“There is an art and science to pairing people. I am a relationship specialist who creates, constructs, restores and renovates connection. I simplify dating, marriage and commitment obstacles by changing perspectives. I design relationship maps for your journey, in a territory where there are none. If you are
- single and looking to meet your ideal match,
- entering into a long-term partnership with a desire to maintain intimacy;
- or part of a disconnected couple with a hope to re-connect,
there is a solution for you.”
In 2006, my counselling practice evolved when I became exposed to the coaching approach. I completed ICF ACTP training and adopted a new language or way of working – my work as a couple counsellor shifted to relationship coaching. Relationship Coaching is a progressive approach for singles and couples to become ‘unstuck’ when entering into or attempting to navigate successfully through the complexities of relationship. The biggest difference between them is that the focus is not on problems and the past, coaches focus instead on the future and solutions. My role as a couple coach is be the voice of your relationship, to be a neutral and objective observer of the dynamics between you and to find bespoke solutions for your unique partnership.
There is also a lens on the ‘primary relationship’, the one we have with our Self. This relationship is equally important and requires nurturing because the quality of the relationship we have with ourselves determines the quality of the relationship we have with others. This single piece of information has made the biggest difference to me and my own partnership. When I got married in 2005 I decided to apply the principles and practices I had learnt in my professional training as a way to validate the information I had learnt. There is a saying in the helping professions that you cannot take a client where you have never been yourself. The idea with teaching any information is to first Learn it, then Live it, then Give it.
I can say with 100% certainty now that my own self worth and esteem directly impacts on my relationship (positively or negatively) which is why I pay attention to maintaining my self esteem/ self worth/ self respect. This ‘self regulation’ has made the biggest difference to my own marriage and the reason why I see both individuals in a partnership separately when I am doing couple work. I wrote a blog to explain this concept, you can click this link to learn more: ‘the best couple therapy is individual therapy’
The relationship solutions I provide encourage/invite connection and enable intimacy. Traditional partnerships (marriages to partners of the opposite sex) are transforming and there is a movement toward different forms of relationships to accommodate our psycho-spiritual evolution. Regardless of the structure (e.g. heterosexual/homosexual partnerships, civil union, love triangles or cross- generational pairing) my intention is to facilitate more collaboration and love in the world.
The Range of Relationship Solutions (overview):
1. Singles who are dating and want a healthy committed partnership- see Dating Deliberately Process
2. Pre-Committed couples for life-partners-to-be wanting to ensure a solid future for themselves
3. Ambivalent couples unsure of their future and exploring staying together OR to begin the separation process
4. Couples in conflict/ unsatisfied couples intending to improve intimacy, renovate & restore their connection
5. Conscious uncoupling for unhappy couples with a desire to close the chapter of their relationship respectfully in order to begin afresh.
Scroll down for an outline of each solution.
1. Relationship Solutions for Singles: The Dating Deliberately Process:
This is a specific, personal discovery and relationship readiness process to assist you to become prepared and skilled for meeting and creating a healthy, loving relationship. Explore more on this link for ‘Dating Deliberately‘. Preparation includes looking at attitudes, choices and patterns of behaviour that are not working for you in creating loving relationships. Skills include the practical elements of dating and tools for creating healthy bonds. The process unpacks “How can I become someone for whom a healthy relationship is possible?” by exploring and letting go of baggage you may be carrying from past hurt; “How and where can I find my ideal match?” It also ensures you do not waste time on someone who is unwilling or unable to speak the language of a healthy, sustainable relationship. (4 x 90 min individual sessions)
• Discover how to choose a partner who is a good match for you –aligned with who you are and what you want
• Learn the architecture of a healthy relationship so you can become the architect of your own
• Identify and eliminate limiting beliefs about love, relationships, commitment and dating
• Become aware of patterns of behaviour that are not serving you in romantic relationship
• Develop a strategy for meeting, screening and assessing prospective partners
• Overcome approach anxiety
Dating Deliberately Singles have self worth and would rather be alone than loved for pretending to be someone they’re not. They would prefer to be alone than miserably involved. They know that alone does not equal lonely. They feel deserving and worthy of quality relationships and don’t settle for second best.
Get a better sense of Relationship Solutions for Singles in my post “Why am I still single?”
2. Relationship Solutions for Pre-Committed/ Pre-Marital Couples:
Plan for the marriage, not just the wedding. This process is based on the structure and guidelines from ‘A Blueprint – of – We’, a non denominational, custom designed collaboration document which designs effortless and resilient relationships, learn more by watching this video and clicking here. The objective of the sessions is to demystify a healthy partnership and to co-create your own map for your journey into new territory. The couple establish ‘our way of working’ which maintains high levels of intimacy and creates a solid foundation for the future. It explores the question, “How can we ensure and promote a lifetime of support and friendship between lovers?” Coaching activities may include:
• Noticing what is working well and contributing to the relationship in order to establish healthy patterns
• Exploring expectations for future roles and responsibilities in order to avoid unfulfilled expectations
• Developing strategies for tough times, decision-making, working as a team
• Addressing any incompatibilities and blind-spots upfront
• Learning to fight fair and communicate at a mature level
Minimum 3 couple sessions of 90 min each
Your wedding day is one day of your life. Your marriage is a lifetime. Prepare and plan for that.
Read more about ‘Keeping romance alive during wedding planning’ in my interview on hitched.co.za
Or my blog titled ‘Before you say “I do”, be sure you say “We did”
3. Relationship Solutions for Ambivalent Couples: To Stay or Go?
Ambivalence in a relationship may be experienced as co-existent feelings of loving and not loving your partner; wanting and not wanting the relationship; planning to leave and deciding to stay. Ambivalence whether overt or covert, can cause feelings of confusion, fear, guilt, rejection, powerlessness and a constant sense of insecurity. This is a process that works with ambivalence and assists in answering the questions “Do we want to make this work, is it worthwhile investing more time and energy?”, “Is this the right person for me?” The agenda revolves around reaching a conclusion of ‘IF’ this person is the right match for me and ‘IF’ the relationship is worth all the hard work.
• Clarity for decision making and a way forward for both individuals
• 4 x 90 min sessions- one couple session, two individual sessions and one final couple session
• Full written assessment describing who needs to be doing what differently (extracted from the clients themselves) ‘if’ the couple choose to stay together.
• Continuing sessions thereafter are at the discretion of the couple and individual.
Clients are encouraged to end the procrastination and analysis paralysis by exploring options to move forward so they can get off the fence and be in Or out 100%. Read more in my blog ‘The Myth of the Right Decision‘.
4. Relationship Solutions for Couples in Conflict/ Unsatisfied Couples: Renovating & Restoring Connection:
A process that works with ‘what is’ (versus hoping it will change by itself) and assists in answering the question “How can we make this work?” The focus is on finding ways for partners in a struggling relationship to feel secure, safe and appreciated. Together the couple co-create a map for building’ A-New-version-of-Us’ by unpacking the- old-version-of-us and amending the parts that didn’t work. The agenda revolves around the steps for ‘HOW’ to create a nurturing, fulfilling relationship as well as WHO needs to do WHAT differently.
• 4 x 90 min sessions- one couple session , two individual sessions and one final couple session
• Generating a compelling vision for both partners to work towards with clarity of next steps
• It involves one couple session, two individual sessions and one more couple session
• Written feedback/relationship audit (schematic) describing who needs to be doing what differently in order to generate a healthy, functional and fulfilling partnership
• Continuing sessions thereafter are at the discretion of the couple and individual.
Once at attitude of commitment is made, even a badly damaged relationship can be restored. There are no problems that cannot be overcome with two willing partners.
To understand better my approach for couples in conflict, I wrote a blog titled: ‘When talking about your problems doesn’t help’
5. Relationship Solutions for Unhappy Couples: Conscious Uncoupling:
This is a process for partnerships that are stifling or ‘keeping small’ the individuals living them. It is sometimes kinder and wiser to choose to end a relationship and allow the inhabitants to move on to a life that serves them, their growth, their long-term fulfillment. In this process I support couples to end their union in a way that does it justice and allows any hurt or trauma to be aired and sealed. It answers the questions, “How can we reach a place of acceptance and acknowledge respectfully the end of this pairing?” The agenda focuses on ending with grace.
• Acceptance of the end
• Next most appropriate steps
• Acknowledging the gifts of the pairing and giving thanks
• Designing a completion ceremony
Sometimes, when we are not well matched, the next most loving step for everyone involved is to separate from one other. Read more in my blog ‘Sometime divorce = love’
Please contact Shelley to find out which relationship solution will suit you best.