Relationship Counselling Calgary

Relationship Counselling
Services in Calgary

Stepping into Relationship Counselling is a big step, so congratulations on getting to this point. By this point, you are likely experiencing some significant challenges in your relational world and are looking for some support. Below is information about how Sana Psychological may be able to support you with counselling services in your relational health journey.

The short story

At Sana Psychological, Paige Abbott (Registered Psychologist) works with individuals who are struggling with their relationship(s). This might include infidelity, different values, co-parenting challenges, or the impact of mental health and/or addiction issues in the relationship. Relationship issues may also mean loss of a relationship, a concerning pattern of relationships, sexual challenges, and/or difficulty with communication skills, help to better resolve conflicts, boundaries, deal with codependency, and/or self-esteem. Relationship counselling involves an initial session or two to get to know you and determine treatment planning and recommendations. Joint appointments are offered on a case by case basis depending on the presenting issues. I do not offer “couple’s counselling” in the traditional sense of working on communication, intimacy, or family therapy, but rather short-term joint appointments to clarify how to support each other in a healthy way, as well as individual self-care. If longer term or more traditional couple’s therapy is required, it is encouraged you seek out a different provider. Sessions can occur in person or virtually (by phone or video). Fees are $200/session. Treatment can be short-term (3-6 months) or long-term (6 months +) depending on need and preference.

The longer story

Paige Abbott, Registered Psychologist at Sana Psychological, has found that some of the best relationship counselling work is done individually. Sound strange? Probably, as most people are used to the idea of couples counselling or couples therapy where both partners go and see the therapist and discuss their issues. The downside of this is that often by the time people go in for couple’s counselling, there has been a lot of resentment, hostility, and tension built up in the relationship and it is easy for relationship counselling to degenerate into “I said/you said” or “You did/you did.” For these reasons, Sana Psychological does not do traditional couple’s therapy. If joint appointments do occur, they are typically short-term and focused on specific issues, including how to support a loved one who has Addiction and how to navigate that.

Ideally, relationship counselling supports a relationship in improving to its full potential, whatever that means for you. At Sana Psychological, relationship counselling may involve joint sessions but, more than likely, it would be recommended that both partners engage in their own individual counselling to sort out their individual challenges, living well and healthily, and process and release any emotions that they are carrying about the relationship and other parts of life. I have been trained by John and Julie Gottman on the Gottman Method-Level 1 and utilize some of their philosophy in relationship counselling sessions with both individuals and couples. This is not my exclusive therapeutic modality for relationship work and I am not a certified Gottman therapist but, rather, use an eclectic approach that incorporates some of their philosophy.

Relationship work can also be done with someone who is currently single, whether they have had a relationship in the past or not. Most of the time people seek out relationship counselling for romantic, intimate relationships or marriage counselling, but relationship counselling can also incorporate family counselling or a focus on other types of relationships, including friends, work, and relationship with self. Humans are relational beings and very rarely do we have behaviours in one relationship that we do not bring into others, so all of our relational world is interconnected at that level. It is fascinating to explore boundaries, relationship with feelings, esteem, communication, fantasy, motivation, and other aspects of relationships when working with individuals as well as couples.

How Do You Know if You Would Benefit from Relationship Counselling?

Challenges with relationships can present themselves in a variety of different ways. Below is an informal self-test to assist you in starting to gauge whether relationship counselling would be recommended. Have you struggled with any of the following:

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it might be a good time to start to explore relationship counselling and seeking out the help of a trained professional. These symptoms tend to appear as relationship challenges progress. While they may still be minimal and mild for you, it would be best to get proper support and problem solving to prevent the progression of these challenges and ensure the health and well-being of you and your relationships.

Treatment Approach

Relationship counselling can be a short-term process, particularly if you already have good self-awareness, support network, and self-care resources. Even those with these coping tools appreciate the opportunity to check in every few months or even once or twice per year to ensure they are staying diligent and accountable to their relational health plan.
For those who are new to relationship counselling, those who may have spent limited time self-developing and reflecting, those who are experiencing more severe mental health issues, and/or have multiple challenges they are dealing with, mental health counselling may be a longer, more intensive process. For those who are new(er) to mental health counselling, do not spend much time self-reflecting or in pursuit of self-development, have more severe symptoms, and/or have multiple mental health concerns occurring at the same time, mental health counselling can become a more intensive and longer-term process.

For all cases, sessions are recommended every 1-3 weeks initially. There is always lots to learn about at the beginning of the counselling process and, the more we know, the better able we can support you in helping yourself/ves. After a few sessions at this frequency, it may be appropriate to expand the time frame to sessions every 2-6 weeks. This will be collaboratively decided between you and your psychologist, Paige Abbott. Sessions are offered in-person and using Technology Assisted Counselling depending on need and preference.

For all cases, sessions are recommended every 1-3 weeks initially. There is always lots to learn about at the beginning of the counselling process and, the more we know, the better able we can support you in helping yourself/ves. After a few sessions at this frequency, it may be appropriate to expand the time frame to sessions every 2-6 weeks. This will be collaboratively decided between you and your psychologist, Paige Abbott. Sessions are offered in-person and using Technology Assisted Counselling depending on need and preference.

The first sessions will involve gathering as much background information as possible about you (and your partner, if they are present), including strengths, available coping network and tools, and challenges. Information is gathered to know about all parts of you, not just the challenges. Relationship counselling is about much more than just your symptoms and will involve exploration and development of other relationships, self-care, communication, conflict resolution, boundaries, and more.

Paige Abbott has been trained in Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy as well as Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and also incorporates elements of solution-focused therapy and motivational interviewing. Follow-up appointments generally involve a check-in to see presenting issues and immediate things that have come up that you may want to process, follow-up on any suggestions provided in past appointments to get an idea of progress as well as roadblocks that are coming up, followed by a more in-depth exploration of relationship problems, patterns, and coping. Sessions are active and engaged as Paige likes to ask lots of questions and provide reflections, challenges, and psychoeducation along the way. At any point, if the therapeutic approach or goals need to be changed, please speak up and this will be processed. Sessions come from a non-judgmental, compassionate, empathetic place. We are here to support you in making positive changes, doing different, and being different.

Logistics

Sessions are offered in-person at Sana Psychological’s Calgary counselling practice or by using Technology Assisted Counselling which can consist of phone or video sessions depending on need and preference. Cost is $200/session. Sessions are available to anyone who is in the province of Alberta at the time of appointment as this is Paige Abbott’s jurisdiction of licensure. Payment options include cash, credit card, e-transfer, and direct billing with a number of different insurance carriers.

Relationship counselling can be short or long-term, depending on your needs. Paige Abbott, Registered Psychologist at Sana Psychological, prefers to meet with people over a longer period of time (6+ months) to ensure sustainability and maintenance of progress as relationship issues tend to ebb and flow. If this does not work for your needs, that is okay too. We will do as much work as we can in the available sessions to get you building a healthy plan that you can tailor as needed. All it takes to get started is an e-mail, phone call, or text to request an appointment.

For loved ones

Relationship counselling may also involve concerned family members or partners who have been impacted. They may come in individually for their own support and/or join some sessions or parts of sessions. This will all depend on the specifics of the situation and is something that can be generally assessed over the phone prior to scheduling an appointment. Certainly, after an initial session, more certainty around recommendations and planning can be provided as more background information will have been established. If you are one part of a relationship and reading this and hoping your loved one will change and come to counselling with you but you are not sure if they are ready, I would encourage you to come in for yourself to look at your own health and relationships. Change in any member of a relational unit creates change for the whole unit, so perhaps change can start with you. Even if you are feeling that your personal changes are not having an impact on your loved one, it will provide you the strength, resources, and ability to cope with the difficult, draining, and challenging situation that you are in.

A Face of Relationship Counselling: Phil’s Story

Phil presented for counselling as he had been in a few romantic relationships throughout his life and was currently single. He found himself having a difficult time moving forward from his last romantic relationship that had ended four years ago. He had tried dating a bit since that break-up but found he did not feel connected or engaged with the people he was seeing as his head and heart kept going back to his ex-partner. Phil had a strong history of fantasy, shyness, and social avoidance and was worried that he was never going to be able to have a healthy relationship with anyone. He did not believe that he had much to offer in a relationship and was worried that he had lost his only opportunity for love.

Through counselling that explored self-esteem, relationship with self, boundaries, family of origin relationship patterns, and current action steps, Phil was able to start coming to accept the end of his previous relationship, appreciating that it ended for a reason and was not as perfect as his mind had convinced him it was. As he established this acceptance, he felt open to exploring new relationships and was willing to take steps to meet new people. Counselling support continued as he worked on social skills, communication, and how to be himself in relationships. Change was possible for Phil and is for you too!

Wherever you are at, Sana Psychological is happy to support you in your journey. Do different, be different!