Gift wrap a Relationship MOT
HOLLY CARTER, who works in Exeter as a relationship therapist, offers a very alternative idea for a Christmas gift
Iam proposing a different sort of present this Christmas. How about gifting your loved ones with an experience which will nourish and enrich their personal life? A relationship MOT – two sessions with a relationship counsellor.
You might want some pretty gift wrap, however, since the intention is not to suggest that our loved ones’ relationship is manifestly in need of urgent help! Rather, it is an invitation to a couple to give themselves some attention, passing on the message that relationships matter, and need to be looked after.
What might happen at such an MOT? Conversations. The conversations that maybe we have just forgotten to have, or never got around to, or felt shy about raising. A couple who have been together for decades, with adult children, may find it hugely reassuring to discuss how they will navigate the departure of their children from the family home, or the approach of a retirement, or the sale of a beloved house.
A different couple may really need to talk about allowing their lives to take a radical change of direction – a new career or working abroad maybe. A couple with young children…well, they will always have a lot to discuss!
There are many myths that are held about counselling and therapy: an indulgence; navel gazing; sitting with someone who will just agree with you, etc etc. In response, I can only state that that has not been my experience.
For a start, there is often a huge amount of laughter to be heard from the couple counsellors’ rooms. Of course there is. Relationships are funny, and should be, in part, about fun. Our partners’ quirks, which were so endearing when first encountered, can become the foundations of repeated annoyances – but it can be possible to reconnect with the quirkiness, or at least recognise what it represented.
What could one hope to have achieved, after two gifted sessions? I would expect a couple to feel refreshed. To have started listening to each other again. To have heard a little more about how they are valued and appreciated by the other, and to have reminded themselves how important it is to communicate that to someone we love. For some couples, one or two sessions may just shake things up a little, for others it may bring about some fairly significant changes.
It will certainly be an original gift – and not one with the receipt tactfully attached! Holly Carter has an MA in Relationship Therapy. She can be contacted through exetertherapy.com