The Prepare/Enrich structure is a fantastic framework to do couple counselling in. The painful issues that couples may be living with become very clear and detailed, so the therapist can confidently lead the couple through what ordinarily might be a minefield.
If a couple can come to a session with just a glimmer of hope and trust in themselves, then the marriage does stand a chance. Couple counselling can work to turn things around.
Joseph Campbell said, ---- "People do not realise what marriage is. They think it is a long love affair and it is not. Marriage is an ordeal. It has nothing to do with being happy. It has to do with being transformed".
Even though this statement sounds tough there is so much truth to it. In most marriages the honeymoon phase will end after about a year. The chemicals that make us lovesick stop, they have done their job in getting us together, --- now it is up to us to be "transformed".
It is a beautiful thing to see nature at work in bringing people together. With each marriage I perform I see it --- such exquisite coupling of universal energies. There are the desires, the hopes, the needs and the dreams. It is truly perfection in the moment. But the moment changes, it always changes! Gradually our individual makeups and conditioning will come to the fore. Well and good where the conditioning harmonises and gels with our partner, but there will always be discord. Understanding and working through the discord is where couple counselling comes into its own. The process brings with it awareness and then an opportunity to expand our learning envelope. As Joseph Campbell has said, "To be transformed".
All of the therapy work that I do is informed by my Buddhist Practice. The long years of dedicated meditation and practice on the Buddha's path to peace, has been like a lifelong relationship or "marriage" with myself. I can tell you that a lot of what I have seen in myself has not been pretty! In Buddhist meditation we use the Buddha's noble eight fold path of practice to develop morality and goodness which leads to good meditation and mindfulness which then leads to the prize of wisdom. It is always an ongoing pursuit.
A marriage relationship is very similar. When things go wrong we need to develop awareness into what is happening. When this perspective is developed, it only then that we can work to make a pathway back to happy and contented ground. It goes without saying that as we do this work, we are helping everyone around us by modelling mature and sane behaviour. Where children are involved, it is really beneficial for them to see our good relationships in action. It provides a conditioning for them that will be positive all through their lives.
You can see a film on You Tube about the Prepare-Enrich process I use here:
Counselling is meaningful and can be Fun!
In my view there is nothing more meaningful for us to do in the world, but this type of work. If it comes naturally and you do not need any help or guidance to do it, I say well done. However it remains true that most of us will need some extra help to learn and develop the skills required to live happily and harmoniously in this modern life. Life can be hard and daunting. Life can also be easy and fun. Despite the travails I have always approached my work, both in meditation practice and marriage as fun. It is fun! Learning about the world is wonderful --- that is "full of wonder". The universe is mysterious and compelling. We experience the beauty and awe along with the knowledge that the truth is present in every moment. Our existence in this world means we can approach this truth and really understand it. Relationships are vehicles that can help us develop this perspective. Personally I believe this is why evolution has worked to make us fall in love. What Fun!
Do I need Marriage Counselling?
Marriage counselling always works best if people come to it freely with some hope and expectation. However it does not always have to be this way. Often people who may be coerced into coming do well with it too. It's all about expanding your personal learning envelope.
When you realise there is a problem with your relationship there are three things you can do:
1. Ignore it and hope it will go away.
2. Break up and leave the relationship
3. Find help to develop your skills to make your relationship happy again.
The first option may work if the problems are not too deep seated. The second option may be the right choice depending on why you are leaving. We all know however that many couples break up only to find the same or similar issues, perhaps in a different guise, in the next relationship they form. The third choice acknowledges that we are not necessarily all born with the skills needed to live a happy and contented life in relationship. It also displays a level of courage hope and commitment that will automatically empower you.
Why Choose Dennis Sheppard as your Counsellor.
I have had many years' experience in working with people, especially using the Prepare/Enrich format. This inventory is very good at identifying the heart of both the good things that are happening in your relationship and the areas that need work.
My presence, informed by many years of Buddhist meditation practice will offer a safe meeting ground for both parties to explore the issues they need to explore.
Fees and Costs
The first session will cost $100 including the administration charge from Prepare /Enrich and will involve an initial consultation and completion of the inventory.
Subsequent Feedback and Counselling sessions are charged at $120 and last around 1hour.
Usually 3 sessions are required to canvass the range of issues addressed in the inventory.
Further sessions may be required at everyone's discretion.