A guide to love: compatibility of love languages?

The need to feel loved is a primary human emotional need and fulfills our desire to find intimacy with a person that we are compatible with. This creates a sense of belonging and harmony in a relationship.

The word love is ubiquitous in our society. We use the word to describe our deep affection towards someone (e.g. partner, spouse), animals (e.g., dogs, cats) and even objects (e.g., flowers, nature). We even use love to rationalize our behavior or actions, like doing something out of love for someone. As love may be expressed in many forms, some more visible than others, how do we communicate love in a way that others would want to receive?

man talking to woman feeling upset

The New York Times bestseller “The Five Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts” features Dr. Gary Chapman’s theory of the five love languages as a tool to guide how one might want to receive affection from our partners.

According to Chapman (1992), there are five primary ways where people may speak and understand love or emotions. These five love languages include: words of affirmation (encouraging messages and validating feedback), quality time (spending time engaged together in shared activities), gifts (tokens of affection), acts of service (helping with completing important tasks) and physical touch (physical intimacy from holding hands to intercourse). Most people tend to have one or two preferred love languages and use this to improve relationship satisfaction.

Although Chapman’s theory of the five love language has gained popularity across the globe, there has been a lack of scientific evidence supporting the notion that having compatible or matching love languages promotes relationship satisfaction. A 2017 study found that having a partner with similar love languages, that is being able to provide and receive love in the same way one would do so, did not in fact improve relationship satisfaction (Bunt & Hazelwood, 2017).

Instead, it was only if partners could change their modes of affection to suit their partner’s different love language, which improved relationship satisfaction.

This research sheds light on the common misuse of the five love languages. Rather than a self-focused way of discovering one’s affection needs or finding a compatible partner, Chapman invented these five love languages as a tool to learn about others’ love languages and modifying one’s behaviour to suit the others’ affection needs. This is supported by a recent study where partners who perceived that their significant others were using their preferred love language well reported greater love and relationship satisfaction (Hughes & Camden, 2020).

photography of man wearing white t shirt kissing a woman while holding bicycle on river dock during sunset

Regardless of whether partners’ love languages are matched or mismatched, partners are incompatible when they are unwilling to understand and respond to their significant other’s needs. Thus, instead of using the five love languages solely as a way to tell your partner what you want, it serves as a helpful guide to improve relationships by making your partner feel loved. By understanding your partner’s needs, you can communicate the love you are trying to make your partner feel and express it in a way that is the most receptive by your partner.

References:

Chapman, G. (1992). The five love languages: How to express heartfelt commitment to your mate. Chicago: Northfield Publishing.

Bunt, S., & Hazelwood, Z. J. (2017). Walking the walk, talking the talk: Love languages, self‐regulation, and relationship satisfaction. Personal Relationships24(2), 280-290.

Hughes, J. L., & Camden, A. A. (2020). Using Chapman’s Five Love Languages Theory to Predict Love and Relationship Satisfaction. Psi Chi Journal of Psychological Research25.

Mental Toughness Therapy in Singapore

In our every day lives it is believed that for any person to be successful what matters most is their level of intelligence, talent and even luck. But various studies shows that intelligence and talent play only a small part in predicting a person’s achievement or success in life. The major role is played by what is call ‘grit’ or ‘mental toughness’. People who can keep themselves focused and are continuously pushing themselves to achieve long term goals despite all the setbacks are said to be mentally tough.

In our life, we our confronted with unexpected challenges. Some people can handle those challenges well, but some people feel overwhelmed by them. Handling failures and bouncing back by adapting to the circumstances is one of the main characteristics of a mentally tough person.

Our certified counselors and psychologists in Singapore are able to help you develop mentally tough and resilient disposition through sheer hard work, self-exploration, therapy and coaching. It can be tremendously helpful to be resilient and tough in the modern day world.

Affordable Therapy for Mental Toughness in Singapore

Mental toughness can be defined as the ability to stay strong and to keep oneself focus and determined despite of all the difficulties and adversities. A research study states that a mentally tough individual sees challenging and adverse situation as an opportunity and not threat and he takes them in his stride positively and confidently (Strycharczyk, 2015).

According to Turner (2017), the four traits that in combination can be a key to success are the 4C’s, which are:

  • Control- extent to which a person is in control of his circumstances.
  • Commitment- extent to which person can go to set and then achieve his goals.
  • Challenge – extent to which a person sees every challenge as an opportunity and accept risks related to it.
  • Confidence- extent to which a person believes in his abilities and capabilities.

We live in a demanding world which is unpredictable, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous. When events like pandemic comes into our life, we must adapt ourselves to it for a prolonged period in ways we may not like. This adaptability tells us whether we thrive, survive, or succumb to such circumstances. Mentally tough individuals tend to have fewer negative emotions in stressful situations and shows more coping skills. Based on this Huddersfield research study cited that mental toughness has potentially helped people during pandemic. They have put conscious effort to work towards eliminating the habits that gets in the way of their natural strength and resilience.

We tend to look up to people who are successful and have accomplished something in life. We forget that we all possess mental toughness, just to different degrees. Habits that people with lesser degree of mental toughness possess and needs to be worked upon for better functioning and coping skills are:

  • Negative thinking- feeling helpless, out of control when faced with a problem instead of problem solving. They worry and ruminate over things.
  • Punishing themselves to motivate- negative self-talk, self-judgement and criticizing oneself.
  • Focusing on outcomes rather than growth- valuing your self-worth and handing over the control of your identity on external circumstances.
  • Not making time for yourself- not understanding your thoughts, emotions, and feelings which in turn effect their long-term goals.

The rise in suicide cases among youth of Singapore is a concerning topic especially in times of Pandemic. Our focus is always on the detection and diagnosis of mental illnesses instead on precautionary measures that can be taken to prevent it. Building resilience in younger generation should be our priority. This can help them to withstand, prepare and face adversities in their lives. In our culture, we emphasise a lot on success overlooking mental health as a cost of it. Still, most of the people think as having mental health issues as a sign of weakness. This shows that its even more important to teach them about mental health and especially resilience and mental toughness so that they can help themselves and are more prepared to teach the same to their younger generation.

The topic of nature vs nurture has always been debatable. When applied to metal toughness, we can say that for some people it comes quite naturally where genes play a role, but this is something that can also be learned and strengthened over time (Lin et al, 2017). This is where mental toughness counselling is beneficial.  It guides a person by learning to change his emotions by changing his thoughts. Feeling and behaviours that motivate us to move forward the obstacles are acknowledged and evaluated. This can help us achieve peak performance in various areas of life. Developing this skill is not about eliminating weakness but learning how to deal with it and overcome it. When we focus on the right things then we can become worthy of facing life’s biggest challenges.

Some of the warning signs of lack of mental toughness and resilient:

  • Losing one’s temper on minor events
  • Easily getting irritated.
  • Inflexibility to adapting to other person’s ideas
  • Expressing anger in an aggressive manner like violence or raising voice
  • Easily discouraged
  • Fear
  • Lack of motivation
  • Difficulty maintaining determination
  • Not completing project
  • Easily discouraged
  • Laziness
  • General negativity

Several research studies have explored the effectiveness of therapies for develop toughness and resilient, especially using methods such as behavioral activation, exposure response training, and Neurolingustic Programming (NLP), among other methods.

Types of Mental Toughness Problems

Chronic Giving Up

Individuals who struggles chronically in giving up when faced with adversity shows strong signs for lack of mental toughness.  When faced with challenges, the individual would feel that they prefer to give up or not try; as opposed to facing the hardship of taking on the challenge.

Lack Energy and Determination

People with passive anger may have difficulty expressing their feelings of anger and instead subtly expresses these negative feelings through their behaviours instead of handling them directly. An individual may not even be aware that he or she is feeling angry. Instead, the anger gets misdirected as sarcasm, spite, or apathy towards the person or situation that they are angry about.

For example, a girlfriend may be feeling upset over something her boyfriend did earlier in the day. Instead of addressing the emotion, she may simply reply with “I’m fine” even though she feels quite the contrary. She may also become increasingly spiteful and act out in ways that sabotage the relationship such as ignoring his texts or not speaking to him. 

Aggressive Anger

Individuals who experience aggressive anger express anger in unhealthy or destructive ways. Some unhealthy or destructive ways of expressing anger include using aggression, violent tendencies, abusive language, passive-aggressive behaviour, and retaliatory actions. At times, individuals who exhibit aggressive anger may also experience ‘rage’, which is a full-on, uncontrollable expression of anger.

Individuals with aggressive anger may not experience anger easily, but when they do, it is usually an unpleasant experience for the people around them.

Intermittent Explosive Disorder (IED)

Intermittent Explosive Disorder (IED) is the most severe type of the anger management problem among all.

An individual is diagnosed with IED when he or she experiences sudden episodes of aggressive or violent behaviour that are marked by episodes of unwarranted threat or danger. Individuals with IED may experience verbal or physical aggression towards people or things, twice a week (on average) for a period of at least three months.

IED is a serious problem as it may result in harm to others or the destruction of property.

Impact And Consequences of Anger Management Problems

Anger management problems can have negative consequences on both the individual and the others around. Chronic anger may lead to health problems such as frequent headaches, digestive problems, fatigue, or increased risk of heart disease. It can also lead to other mental disorders such as depression and anxiety.

If not managed properly, anger management problems can exert detrimental impacts on relationships at home and at work. Thus, it is important for us to learn how to control our anger effectively.

Anger Management Treatment and Therapy in Singapore

When you seek professional help for anger management in Singapore, your treatment is likely to consist of the following techniques and strategies. These strategies are likely to work hand in hand in forming a comprehensive treatment plan to help you experience and express your anger in healthier ways.

Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy

Cognitive-behavioural therapy is a structured therapy approach based on the idea that our thoughts, emotions, and behaviours are interconnected. The process of cognitive-behavioural therapy helps individuals identify their triggers towards anger, which are specific situations in which they frequently experience anger.

The therapist and client will then work together to explore and change the thoughts and emotions that are associated with these situations. Through the process, cognitive-behavioural therapy helps the client to identify inaccurate, negative thought patterns that drive their feelings of anger, and reinterpret them with more appropriate and healthy thoughts to manage their negative emotions.

Relaxation Techniques

Simple relaxation techniques such as breathing exercises and visual imagery can help individuals to calm themselves down when they are feeling angry. The practice and implementation of relaxation techniques complement cognitive-behavioural therapy in the treatment of anger management issues.

Stress Inoculation Training

Stress Inoculation Training is a form of psychotherapy method that helps individuals prepare themselves in advance to handle stressful events successfully. This structured form of therapy may include muscle relaxation, breathing exercises, cognitive restructuring, problem-solving, socialization skills, and guided self-dialogue that helps the individual cope better with the challenging events that they may face in their everyday lives.

Improving Communication Skills

Good communication is key to anger management as it reduces emotional hurt, misunderstandings, and conflict. Assertive communication skills help us to express ourselves better and clearly convey our wants, needs, and feelings to others without offending them or having to walk away with unmet expectations. Responding assertively with statements like “I” instead of aggressively with statements like “You”, may be more effective in getting your message across.

Get Help Now

Before it gets worst, let us help you process and validate your feelings, identify triggers, stressors, past grievances, and contributing factors that may have put you in distress leading to your anger. We will explore effective coping skills, and anger management skills or solutions that will help you excel better to meet your daily life demands and responsibilities effectively.


This article uses material from WebMD and other useful references for anxiety disorder. The article is for use of reference and information only, for specific diagnoses and treatment, please reach out to our licensed and/or certified professionals.

Hypnosis and Hypnotherapy

Clinical hypnosis is less mysterious than it is effective.

Overview

Hypnotherapy is a term used to represent a technique that utilizes hypnosis as a tool to achieve state of focused awareness and concentration with the help of clinical hypnotherapist. To throw some more clarity on this aspect, we can refer to the statement of an expert hypnotherapist Diane Zimberoff, who says “we can compare our unconscious mind to a computer’s file system.

Our certified and experienced clinical hypnotherapist are genuinely interested to help you improve your life situation and manage your struggles to provide clarity, peace, and happiness.

Hypnotherapy refers to a technique where an individual is guided by a clinical hypnotherapist into a trance-like state to achieve a state of focused awareness and concentration. Expert hypnotherapist, Diane Zimberoff, compares our subconscious mind to a computer’s hard drive system where we store each emotion, thought, and experience we have had.

Issues we can help with:
  • ADHD
  • Addiction
  • Alcohol Use
  • Anger Management
  • Antisocial Personality
  • Anxiety
  • Behavioural Issues
  • Bereavement
  • Career Guidance
  • Child or Adolescent
  • Codependency
  • Coping Skills
  • Depression
  • Domestic Abuse
  • Domestic Violence
  • Emotional Disturbance
  • Family Conflict
  • Gambling
  • Hoarding
  • Infidelity
  • Internet Addiction
  • Life Coaching
  • Life Transitions
  • Men’s Issues
  • Obsessive-Compulsive (OCD)
  • Parenting
  • Peer Relationships
  • Racial Identity
  • Relationship Issues
  • School Issues
  • Self Esteem
  • Sex Therapy
  • Sexual Addiction
  • Spirituality
  • Stress
  • Testing and Evaluation
  • Transgender
  • Video Game Addiction
  • Weight Loss

Affordable hypnosis and hypnotherapy service

What is Hypnotherapy?

Hypnotherapy helps healing as a natural, powerful and quick intervention for a wide range of conditions, including pain, anxiety, and mood disorders. It helps to break free from old problems, habits and phobias. Clinical Hypnotherapy is endorsed by international psychological associations like American Psychological Association

Hypnotherapy uses hypnosis as a tool and can be useful for changing behaviours (e.g., quit smoking, adopt healthy exercise habits), reducing chronic and acute pain (e.g., childbirth), and alleviating mental conditions such as anxiety and mood disorders. Clinical Hypnotherapy is endorsed by international psychological associations like American Psychological Association

It is especially noteworthy to mention that Hypnotherapy helps

  • To experience rapid change and effective results
  • To bridge our conscious and subconscious mind
  • To relax deeply and communicate directly with the subconscious
  • To open new perspectives leading to changes

Why You Need it?

Stress impacts you both physically and mentally, affecting your health adversely. You may be experiencing work or emotional stress. If you are experiencing any of these stress symptoms, then they could be the warning signs you shouldn’t ignore:

Stress impacts you both at the physical and mental level, and this could affect your health adversely. You may experience work or emotional stress. However, stress may be experienced in the form of symptoms such as:

  • Anxiety
  • Exam Anxiety
  • Stress Management
  • Fears and Phobias
  • Insomnia
  • Quit Habits like Smoking
  • Sexual Dysfunction
  • Confidence Building
  • Positive Self-esteem
  • Exam Nerves
  • Performance Anxiety
  • Public Speaking Fears
  • Visualisation
  • Physical ailments including Pain Management

If you are experiencing these symptoms, it is highly recommended you seek interventions for stress.

There is no magic in hypnotherapy, rather a calming effect.

How can Rogerian Psychology Singapore Help You?

Hypnosis can offer long-lasting desired changes because it talks directly to our subconscious mind. With hypnotherapy, our conscious and unconscious are able to agree with each other’s viewpoints. As a result, the changes reflected are multifold. In the hands of a trained hypnotherapist, it is safe and empowering. Insightful in singapore can help you work on your issues as mentioned above like fears, phobias, self-empowerment, coping with anxiety, breaking a habit, quitting to smoke, with our trained clinical hypnotherapist.

Hypnosis is the process of shifting back and forth between the conscious and the subconscious mind. Studies show that humans experience this shifting between 80-90% of the day. The Conscious Mind helps us to process our daily activities, thinking, problem-solving, and communication. Surprisingly, the conscious mind takes up only 10% of the total capacity of the mind. The remaining 90% of our mind is taken up by the subconscious. The subconscious controls all the activities that the conscious mind is largely unaware of. Our subconscious mind is likened to our hard drive which stores data files in our computer (conscious mind). This hard drive consists of single experiences, thoughts and emotions that are not easily accessed by the conscious mind. Instead, the conscious mind only contains current information, but is very limited in tracing back information from the hard drive. 

Our unconscious is like our hard drive, where we store every experience, emotion and thought we have had. In a relaxed-hyper focused state of hypnosis, under the guidance of hypnotherapist, we can run a google search on our unconscious, pulling up repressed memories and buried emotions at the root of our mental health challenges”.

In a relaxed-hyper focused state of hypnosis, we can run a search engine like Google on our subconscious mind, revealing repressed memories and buried emotions at the root of our mental health challenges. We can also identify patterns that have developed which are key areas to target change. These could be related to unhealthy behaviours like smoking, overeating and excessive drinking. With the guidance of a certified hypnotherapist, our client can join us on an internal search through the archives of the subconscious mind to trace back the experiences and subconscious decisions that were made in the past that have led to these unhealthy behaviours. This can help discover subconscious patterns that trigger the development of poor behaviours and effectively change them.

Hypnosis can be explained as a trance like state in which a person’s attention is detached from his immediate environment and is absorbed by inner experiences such as feelings, cognition, and imagery. A hypnotic reality is created by the therapist and the client by use and acceptance of suggestion. A study conducted by American Psychiatry Association 2005, showed that every living being experienced the state of hypnosis in one way or the other. Day dreaming is considered a way of experiencing light trance. There are two more levels of experiencing trance, medium and deep level trance. In medium level trance the person feels as if he has fallen asleep, but he is still awake.Hypnosis can be explained as a trance-like state in which a person’s attention is detached from his immediate environment and is absorbed by inner experiences such as feelings, thoughts, and imagery. A hypnotic reality is created by the therapist and the client by giving them suggestions that may or may not achieve desired results. A study conducted by the American Psychiatry Association in 2005, showed that humans experience the state of hypnosis in one way or the other. There are three levels of experience trance. The first, light trance, can consist of daydreaming. In medium level trance, the person feels as if he has fallen asleep, but he is still awake. In deep level trance, the mind and body is totally relaxed and the mind is “blank” with no thoughts. This state is most effective for introducing suggestions. 

Some of the characteristics of medium level trance are:

  • Body sinking into the chair.
  • Relaxed jaws
  • Flattened facial features.
  • Eye catalepsy
  • Heaviness in limbs

Deep trance or somnambulistic state can be characterized by:

  • Amnesia
  • Out of body feeling (depersonalization)
  • Hallucination
  • Full anaesthesia to the extent that the person can get surgery performed without any pain.

Medium trance is the most effective state for hypnotherapy.

Every client who undergoes hypnosis need not necessarily feel the same way or experience the trance phenomenon in a similar  manner. Some people may feel dramatic results while others may just feel relaxed. Some of the effects that people may feel are:

  • Awareness

Some clients can recall everything and can even have a conversation under hypnosis. They are fully aware during the entire experience. Other clients experience a deep state of relaxation to the extent that they feel detached from what is happening.

  • Focus

Under hypnosis the client may hear surrounding noises, but it does not interfere with the focus on the problem or the challenge the client wants to deal with.

Under hypnosis, the client may be aware of the surrounding environment and noises, but it does not interfere with their focus on the problem or challenge that the client wants to deal with.

  • Relaxation

The client conscious mind is not active which in turn leads to the activation of unconscious mind. This makes him calmer and therefore more receptive to facing their problems or fears. (Jensen et al 2005, 2015)

The client’s subconscious mind overrides the conscious mind. This makes him calmer and therefore more receptive to facing their problems or fears. (Jensen et al 2005, 2015)

The hypnotic trance is a tool to solve various mental and physical problems. Research suggests that some possible applications include (Hauser et al, 2016)

  • Accessing the mind-body link to relieve  chronic pain and acute pain, including during childbirth and surgery.
  • Effective for irritable bowel syndrome and dermatological conditions
  • Helping people quit smoking and deal with eating disorders by suggesting healthier behaviours.
  • Diving deep into the subconscious to treat mental health issues like depression, anxiety, PTSD, and addiction.

In 2009 an article in health psychology (vol.28 No.3), Montgomery and colleagues reported a study which found that a combination of hypnotherapy and cognitive behavioural therapy could reduce fatigue for breast cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy. Montgomery further says, “hypnosis helps patient to reduce their distress and have positive expectations about the outcome of surgery”.The acceptance of hypnosis as a mode of treatment in field of mental health and medicine is increasing because of methodical and empirical work of many research pioneers.

An article published in the Health Psychology Journal (vol.28 No.3) in 2009 featured Montgomery and colleagues who reported a study which found that a combination of hypnotherapy and cognitive behavioural therapy effectively reduced fatigue in breast cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy. Hypnosis also helped reduce distress among patients and develop positive expectations about the outcome of surgery. The increasing acceptance of hypnosis as a mode of treatment in the field of mental health and medicine has been mainly attributed to the success of methodical and empirical work of many research pioneers.

How can Hypnosis or Hypnotherapy be helpful?

Moving away from the pop-mumbo jumbo about hypnosis or hypnotherapy, the clinical applications for hypnosis is useful for smoking cessation, pain management, stress and anxiety management, addiction? To know more about how hypnotherapy can be helpful, reach out to us for a free 15 minute consultation!

Hypnosis has useful clinical applications for changing unhealthy behaviours (i.e., smoking cessation, alcohol management, addiction), pain management, stress, and anxiety management. To know more about how hypnotherapy can be helpful, reach out to us for a free 15 minute consultation!

Sarah-El Low

Sarah-El Low graduated with a Masters (MSc) with distinction in Health Psychology in 2001. She is also a member of the British Psychological Society (BPS) and Singapore Psychological Society (SPS). She also has a Diploma in Human Nutrition, and Certification as a Consultant in Weight Management. She is specially trained in managing the body-mind connection, behavioural medicine for chronic diseases and health related issues, therapy for children, and elderly (with their caregivers), weight management, stress management, therapy and prevention for depression, anxiety, family and relationship issues. As a health psychologist, she practices a unique combination of psychological therapies and food nutrition and/or supplementation to help with various conditions.

She is also a Certified Master Practitioner for Hypnotherapy, NeuroLinguist Programming (NLP), and TimeLine Therapy (TLT), endorsed by the American Board of Hypnotherapy, NLP and TLT.. Her treatment plan is highly customised, according to the unique needs of the individuals.

She was formerly a psychologist in the Health Promotion Board; specialised in therapy with children and teens (with their parents) in the Student Health Center (SHC) for weight management and various behavioural and psychological issues. She was also involved in the watershed project, where her team revamped the Trim-And-Fit (TAF – 2003) Club to the current school-based physical education programme today. In addition, she was also involved in the counseling and management of pregnant teenagers (under 16 years old). Under the special projects department in HPB, she conducted training, organised events, developed programmes, and undertook various frontline projects, one of which was research work for SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome – 2003), had first-hand information and data on SARS, and researched on the psychological effects of the outbreak.

To know more about what Sarah-El can help you with, reach out to us for more information.

A typical hypnotherapy session will last between 1 to 2 hours.


This article uses material from WebMD and other useful references for migrant issues. The article is for use of reference and information only, for specific diagnoses and treatment, please reach out to our licensed and/or certified professionals.

Migrant Counselling

Migrants face unique challenges and have less support system

Overview

The world of globalization and growing economy has led to change in social and economic conditions throughout the world which has contributed to the rise in transnational workers. In Singapore migrant workers comprises of about one fifth of residents’ population and forms a vital component of the workforce. Primarily they work in construction, manufacturing, construction, and as domestic help. These workers face various stressors that somehow act as a barrier to adjust into the new environment. This makes them prone to mental health conditions, at the same time lack of mental health education is further leading them towards crisis.

Our certified counsellors and psychologist are experienced in assisting and empathizing migrants. We are fully aware of the unique struggles and challenges experienced within the migrant community, and we are able to provide solutions.

Affordable help for any migrant specific concerns in Singapore

A study by Singapore Management University in 2015 stated that 62% of migrant workers met the screening criteria for serious mental illnesses. Some of the factors that affect their mental health are as follow:

  • Poor living conditions
  • Threat of deportation
  • Separation from their families
  • Financial insecurity
  • Language and cultural barriers

These factors not always but sometimes can lead to illnesses:

  • Depression- poor concentration, somatization
  • Anger outbursts
  • Anxiety
  • Alcohol or substance abuse
  • Poor sleep
  • Post traumatic disorder
  • Psychosis

Mental distress has even more been exacerbated since past months due to Covid-19 amongst workers. They have become fearful about their health and job as well as inaccessible health care services. Another potential adverse effect on the mental health of these workers was the prolonged period of isolation with limited social interaction. In a study conducted by Yale-NUS, 2020 surveying 1011 migrant workers, it was found out that complete movement restrictions we associated with increased Depression and stress while diagnosing with COVID-19 was associated with increased anxiety.

Migrants are often overlooked by local communities.

Most of the migrant workers do not seek help for mental health issues as this concept seems foreign to them. Workers who approach health care workers are for their physical symptoms like headaches, palpitation, sinking of heart without knowing that they are suffering from mental health issues. It is difficult for them to identify what they are feeling and how they can get help. Culturally also they are considered as men who are sturdy and hard so they cannot come in terms with the fact that they are not able to handle stress. This factor further contributes for them to not seek help regarding their mental health.

Counselling can act as giving psychological first aid to the workers by giving them emotional support as well as practical help. It creates a safe space for them to explore their present problems by feeling more stable and assess what has happened or what is happening with them.

Get Help Now!

It’s never easy to seek help! But reach out to us for us to best help at support you. We understand cost is always an issue. If you are a migrant or an organization that represents migrants working in Singapore, we want you to know that we got your back! Session fees are kept at a maximum of $20 or FREE. Reach out to us for more information!


This article uses material from WebMD and other useful references for migrant issues. The article is for use of reference and information only, for specific diagnoses and treatment, please reach out to our licensed and/or certified professionals.

LGBTQ Counselling Singapore

what is LGBTQ counselling
LGBTQ unique challenges would benefit from our professionals

Overview

One’s identity is crucial to how we live and how we are loved as we are. As part of the LGBTQ community, conflict within one’s self and social identity can lead to increased stress, discrimination and poor self-esteem. These concerns can be a serious impediment to their well-being, especially their mental health. More factors like age, religion, ethnicity and where they live can further add to the list of stressors.

Our certified counsellors and psychologist are experienced in assisting and empathizing individuals with LGBTQ alignment. We are fully aware of the unique struggles and challenges experienced within the LGBTQ community, and we are able to provide solutions.

Affordable Counselling For Any LGBTQ Specific Concerns

Research shows that people of the LGBTQ experience higher rates of mental health challenges than the general population (Fergusson et al, 1999). A recent study found that LGBTQ+ people used mental health services 2.5 times more than non-LGBTQ+ people (Platt et al., 2018). However, they are also at particular risk for experiencing anxiety, fear, shame, discrimination, and adverse and traumatic events. Their gender identity is a form of expression of themselves and being validated for who they are positively impacts their mental health. However, not many are able to embrace or recognize these differences and this often leads individuals in the LGBTQ+ community to feel stigmatized in society.

People who are part of the LGBTQ+ community experience a unique set of challenges that they must cope with. Some of these challenges are:

  • Sexual identity issues or difficulty in accepting sexual orientation.
  • Coping with other people’s reaction to their sexuality.
  • Facing Gender Dysphoria (gender identity and expression is not the same as the gender assigned at birth).
  • Transitioning.
  • Low self-esteem.
  • Self-harm and suicidal thoughts
  • Coping with bullying and discrimination.
  • Isolation and rejection from family or loved ones
  • Coming out

​These issues can affect all aspects of life, primarily their relationships and career choices which can take a toll on their health and wellbeing. LGBTQ children and youth require juggling different perceptions about their identity, sense of self, safety, connection with others and health in school. For adolescents’ identity development becomes even more essential during this developmental phase and experiencing rejection may be detrimental.

affordable counselling for any LGBTQ specific concerns
Relationship struggles may be compounded by personal and social dysphoria.

A 2015 report by the United States Centre of Disease Control and Prevention states that gay and bisexuals’ youth are four times likely to have attempted suicide in the past year than their straight classmates.

Having support in life is extremely important to lead a healthy life. LGBTQ individuals often feel isolated and are afraid to seek counselling because of their constant struggle of being accepted. The main aim of counselling is to create a safe and non-judgemental environment for LGBTQ+ individuals to support their sexual identity exploration and identification. LGBT counselling can help them relieve stress by creating an empathetic environment for them to feel safe as they come out and transition towards their genuine self. Challenges that they go through in their coming out process can also be worked through therapy.

Get Help Now!

Affirmative counselling plays a crucial part about truly validating an identity while understanding the reality of being minority, help building coping skills, helping the client to connect with affirming communities and making connections. It also facilitates the clients to empower them in their relationships and other facets of their lives while honouring the struggles that they face as a community. Counsellors and therapists also handle their anxiety, depression by finding increased self-acceptance, handle family relationships and deal with career complications. Therapy can act as a tool in their journey for good mental health.


This article uses material from WebMD and other useful references for LGBTQ issues. The article is for use of reference and information only, for specific diagnoses and treatment, please reach out to our licensed and/or certified professionals.

Cyberwellness Counselling Singapore

Cyberwellness is a common concern today.

Overview

In today’s technology age, internet use is highly prevalent in our everyday lives. With high -speed connection and easy accessibility, the internet permeates the way we function at work, school and even in entertainment (i.e., social media, gaming). As we become more dependent on technology, excessive internet use can be a common issue today. In 2020, Singapore has the 3rd highest internet penetration rate in Southeast Asia (Statista, 2021). With higher internet usage, this brings the need for cyber wellness which refers to the positive well-being of internet users.

In this new era of technology and internet, it is here to stay and progress further. But as human beings we are becoming more and more dependent on technology. The change that internet is bringing into our lives can sometimes become overwhelming. Cyber wellness is a pressing issue these days. Cyber wellness refers to the positive wellbeing of internet users.

Affordable Counselling for Cyberwellness Issues Singapore

Affordable help for your cyber wellness issues

We need to understand the potential risks of harmful online behaviour and ways to protect ourselves from such behaviours. We need to learn skills that can help us create a positive climate and be responsible for our actions on the internet.

We need to understand the risk involving harmful online behaviour and ways to protect ourselves from such behaviours. The three main principles on which cyber wellness operates are:

The three main principles of cyber wellness are:

  • Respect for self and others
  • Safe and responsible use
  • Positive peer influence

Cyber wellness issues may concern both children, youth, and adults with the younger groups at higher risk of these consequences:

In Singapore, a Global DQ Report in 2018 showed that children spend 35-45 hours weekly on their digital services. This gives more reason for parents to be aware of their children’s online activity. 43% of children were polled as victims of cyber bullying in Singapore. This effects adult also as much as it effects children. Most of the victims are not able to come forward out of fear and this results in adverse effect on their self-esteem to the extent that they may start experiencing social anxiety, depression and can even have suicidal ideation.

Mostly the cases related to children are highlighted but it is as much problem for adults as it is for children. Issues that can hinder cyber wellness are:

Overcoming cyber addiction is another main component of cyber wellness. This can be classified under different names like gaming addiction, phone addiction or internet addiction. This cannot be just indicated by counting the number of hours spending on some form of digital device as these days for most of the people, its their work requirement. Some sign and symptoms that can assess the negative impact are:

  • Internet crimes
  • Social media exploitation
  • Privacy violation
  • Internet addiction
  • Identity theft
  • Cyber bullying
  • Malicious software
  • Number of hours spent on cyber activities are affecting one’s real-life commitments.
  • One’s physical health is getting effected.
  • One’s emotional health is getting effected.
  • The people around us are getting effected.

In Singapore, an annual survey on Info communications Usage in 2019 found that about 80% of children aged 7 years or less have used the internet. This percentage increased to 99% for those aged 14 and under. A Global DQ Report in 2018 also showed that children spend 35-45 hours weekly on their digital services. Given that children are highly exposed to technology, they are at risk of being cyber bullying victims. About 43% of children in Singapore were polled as victims of cyber bullying. As such, parents need to be more aware to monitor their children’s online activity. It is important that cyber bullying victims tackle this problem early as it may have adverse effects on self-esteem and other mental health issues such as social anxiety, depression and can even have suicidal ideation.

These symptoms can further affect us by triggering insomnia, Depression, Anxiety, poor anger management or poor grades/work performance.

Unfortunately, cutting us off from internet and digital devices is not a realistic option. But it is important to look out for signs and symptoms around us if someone is getting effected in their cyber space. Counselling programmes targeted at cyber related crimes are also considered beneficial. The exposure and engagement with internet brings its own risk however we should always keep in mind that help is available and many support channels are there to acknowledge it.

Gaming without structure is a risk factor to poor cyberwellness practice.

Cyber wellness also involves overcoming cyber addiction. Cyber addiction can involve excessive use over gaming, phone, or the internet. Excessive use may be indicated not just by the total number of hours spent in a day as people may also engage their devices for work purposes. Some characteristics of cyber addiction may be:

  • Spending a significant number of hours spent on cyber activities outside of work or school
  • Unable to control or limit usage even if they tried to
  • Cyber activities interfere with completion of day-to-day activities (i.e., work, important decisions, socialising) resulting in poor work/school performance
  • Physical health affected (i.e., insomnia, vision problems, body aches)
  • Emotional health affected (i.e., sudden changes in mood, aggressive behaviour, irritability)
  • Relationships get impacted as cyber activities take up more time than that spent on spending quality time with important others

Although these consequences are detrimental, simply cutting off from the internet and digital devices is not a realistic option. Instead, counselling programmes targeted at cyber well-being may be beneficial to helping us manage cybercrimes. Counselling may offer us the following skills to help us cope with cyber-related issues:

  • Cope with problematic psychological content
  • Cognitive behavioural therapy to manage negative thoughts about ourselves on the internet
  • Improve self-esteem
  • Learn effective ways to deal with negative comments or behaviours
  • Emotion regulation

Get Help Now

Before it gets worst, let us help you process and validate your cyberwellness concerns and possible trigger factors that contributes to your cyberwellness challenges. We will explore effective coping skills, communication skills, addiction management as well as mediating the various miscommunication or misunderstanding that will help you excel better in your life to handle expectations or responsibilities effectively.

Before it gets worst, let us help you process and validate your feelings, identify triggers, stressors, and contributing factors that may have put you in distress leading to you engaging in your behaviour that influence your cyberwellness. We will explore effective coping skills, stress and behavioural management skills or solutions that will help you excel better to meet your daily life demands and responsibilities effectively.


This article uses material from WebMD and other useful references for cyberwellness issues. The article is for use of reference and information only, for specific diagnoses and treatment, please reach out to our licensed and/or certified professionals.

Addiction Counselling

Addiction can be a form of escape, and habitual behaviour.

Overview

Addiction is a deep-rooted disease which causes malfunction of the brain’s reward circuit. Addiction can come in the form of alcohol addiction, gambling addiction, gaming addiction, drug addiction, sex addiction, or the likes. Approximately 60 percent of addiction sufferers have probably inherited the disorder genetically (National Institute of Drug Abuse,2010) whereas other people may have damaged their reward system by overusing it. A modern understanding of addiction is that, with chemical dependency like drugs or alcohol, it also includes a range of highly stimulating behaviour which can be potentially addictive.

Affordable help for your addiction issues

People with addiction seek to reinforce their blunted reward feeling by seeking out substances or behaviours that will increase pleasurable feelings. It is a chronic condition (American Society of Addiction Medicine, 2011) which means that it lingers, and symptoms will return if not treated. Neural pathways get effected involving the neurotransmitter dopamine.

There are three distinct ways that this shows itself:

  • Craving for the object of addiction
  • Loss of control regarding its use
  • Ongoing involvement with the object despite adverse consequences

Both substance use and addictive behaviours such as gaming addiction, gambling addiction, and sex addiction have an increased likelihood of being accompanied by mental conditions such as depression and anxiety or other pre-existing problems.

Social media addiction is a real thing to be concerned about.

Addiction Epidemiology

It is not necessary that everyone who uses drugs or indulge in certain behaviours like gambling or gaming becomes addicted to it. Some factors that may raise the chances of addiction are:

  • Family History: if your parents or siblings have had this problem then you are more likely to get it as well.
  • Early drug use: taking drugs or indulging in certain behaviours at an early age make you more likely to get addicted when you grow older
  • Mental Disorders: people going through Anxiety or Depression have higher chance or getting addicted. A history of trauma also can have a significant effect on this.
  • Troubled relationships: growing up in troubled family and not having close bond with parents or siblings can raise the chances of addiction.

A study conducted by Singapore Mental Health 2016 cited that alcohol abusers are seeking help and recovering within an average or four years as compared to thirteen years in 2010. But at the same time about 2 in 3 Singaporeans admit that they have a social networking or internet addiction. Therefore, treatment of such addictions need not just tackling the physical manifestation but emotional as well. Counselling plays a vital role in the recovery process by improving motivation, learning skills to avoid relapse and involving social support into treatment.

Therapy for Addiction

Addiction treatment requires collaboration of the addict, the families, and the therapist. A Dialectical Behavioural Therapy approach and behavioural activation methods are useful ways to combat addictive behaviours.

Get Help Now

Before it gets worst, let us help you process and validate your feelings, identify triggers, stressors, and contributing factors that may have put you in distress leading to you engaging in your addictive behaviours. We will explore effective coping skills, stress and behavioural management skills or solutions that will help you excel better to meet your daily life demands and responsibilities effectively.


This article uses material from WebMD and other useful references for addiction issues. The article is for use of reference and information only, for specific diagnoses and treatment, please reach out to our licensed and/or certified professionals.

Parenting Counselling Singapore

Parenting is an art and there are no perfect parents.

Overview

Family bonds are one of the strongest connections humans tend to make. Developing healthy relationships and spending quality time between a parent and a child not only strengthen family bonds but it also provides a sense of belonging and security for the family. Strong family bonds are crucial to improving behaviour in children, academic performance and communication skills between parent and child. Parenting can be full of joy, meaning, and satisfaction but at the same time, it can also come with struggles, uncertainties, and challenges from raising a child.

The entire journey is a daunting one as each stage of upbringing from new-born stage to toddler, and to teenager stage is different and requires different responsibilities. Parents are not only responsible for their physical, emotional, and financial needs but are also responsible for honing their children’s skills in areas such as communication, social interaction, appropriate behaviour, and life skills.

The strongest connection humans tend to make is the one between them and their families. A healthy partnership between a parent and a child is one thing that every family thrives for. Parenting can be full of joy, fulfilment, and satisfaction but at the same time it also comes with uncertainties, insecurities, and general uneasiness about the whole journey.  This journey of a parent from a new born to toddler to teenager, each stage in itself is a learning curve for every parent. They are not only responsible for their physical, emotional, and financial needs but are also responsible for developing their children’s life skills like social skills, daily living skills and appropriate behaviour.

Affordable Counselling for Parenting Concerns Singapore

Each child is unique with their own temperament and personality. Since there is no “one size fits all” method, this may leave parents feeling overwhelmed over the varying opinions and advice about parenting. Differing information and knowledge may in turn lead to difficulty in managing a problematic issue with their child. There are some common issues that parents face with their children which may impact their day-to-day lives depending upon the development stage of their child, temperament, environment, etc.

Each child is unique with his own temperament and there is no fix manual to raise a child. This makes parents feel overwhelmed sometimes which can in turn lead to difficulty in managing a problematic situation with their child. There are few common issues that parents face which can be manifested in their lives in many forms depending upon the development stage of child, temperament, environment, etc.

These issues can be:

  • Temper tantrums
  • Aggression or violent attitude
  • Sibling rivalry
  • Power struggle with the child
  • Ineffective communication with the child
  • Lack of quality time devoted to the child
  • Unrealistic expectations from child especially those with special needs.
  • Inconsistent parenting styles between parents which produces conflicting rules that makes setting up a routine difficult for children.
  • Existing mental health issues that concern parents and these issues may impact parenting
  • Relationship conflict between parents
  • Temper tantrums among children.
  • Child showing any concerning behaviour.
  • Aggression or violence at home or shown in the child.
  • Power struggle with the child.
  • Ineffective communication with the child.
  • Not able to devote enough time to your children.
  • Unrealistic expectations from your children especially children with special needs.
  • Inconsistent parenting styles which can make implementing rules and setting up routine difficult for children.
  • Parents handling their own mental health issues and other issues that impact parenting.

Parental stress levels have risen recently amidst the Covid-19 pandemic. A recent 2019 family survey conducted on 1,076 mothers in Singapore found that 60% of mothers reported stress levels of at least seven out of ten. This increased stress levels may also trigger unhealthy parenting behaviours such as being too controlling or raising their voices and blaming their child for misbehaviour. Recent research has shown that parental stress is linked with harsh parenting (i.e., caning, spanking, use of harsh words, and yelling) and weaker relationship ties between parents and children. 

The pandemic has also further contributed to the stress level of parents. In a survey carried out in Singapore in 2019 stated that 60% of mothers reported stress level of 7 or higher out of 10 which made them fiercer with their kids. Many parents have felt lonely and anxious managing their kids and work life balance. In October 2020, a nationwide survey was carried out by American Academy of Paediatrics stating that 27% of parents reported worsening of their own mental health and 14% parents reported worsening behavioural health of their children.

Patience, boundaries, and strict approach is key.

Parenting Counselling aims at providing necessary knowledge, tools, guidance, and support to parents without any judgement or biases. It comes with many benefits for both themselves and their children that parents can get by attending therapy sessions and talking to experts.

For parents:

  • Identify and manage their past experiences that may be affecting there parenting styles
  • Discuss and manage their parenting styles
  • Revaluate parental expectations
  • Improve communication skills between themselves and their children.
  • Learn and understand their children’s needs and address them
  • Identifying and managing their own past experiences that can be affecting there parenting.
  • Communicating better between themselves and their children.
  • Availability of resources in the community that can be helpful to them.

For children:

  • Better emotion regulation
  • Manage tantrums and behavioural issues
  • Judgement free and safe space to process their emotions
  • Educate them on how to express feelings in an effective way.
  • Better managing their emotions and tantrums.
  • Judgement free and safe space to process their emotions.
  • Expressing the feelings in an effective way.
  • Managing behavioural issues.

Counselling can take place with single or both parents. There is no one “best” method for parenting. Therapy helps to remove this pressure and provides different parenting styles and tools to manage their children’s behaviours.

Counselling can occur with single or both the parents. There is no such thing as a perfect parent and therapy help us to remove that pressure from our mind and just works towards being the best parent one can be.

Get Help Now

Before it gets worst, let us help you process and validate your parenting concerns and possible trigger factors that contributes to your parenting challenges. We will explore effective coping skills, communication skills, parenting management as well as mediating the various miscommunication or misunderstanding that will help you excel better in your life to handle expectations or responsibilities effectively.


This article uses material from WebMD and other useful references for parenting issues. The article is for use of reference and information only, for specific diagnoses and treatment, please reach out to our licensed and/or certified professionals.

Trauma Counselling Singapore

Traumatic experiences can be crippling and rob you of life.

Overview

Every human being goes through experiences in life that leave a mark. As joyful and happy moment shape us, similarly experiences related to trauma or traumatic events affect us, probably in a more powerful way. Trauma is a physical, emotional, and psychological response to a deeply disturbing, distressing, or disempowering situation from which person cannot escape or mobilise himself. Every person has a different response to a traumatic event. There are no objective criteria to evaluate which event will cause post traumatic symptoms.

Affordable help for your trauma, PTSD or grief

Sometimes the circumstances involving loss of control, betrayal, abuse of power, helplessness, pain, confusion, or loss may lead to trauma. The events need not only arise from war, natural disaster, or personal assault to affect a person profoundly or alter their experiences. It is very subjective, and is defined more by its response than by its trigger.

It takes around 4-6 weeks to move past the initial shock of the event. After those responses to the event may vary, some of the common responses include:

  • Repeated memories of the event or flashbacks
  • Nightmares
  • Intense fear that the traumatic event will recur.
  • Avoiding places, objects or people that are reminders of the event
  • Withdrawal and isolation from day-to-day activities.
  • Loss of interest in enjoyable activities
  • Mood changes
  • Irritability
  • Avoidance of reminders of the event.
  • Anger
  • Denial
  • Anxiety
  • Sleep problems
  • Self-harm

People experiencing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) can feel anxious years after the traumatic event has occurred. When the symptoms last more than a month and affect person’s ability to function then the person maybe suffering from PTSD. Sometimes the symptoms of PTSD can escalate to panic attacks, depression, suicidal thoughts, substance abuse or feeling of being isolated and not being able to complete daily tasks.

Emotional or physical battery may result in trauma

Trauma Epidemiology

The National Institute of Mental Health estimated lifetime prevalence of PTSD to be 6.8% in United States. The severity and rapid spread of Coronavirus has also had a significant effect on the psychological wellbeing. A study was conducted in Singapore related the impact of COVID-19 on mental health of General Practitioner resulting in 8.9% meeting the criteria for diagnosis of PTSD (Lum A et al. BJGP Open 2021).

Research indicates that children are also equally vulnerable to trauma. They also experience heightened state of stress during a traumatic event, and this can effect a child long term emotional development, mental health, physical health and behaviour. Childhood trauma can result from anything that disrupts his sense of security and some of these indicators can be:

  • Unstable or unsafe environment
  • Separation from parent
  • Domestic violence
  • Sexual, physical, or verbal abuse
  • Neglect

Counselling can provide a ground presence to the person experiencing trauma to explore their trauma by feeling safe, listened to, and held. A person can prevent going on a downward spiral through professional help.

Treatment for PTSD:

  • Cognitive Behavioural therapy (CBT). CBT focuses on one’s thoughts, feelings and behaviours and encourages changes in these negative patterns (e.g., negative beliefs about yourself) that lead to PTSD symptoms. 
  • Exposure therapy. Exposure therapy guides you safely to confront both situations and thoughts that are related to the traumatic event. This helps to cope with them effectively and can be particularly helpful for flashbacks and nightmares.
  • Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR). EMDR combines exposure therapy with a range of eye movement exercises guided by the therapist that helps you process traumatic memories and change how you react to them.

Get Help Now

Before it gets worst, let us help you process and validate your feelings, identify triggers, stressors, and contributing factors that may have put you in distress leading to the Traumatic experiences. We will explore effective coping skills, stress, trauma and anxiety management skills or solutions that will help you excel better to meet your daily life demands and responsibilities effectively.


This article uses material from WebMD and other useful references for trauma, PTSD or grief related issues. The article is for use of reference and information only, for specific diagnoses and treatment, please reach out to our licensed and/or certified professionals.

Marriage & Relationship Counselling For Couples in Singapore

what is relationship and couples counselling
Misunderstanding happens often in relationship

Overview

Marriage or any intimate relationship is like an empty box. It must be filled before we can start to take it out. Both parties involved in the relationship must put in love, trust, a habit of giving, praising, and making some adjustments to keep the box full. If we start to take out more than we are putting in, then the box will be empty. Emotional, physical, and sexual intimacy is the core of any such bond.

Marriage and relationship counselling provides couples with the opportunity to rediscover each other’s needs and concerns in an effective way. If you and your partner feel that you need help communicating or solving a problem, talk to us to overcome your relationship differences and succeed as a couple.

Affordable Couple Counselling  For Your Marriage Or Relationship Issues

Marriage and Couples Counseling

Marriage counselling, also known as couples counselling, relationship counselling, or couples therapy, is a form of therapy that supports people in intimate relationships. Therapy may be helpful for partners considering separation or seeking to improve communication, intimacy and conflict resolution. While the relationship itself is the focus in marital counselling, each partner is expected to pay attention to self-improvement and self-awareness.

FINDING THE RIGHT COUPLES & RELATIONSHIP THERAPIST

It can be helpful to consider whether the marriage counsellor is a good fit for both partners before scheduling a couple’s therapy session. It is important to choose a marriage counsellor who:

  • Has been certified and trained to offer couples counselling
  • Has experience in dealing with the couple’s specific issues
  • Works with the couple to develop a therapy plan
  • Shows compassion to both partners
  • Maintains neutral and unbiased perspectives
  • Mediates the conversation to prevent one partner from interrupting the other
  • Maintains control of each session   
  • Is easily accessible
  • Encourages feedback from the couple to see if they are comfortable with the services offered
finding the right couples & relationship therapist
Photo by Monstera on Pexels.com

APPROACHES TO COUPLES & RELATIONSHIP COUNSELING

Approaches and techniques used in couples therapy can vary depending on the training of the marriage counsellor and the issues experienced by the couple seeking treatment. Some common therapeutic approaches in couples counselling include:

  • Imago relationship therapy creates a safe environment for partners to share their experiences and remove negative beliefs or communication in the relationship
  • Emotionally focused therapy aims to increase mindfulness about one’s and the partner’s emotions and learn to redirect them to more constructive behaviours. This helps to create new, positive interactions between partners and strengthens their emotional bond.
  • Internal Family Systems therapy identifies and targets different sub-personalities or parts and how they function in one’s mental system. This helps partners better understand each other and the patterns existing in their relationship.
  • The Gottman Method increases feelings of closeness, affection, respect, resolve conflict effectively, and creating a shared meaning
  • The developmental model of couples therapy focuses on the growth and development of each partner individually and the couple as a pair
  • Positive psychology helps partners focus on positive traits and strengths that encourage more healthy behaviours within the relationship
  • Narrative therapy separates the problem from the couple and addresses them independently from the couples’ traits which helps gain insight into adjustments they may need to make in the relationship.
  • Individual counselling can serve as a precursor to couples’ therapy. It may be a treatment approach for one partner if the other is unwilling to come to couples’ therapy.

HOW COUPLES & RELATIONSHIP COUNSELING WORKS

Couples counseling aims to help partners learn more about each other and acquire healthy problem-solving skills. The marriage counselor or LMFT may interview both partners, together or individually, during the first few meetings. Afterward, they may provide feedback. The couple may set therapeutic goals with the guidance of the therapist and develop a plan for therapy so that each person knows what to expect and how to improve. In couples therapy, positive results often depend on the couple’s motivation and dedication to the process.

As treatment progresses, each partner may improve their active listening and communication skills. Partners also often learn to support each other in new ways. Conflict may arise during therapy sessions which is common. An ethical marriage counselor will remain neutral and avoid taking sides. Some marriage counselors offer supplemental individual sessions to each partner as a standard part of treatment. Others may offer individual sessions upon request.

Relationship counseling is typically held once a week. The schedule can vary depending on the couple’s goals and whether each partner is also attending individual or group therapy sessions. Couples counseling is offered in a variety of settings, including private practices, university counseling centers, and group practices.

Marriage counseling is often short-term, though healing a relationship may take more time. Ultimately, couples therapy will continue for as long as the couple is committed to completing the treatment plan or until they reach a resolution.

how couples & relationship counseling works
In anger, we may act in appropriately in a relationship.

WHO IS COUPLES COUNSELING FOR?

Any couple with a history together may benefit from relationship counseling. Couples may seek counseling to resolve relationship issues, gain insight into the dynamics of their relationship, strengthen their emotional bonds, or find amicable ways to bring their relationship to an end. Premarital counseling is available for individuals who are engaged to be married.

As all couples experience tension or conflict at some point in their relationship, many people are unsure when they should seek couples counseling. The reality is that couples may seek relationship counseling for many different reasons, including:

  • Power struggles
  • Communication issues
  • Substance abuse
  • Sexual dissatisfaction
  • Financial issues
  • Anger issues
  • Infidelity
  • Major life adjustments 
  • Frequent conflict or high stress levels
  • Conflicting ideas on child rearing

Most couples counselors recommend that couples seek counseling as soon as discontent enters the relationship. Therapy need not be considered only when an issue becomes a crisis. In many relationships, couples turn to therapy only when issues persist for an average of six years. This delay can make it more difficult to repair or resolve problems.

Couples therapy is also beneficial for partners who have made firm resolutions about the future of their relationship. A couple in a healthy relationship may seek counseling to increase intimacy or find new ways to connect with each other emotionally. Couples who have already decided to separate may pursue couples counseling in order to find amicable ways to end their relationship on respectful terms.

People who are engaged to be married might also choose to seek premarital counseling. This can help couples explore areas of conflict or concern that may cause difficulty or dissatisfaction in their marriage. Therapy allows couples to discuss differences in opinions, personal values, and their expectations. Premarital counseling can help uncover more deep-rooted or underlying issues than a couple was expected to discuss. This can be beneficial as it allows couples to evaluate whether they are truly compatible before getting married.

There are many advantages to engaging in couples therapy. However, not all conflicts can be improved with therapy. For example, in domestic abuse cases where violence is causing one partner to fear the other, couples therapy may not be effective. In these cases, one partner’s life and safety may be jeopardized if they remain in a relationship with an abusive partner. Victims of intimate partner abuse are encouraged to make a police report or seek a local crisis center in the event of an emergency.

HOW EFFECTIVE IS COUPLES THERAPY?

Studies indicate couples therapy can have a marked positive impact on relationships. Research evaluating changes in marital satisfaction after therapy shows approximately 48% of couples reaching improvement or full recovery in relationship satisfaction after 5 years. Approximately 38% of couples experienced relationship deterioration, and 14% remained unchanged over the same period.

Couples therapy is most effective when both partners are committed to improving their relationship and sticking to the treatment plan. The approach is much less effective if one partner refuses to participate in treatment or if the relationship is violent or abusive. The effectiveness of couples therapy is also lowered when those in the relationship do not think they need to change and only expect their partner to change. When partners are open to reflecting on their own perspectives and habits, couples therapy is likely to be more effective.

In every relationship, conflicts may arise at different points. When these conflicts become challenging to resolve and other issues such as financial troubles, infidelity and lack of intimacy surface, this can create more relationship problems. Communicating in a constructive manner can help resolve these problems and bring the couple closer together.

Four Horseman

Dr John and Julie of Gottman Institute created The Four Horseman of Apocalypse metaphorically used to recognize and navigate four counterproductive behaviours that if remain unchanged, can end a relationship

  1. Criticism: Attacking your partner’s personality or character rather than his or her behaviour. These negative behaviours and comments can make a person on the receiving end feel attacked, rejected, and hurt.
  2. Defensiveness: This typically occurs in response to criticism. When you feel personally attacked by your partner, you immediately go into self-protecting mode by playing an innocent victim so that your partner will back off. This becomes a problem because no one accepts accountability and understands the other’s perspectives,
  3. Contempt: One assumes a feeling of superiority over their partner treats them with disrespect and express behaviours that makes them feel despised and worthless Such as mocking them with sarcasm, ridiculing, name calling, mimicking or using body language like eye rolling or scoffing.
  4. Stonewalling: This is typically a response to contempt. Stonewalling occurs when the listener withdraws from the conversation and stops engaging with the partner. The person attempts to avoid confrontation and create a sense of psychological distance.

The recent pandemic and living in quarantine have also put strain on many marriages. As it is, people are dealing with many pressures, worries and anxieties during this time. Couples spending extended time with each other as a result of lockdown measures have on one hand strengthened the bond between them, but on the other hand it has also worked as a catalyst for break ups in many other relationships. Several lawyers in Singapore have stated that they have had more divorce application related enquiries since the start of the circuit breaker.

Problems with Communication

It is not always necessary to opt for counselling only when a couple is having problems in their relationship. They can also do it to understand their partner in a better way or transition peacefully out of a relationship. There are many reasons why a couple seek marriage counselling including but not limited to the following:

  • Deteriorating communication with each other
  • Feelings of insecurity and loss of trust in partner
  • Feelings of indifference towards a partner 
  • Feelings of contempt, anger, and resentment towards each other
  • No common ground between partners
  • Need for personal space or to live separately
  • Infidelity, addiction, or abuse in the marriage
  • Children seem to be the only common medium of communication

Counselling is a medium that provides a safe space for a couple to discuss their concerns and work through it. It aims at providing better communication, stable family life, emotional wellbeing, sense of safety and the feeling of being heard. No marriage is perfect, but counselling is a successful tool to bring it back on track if need be.

Get Help Now

Before it gets worst, let us help you process and validate your feelings, identify triggers, stressors, and contributing factors that may have put you in distress leading to marital and relationship issues. We will explore effective coping skills, communication skills, stress and anxiety management as well as mediating the various miscommunication or misunderstanding that will help you excel better in your relationship and to meet your relationship expectations or responsibilities effectively.


This article uses material from WebMD and other useful references for relationship and marital issues. The article is for use of reference and information only, for specific diagnoses and treatment, please reach out to our licensed and/or certified professionals.