Healthworks Practitioner: Michael Hawkins
Tel: 01309 671552
While I enjoy one-to-one counselling, Couples Counselling is, perhaps, more rewarding and something I am passionate-even radical-about. Then in my mid-twenties, and at the end of a relationship, I went to see a marriage guidance counsellor, a kind faced elderly lady. I stood at the foot of the steps leading to her room, questioning why I was there alone - the marriage was over. Aren't you supposed to go to couple counselling as a couple? Wasn't this too late?
Seeing someone in her sixties, my heart sank but the hour soon passed and the surprise was she asked only about me; my upbringing, my self-awareness. I didn't return, yet the hour has stayed with me, and years later I see how accurate and astute her explorations were.
Decades on and swapping careers, I became a Counsellor and was quickly drawn into couples counselling. I had climbed some inner steps to resume, perhaps, what I hadn't finished. This time I was the one welcoming nervous couples.
Who Comes, And Why?
The stigma around Counselling has long passed and nowadays couples and singles of all ages and stages of relationship - either a few months into a relationship, or thirty plus years into a marriage - come to confide their relationship dilemmas. "I want a baby," "I'm thinking of leaving". "She has changed", "It is hard since his illness", "Should I leave her/him?", "Pornography has come between us", "Our finances are in a mess" and of course the very many more issues that span the everyday range of the human experience.
Online Porn Addiction
A significant element of my Couples work is supporting couples impacted by sex and online porn addiction, and enabling disclosures.
My Way Of Working
Couples have the space to listen to each other in a safe, held environment and receive equal time, without being cut off or walked out on. It gives opportunity to let go of the patterns and habits we fall into at home, where it is hard to contain our hurt, shame, frustration and anger, and try to listen and speak honestly. Often new information emerges that can transform the relationship. I listen, facilitate, empathise and, above, all don't judge one as the angel, the other as the sinner.
I help Couples focus on the pain each feels rather than the pain each causes. People come, of all ages, recognising that relationships are a lot of work and eager to try and resolve things before a breakdown occurs. And, of course, they come when in crisis. Some come for months, some years, others for a 'Marriage MOT'.
How It Works
The modality I am trained in is the person-centred approach to counselling, where the goal is to create an atmosphere in which couples are safe to be truly honest, able to listen and show each other acceptance. If these conditions are created, the couple can understand, solve their problems and become clear on what needs to happen.
It is a privilege to do this work, to enter into a couple's world, in a way becoming part of the relationship and therapeutic triangle during the time we are together.
We live in complex and challenging times. A study by the Mental Health Foundation, 2018, has found that 74% of adults have felt so stressed at some point over the last year that they felt overwhelmed and unable to cope. I see this in the lives of the couples I see.
But every day I also see that the old maxim about talking things through and listening, can be the best way towards a healthy, balanced, less stressed, more intimate relationship.
Michael has a Diploma in Counselling, a Diploma in Online Counselling, and has also successfully completed an Advance Training Certificate course in Couples Counselling at Strathclyde University, Glasgow. He has been a Counsellor since 2006 and also has over 20 years’ experience in facilitating/leading therapeutic/personal transformation groups, and leading conferences on healing and self-development. The learning continues through his ongoing work with couples.
Michael Hawkins can be contacted on 01309 671552 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org