessions over 1-6 months
  • willing to consider how they contribute to "the space between"
  • willing to assume some responsibility for change
  • capable of making adjustments and collaborating
  • capable of self-control and follow-through
  • willing to apply concepts introduced in session

Lastly, for therapy to be truly productive, each partner recognizes that an investment of time, effort and money may be necessary. Skills, insights and bonding are acquired through commitment to the process. In that therapists are not magic fairies, couples therapy is not a quick, overnight, magic fix or miracle cure for relationship issues. Partners are encouraged to assume increasing responsibility - little by little - for creating a better relational dynamic. The value of therapy will be determined by specific steps couples take between sessions.

pre marriage counselling

Premarital counselling for a fulfilling marriage:

Engaged to be married? Or considering making a proposal? Marriage is a very big commitment. If you don't deal with an issue before getting married, you will deal with it once you're married. As a marriage therapist, I regularly see couples grappling with longstanding, inter-twining issues. I see them once a lot of complex damage has been done. If only they had come sooner, they say. If only they had taken the time to develop the necessary relational skills.

You have chosen a life partner. Be proactive. Gain the negotiation, intimacy and communication skills that will help you to navigate your inevitable differences. These are the skills that also help to deepen and sustain feelings of connection over the long run. Discuss your ideal future as well as issues that might undermine your relationship. I would be honoured to facilitate your very important conversations.

Questions for pre marriage counselling:

Toronto Premarital Counselling

  • What are your respective top three values?
  • What leaves you feeling loved (gifts, words, actions, touch or time)?
  • What are your respective needs for closeness and distance?
  • How are your communication skills?
  • What are your priorities - work, partner, friends, hobbies, family?
  • Are you planners or do you improvise your way?
  • Are you willing to compromise and negotiate?
  • Which relationship issues do you discuss or avoid?
  • In what ways are you responsive to or dismissive of each other's concerns?
  • How assertive are you about your concerns and hopes?
  • Do you want to have kids? If so, when? How many?
  • How much sex is enough or too much?
  • How do you feel about the use of alcohol, drugs, video games, porn?
  • Where do you want to live?
  • How will income be spent? By whom? On what?
  • Is marriage forever or is divorce an option?

Premarital therapy for pre marriage issues:

If the big day is rapidly approaching and the stress is mounting, feelings of anxiety, ambivalence or doubt may be surfacing with a vengeance. You might not know what to do or how to cope. A life-changing event is on the horizon. Invitations might have been sent out. Friends and family may have booked flights and accommodations.

Out of the blue, you and/or your fiance feel the gravity of the situation. You may be quibbling about wedding plans or your contrasting visions of the future. On the other hand, if you agree about current and future goals, you may disagree about how to achieve them. You may be contemplating big purchases and starting a family and still wonder if marriage is the best route right now.

Ambivalent feelings are at the core of every relationship. We all want a balance of security and freedom, of closeness and distance. Making things more complicated, we all have contradictory feelings about our partner. We feel both appreciation and irritation, fulfillment and disappointment, love and hate. If we deny the downsides and continue hoping for the best, we stockpile resentment. Only when we face our difficulties can we begin to make improvements. Your success as a couple will likely be determined by whether and how you choose to deal with your inevitable challenges. This is where premarital counselling is invaluable. You want difficult conversations to go as smoothly as possible - now awry. Be proactive and build a strong foundation before getting locked in.

Queer Couples Therapy Toronto

Pre marital relationship counselling can help you:

  • address your fears or concerns constructively
  • learn essential relational and communication skills
  • explore questions that are vital to the health of your relationship
  • resolve issues that threaten to undermine your marriage
  • generate solutions and next steps that meet your respective needs
  • engage each other with honesty, care and sensitivity

LGBT couples counselling

LGBTQ - queer couples therapy in Toronto

Perhaps you and your partner are having difficulties and are considering working with a professional. As a lesbian, gay or bisexual person, you might feel particularly uncomfortable discussing your interpersonal issues with family, friends, colleagues or with members of your religious or cultural communities. Alternatively, you might feel quite safe in being out.

Regardless, you may have exhausted your own resources for improving your marriage or partnership. You are now looking for fresh perspectives and insight from someone - a counsellor - with no vested interests. I would be happy to help you clarify issues, improve communication and connect better. My queer couples therapy Toronto office is in Cabbagetown next door to the LGBTQ village.

Gay Couples Therapy

Hoping to gain insight and connect?

Self-awareness, courage, sensitivity and communication skills are key to healthy relating and take time to develop. If you would like to better understand your partner, improve the quality of your interactions and feel more connected, allow me to help. I can facilitate a constructive, meaningful and moving conversation.

Is it in your best interests to contact a couples therapist?

The sooner you speak with a couples therapist, the better. Why? Because you will likely get to the heart of the matter, as well as gain the insights and skills needed to make improvements before it’s too late. You have invested your time, energy and care. Now invest in developing the relational skills which support the health of your partnership for the long run. Why end things with your current partner just to face similar issues with someone else in the future?

Toronto Couples Counselling Downtown

Unresolved relationship issues:

  • leave you feeling sad, inadequate, unloved, angry, powerless and alone
  • fuel more arguments, stone-walling, stress, unhealthy habits and affairs
  • put your marriage, family, health, job performance and investments at risk
  • negatively impact others who care about you and your partner

Searching for gay couples counselling in Toronto?

With your courage and commitment to the couples counselling process, you and your partner will likely communicate more effectively and feel more engaged. Clients have said that their sessions not only gave them ways to reconnect but also to create and sustain a deeper bond for the long run.

Many couples report that their initial 2 hour session relieved some tension and opened the lines of communication.
Developing new skills and changing the way you relate - like playing an instrument or a sport - takes consistent time and effort. If you are hoping for lasting change, I would suggest doing 4-10 sessions. Know that your relationship will likely reap the rewards of the effort you invest.

benefits of couples counselling

benefits of marriage counselling

Contact a marriage counsellor in Toronto.

Partners wonder if their issues could actually benefit from professional facilitation. They wonder if books and videos about relationships might be more practical or cost effective. They consult mom, dad, other family members, friends, colleagues and even their dogs.

Marital counsellors - unlike other resources and well-intentioned people - can spot, understand and help to resolve issues such as communication problems, emotional triggers and recurrent dysfunctional dynamics. They can help you get to the heart of the matter as well as customize suggestions to your unique interactions.

In healthy marriages, partners answer "yes" to:

  • Can I count on you?
  • marriage counselling in downtown toronto
  • Are you attuned to me?
  • Do I matter to you?
  • Do you appreciate me?
  • Do you cherish me?
  • Do I come first for you?
  • If I need you, will you be there?

Keys to creating loving connection:

  • Show up physically; be there
  • Tune in; give your partner your full attention
  • Listen with and speak from your heart
  • Say and do little things that matter to your loved one
  • Spend time together doing things you really enjoy

Did you know that emotional attunement and responsiveness are key determinants of healthy marriages? Are you and your partner attuned to one another? Do you respond to each other's feelings and needs with loving concern? Are you taking an active interest in each other's life and growth? Do you regulalry nurture the space between you? After ruptures, do you acknowledge your respective attempts at repair? If not, you may be stuck in patterns which are eroding your connection.

Every interaction offers the opportunity to connect or to turn away. Couples counsellors help partners: 1) recognize the circumstances, assumptions, feelings and behaviours which ultimately lead to disconnection and 2) improve communication and relational skills that help couples reach, respond, repair and reconnect.

10 benefits of relationship counselling

the benefits of relationship counselling toronto

A relationship therapist or counsellor can help you to:

  • improve listening and communication skills
  • express your feelings, needs and concerns constructively
  • be heard and understood
  • learn about your partner's inner world
  • experience a sense of hope and connection
  • see your partnership in a wider context
  • better understand your relationship dynamics
  • shift out of dysfunctional patterns
  • identify and use your strengths as a couple
  • reconnect and sustain connection
  • gain skills useful in other areas of your life

Meet regularly for relationship counselling to:

  • practice and fine tune new ways of relating and communicating
  • deal with any evolving or new issues
  • address ongoing unresolved issues
  • Gay Couples Counselling in Toronto
  • envision your future and establish bonding activities

couples and marriage counselling

Trying to find an exceptional couples counsellor?

The GTA is fortunate to be home to many of Canada's leading couples, premarital and marriage counsellors as well as relationship counsellors, therapists and coaches. With so many experts to choose from, you may feel overwhelmed.

Looking for excellent marriage counselling in Toronto?

When looking for the best marriage counselling in Toronto keep several things in mind. Firstly, "best" is subjectively defined. What do you and your partner believe makes for exceptional relationship counselling? Secondly, research indicates successful outcomes are reported when clients feel rapport with their counsellor. Do you feel comfortable, accepted, understood and respected when speaking with the marriage counsellor? Can s/he customize his or her knowledge, training, education and experience to your needs as they arise? Will you gain insights, tips, tools, strategies and communication skills with which to improve your interactions?

Although all couples experience relational challenges and common dysfunctional interactions, every couple's dynamic is unique. Find a responsive professional who can equip and empower you to connect meaningfully over the long run.

relationship issues therapy

If you are interested in couples counselling but your partner isn't...

Relationship Issues Toronto

Perhaps your partner is not open to the idea of working with a couples counsellor. Understandably, you may feel discouraged. However, it's possible to develop skills and make changes on your own - changes that might improve your communication, interactions and sense of well-being.

Maybe you have something important to say but your message hasn't been getting through. Adjustments to your delivery or phrasing could greatly improve your chances of being heard.

Sometimes we look for approval from our partner when we first need to approve of ourselves. We become outwardly pleasing yet inwardly resentful. Fearing conflict, rejection and abandonment, we often avoid discussing our true feelings and needs.

It could be that you secretly dislike some things your partner says and does. Maybe your partner is unwilling or unable to change despite promises to the contrary. S/he might seem distant and dismissive. Or on the other end - suffocating, critical or over-bearing. What to do? You contemplate leaving but feel plagued with ambivalence. That ambivalence is worth exploring before making a move.

Whatever the case, individual counselling for interpersonal problems can be helpful. Reflecting on how you got to where you are at can be eye-opening and help you to have more self-compassion around the decisions you've made. Identifying exactly what you would like for yourself in a best case scenario is also essential to moving forward.

Please click the following link for more information about relationship issues therapy for individuals.

relationship issues counselling toronto

8 powerful relationship tips:

Relationship counselling tips:

  • Notice: Knowing how you feel is the first step. That’s right. Get really specific. How do you feel when your partner says or does something you don’t like? Discouraged? Rejected? Hurt? Betrayed? Once you are aware of how you feel, ask yourself what you need. Do you want to talk about your feelings? Do you want to set a boundary? What do you want?

  • Listen: Though you may think your partner does not communicate well, try to listen for how s/he feels. Listen with your heart. Get curious. Repeat their words back to them to make sure you understand. For example, “When I didn't thank you, you felt unappreciated. Is that right?” Acknowledge your partner’s feelings and take responsibility where warranted: “Now that I think about it, I see how you could feel unappreciated.”

  • Express: Focus on talking about how you feel. Make “I” statements and speak from your heart. “I felt hurt and disrespected when you came half an hour late tonight, with no text and no apology.”

  • Ask: Unfortunately, your partner cannot read your mind. So ask for what you want. “Could you text me next time you’re running late? That way, I won’t be waiting outside in the cold. I’d really appreciate that.” Or “Could you hold me? I love it when you do.”

  • Adapt: Realize one person can’t or shouldn't meet ALL of your needs. Sure, ask for what you want. But know you may not get all you ask for. Your partner may not cook every night, but might be willing to cook half the time. Can you live with that? Is your partner balancing your needs with theirs?

  • Accept: Differentiate solvable from perpetual problems. Agree to disagree about irreconcilable differences, yet hear each other's feelings, experiences and perspectives. Maybe your partner is Muslim and you are Catholic. Neither of you wants to convert and you deeply love one another. So be it. Focus on the positives while acknowledging the challenges.

  • Prioritize: Set aside quality time for talking about your feelings, dreams, fears and hopes and for doing things you both enjoy. Offer your full attention and frequently compliment and thank one another. Regular emotional and physical intimacy help to keep that spark alive. Arrange time to connect in a physical way. Don't let daily routines erode the quality of your connection.

  • Maintain: Have dinner out once a week. (No shopping, cooking, clean-up or yelling.) Consider this your relationship maintenance date. It’s your chance to check in with your partner – to find out how you’re doing as a couple and to ask what needs to be done differently. Yes, talk about hurt feelings as they arise, rather than allow them to fester into resentments.

Toronto Couples Therapist

couples and relational styles

How do you and your partner relate? How do you bond, interact and react?

Ever noticed you and your partner seem to be caught up in a repetitive dynamic where each of you plays an opposite role - such as planner-improviser, parent-child, cat-mouse, boss-employee, cop-criminal? How do the roles you play reinforce your partner's role/s? Repetitive dynamics often have a lot to do with different attachment styles.

What are your respective attachment styles? Anxious? Avoidant? Secure? We all need separateness and closeness, autonomy and connection. Some of us come out of childhood - because of what we didn't get - needing more connection, protection and safety. Meanwhile, others of us come out of childhood - because of what we got too much of - needing more space, freedom and boundaries. Frequently, difficult dynamics evolve when one partner is avoidant and the other anxious.

What are your philosophies? "You do your thing. I do mine?" Or "It's us against the world?"

What are your love languages? Gifts, words of affirmation, acts of service, physical touch or quality time?

How do you connect? Spiritually, intellectually, sexually, emotionally or physically - through shared activities?

pre-marital counselling in toronto

10 keys to a healthy marriage

Premarital counsellors and marriage counsellors:
Help for relationship issues in downtown Toronto.

Consider that approximately 50 percent of marriages end in divorce. And that currently married couples are not necessarily connecting well. Factors that lead to separation are sometimes out of a couple's control. At the same time, other factors - those which lead to marital satisfaction - are often within their control. Did you know that it's possible to make many small changes over time which will likely lead to greater fulfillment from the life you share? The following factors are key:

  • Communication: Happily married couples tend to talk to each other more often and share important information about themselves. They are more responsive to one another's feelings and needs; they make requests rather than blame or criticize; they negotiate and compromise around their differences; they are receptive to each other's repair attempts.

  • Attitude: A cooperative attitude, where both partners try to collaborate and compromise is ideal. That means each person balances their own needs with those of their partner. Spouses maintain positive yet realistic personal and marital expectations: The couple accept that about 30% of problems can be resolved, 50-60% can be modified, and that 10-20% are perpetual, yet need to be acknowledged and discussed.

  • Personality: Personality is one of the most important factors. Traits like emotional stability, self-awareness, assertiveness, self-control, responsibility, positive self-image, and optimism correlate with good marriage health.

  • Effort: Couples who set boundaries around their relationship do well. They prioritize quality time together, listen to and look at each other, talk about their feelings, compliment one another, express appreciation, kiss hello and good-bye, hold hands, give little gifts and make loving gestures. This is how they support one another and keep their special connection alive.

  • Roles: Clear, specific agreements and follow-through around housework, parental and work roles are critical to relationship health.

  • Common interests and values: Partners with shared interests are more likely to do things together, bond, and develop greater understanding and empathy for each other.

  • Positive motivation: Those who marry out of genuine understanding and caring have better success than those who marry just to please parents and peers, or to escape a floundering or lonely life.

  • Length of pre marriage relationship: Generally, the longer a couple dates before marrying, the more likely their partnership will be a success. Those who have known each other or been involved for over one year are more likely to stay together and feel satisfied.

  • Childhood and parents: A person who had a happy or "secure" childhood is more likely to be happily married. If a couple's parents were happily married, they are more likely to be happy and less likely to divorce. Of course those who come from dysfunctional families can still establish healthy and successful bonds, but probably with a bit more effort.

  • Age: In general, those who marry when older have better marital stability. For example, those who marry at 20 years or older have marriages that last twice as long as those who marry under age 20.

codependent or overly adaptive in your relationships?

Overly adaptive? Love dependent?

Is the degree to which you adapt to your partner self-detrimental?
Signs you may be overly-adaptive or suffering from a self-love deficit:

codependency Toronto

  • You keep investing in someone who is not motivated to change in ways you wish.
  • You maintain the relationship by conforming to your partner's wishes.
  • Your self-worth or identity is determined by your partner's view of you.
  • You consistently give to your partner at expense of your well-being.
  • Instead of growing together you deteriorate together.
  • You feel excruciatingly alone without your partner's attention.
  • You hide your vulnerability, grief, shame and resentment.
  • You stay with someone who dismisses, minimizes or is unresponsive to your needs.
  • You feel devalued by your partner and in turn under value yourself.
  • The personal cost of compromise to maintain your partnership feels too high.
  • You are not able to find fulfillment external to your life with your partner.
  • You feel ashamed and embarrassed about what's really going on with your partner.
  • You spend less time doing things you enjoy so that you can keep an eye on your partner..
  • You increasingly adopt responsibilities your partner has relinquished.
  • You parent, direct or coddle your partner.

Review your concerns with a relationship therapist.

At times, we overly adapt to particular people. Some research indicates that people who have parents who emotionally abused or neglected them in childhood are more likely to overly adapt to their partners. Neglected and abused children often learn to subvert their own needs to please a difficult parent. This beginning sets them up for a long-standing pattern of trying to get love and care from someone who is emotionally unattuned, unavailable and or unresponsive.

Marital Therapy for Codependence

Dysfunctional families do not acknowledge that problems exist. They don't talk about or address problems. As a result, family members learn to repress emotions and disregard their own needs. They become "survivors" who develop behaviours that help them minimize, deny or avoid difficult emotions. They detach and become self-sufficient. They don't discuss each other's feelings, needs, fears or impact. They don't make requests or trust. The emotional development of members of dysfunctional families is often thwarted.

If you are overly adaptive with your partner, breaking up isn't necessarily the ideal or only solution. You might begin to: set boundaries, honour your bottom lines and create a fulfilling life outside of your relationship: 1) Spend time with people who value you, hear you and who are responsive to your feelings and 2) develop and pursue your own interests. You might also reflect on ways you see and respond to yourself - finding ways to become more self-loving. Consider working with a therapist when making any of these changes.

couples counseling downtown:

affordable couples therapy

Relationship counseling in downtown Toronto

What are the costs of NOT getting relationship counseling?

  • More time and energy wasted having the same old arguments?
  • Emotional pain that leaves you distracted at work and sleepless at night?
  • Unsolicited advice from family and friends that leaves you feeling judged?
  • Grief for your shattered future dreams?
  • Legal fees and moving costs?

Toronto couples counseling ~ fees:

You may find the following hourly counseling fees relatively affordable. Consider what you will do when your $500-$1000 worth of insurance has been exhausted and your relationship or marriage is still in need of support. For how long could you afford to pay the higher hourly rates of counseling psychologists versus those of other professionals which are usually significantly lower in cost?

2.0 hours: $270 ($135/ hour)
marriage counseling in toronto

Fees include HST.
Sessions are available weekday days and evenings.

Counseling for couples in downtown Toronto

free consultation by phone (up to 15 mins)

Get in touch. I would be happy to answer your questions.
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couples therapy reviews:

Reviews: Toronto's best-rated couples therapy and couples counselling

When reading comments about the city's leading couples therapists, bear in mind that clients who find couple therapy helpful will not tend to write unsolicited reviews. This is because they are understandably protective of their privacy. If you are looking for the "best couple therapy," try to define what those words mean to you. You and your partner might have different (subjective) ideas about what constitutes "best." The decision of whom to see usually comes down to factors such as cost, location, rapport, availability, experience, word of mouth referrals etc. I believe that most couples therapists have something of value to offer - even if their approaches differ widely. Successful outcomes are more likely when: 1) couples engage in and commit to the process - meaning attend for a series of sessions and 2) partners feel comfortable with their therapist.

Couples Counselling Toronto Reviews

Determine what "best" means to you. Ask yourself:

  • What specifically do I want from couple counselling?
  • What does my ideal partnership look like?
  • What is important to me in a good marriage therapist?
  • Does the relationship counsellor offer a free consultation call?
  • Do I feel a sense of connection or rapport with the professional?
  • Does the psychotherapist have experience working with couples?

Spelled the American way - Couples Counseling, Marriage Counseling, Relationship Counseling and Premarital Counseling in Toronto: downtown Toronto, Cabbagetown, Rosedale, Riverdale, Yorkville, the Distillery, St. Lawrence Market, Leslieville, the GTA.

I provide relationship counseling for partners who are:

married, engaged, separated, common-law, dating, straight, same-sex, mixed-culture, mixed-age, long distance lovers, mature, young, retired, professionals, students, Aboriginal, Black, new Canadians and Canadians who also identify as Asian, African, Persian, South Asian, West Indian, South American, Russian, Italian, Mexican, European, two-spirited, queer, bi-sexual, gay, lesbian, LGBT, together two weeks to 60 years..

If you are hoping to clear up misunderstandings, build communication skills, be heard, learn how your partner feels, reconnect and improve your relational dynamic, contact me. I would love to help you create meaningful change and deepen your bond. Now is the time to begin.

Couples Communication Toronto

couples communication coaching:

Relationship counselling - customized communication:

Most couples struggle with communication. Whether their dynamic involves long silences or bouts of friction, misunderstandings and reflexive blaming are the norm. Misunderstandings are rarely just a matter of phrasing or word choice gone awry. More often disagreements evolve out of unfinished emotional business and unmet attachment needs. Tension is also fueled non-verbally - with looks of disdain, disinterest or indifference. A dismissive tone here, a yawn there etc. Couple therapists can arrest communication breakdown and intervene with customized support. Get private, customized coaching.



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