When I first started practicing psychology, I thought that it was a stand-alone area. How wrong I was. The more and more experience that I gained as a therapist and psychologist, the more I realised that it intersects with other disciplines, namely law.
About 1.5 years ago, I embarked on some mediation accreditation through Bond University, after witnessing some interesting common problems in clients in my private practice. What I was finding was that individuals, in the context of romantic relationships were finding it difficult to have difficult conversations (excuse the pun). Essentially they were having difficulty communicating with each other. As a result their marriages/ relationships, quality of life was being compromised.
When people come to therapy generally, a key psychological skill that they are often taught is assertiveness skills training. And this is something that I would often teach my clients because they were in desperate need of it. However, I felt that I was throwing them out to sea without a life raft by saying “you really need to address this issue with your partner”. Essentially I was saying “just do it”. However, what people were crying out for was a way of having difficult conversations. A step-by-step process. And this is what led me to mediation and marriage mediation.
Mark Talks about the subject.
During the basic mediation course, I was talking with one of the facilitators, who was also a psychologist. Her name is Robyn Hooworth, who practices on the Gold Coast, Australia and in Hong Kong. She introduced me to the idea of marriage mediation. She explained to me that it is like couples counselling, except you apply a mediation methodology or structure. In my next article I will go into detail as to what this methodology entails. Essentially, the therapist is a facilitator and helps the couple to communicate with each other and have those difficult conversations that they probably have been putting off for years.
What’s the point of couples going to counselling if they never actually address the issues that brought them there in the first place? I find that men really like this more direct approach because they can see where things are heading. If done correctly, it can be a very emotionally rewarding experience for the women as well. At the end of the process, an agreed set of behaviour and expectations are developed for the couple to abide by.
Essentially the process changes the way that couples communicate. It helps couples to identify issues, focus on them and communicate to the other party where they are coming from in terms of those issues. At the end of this process, if this communication stage has been achieved, the couple will then negotiate or put options as to how they want the other person to change. The process also gets couples to communicate from not only an intellectual point of view but also from an emotional point of view. I find it very amusing that some couples try communicate purely from intellectual point of view.
A romantic relationship brings up strong emotions. If you are not communicating these emotions, then you’re not communicating and hiding something from your partner. And heading for a relationship break-up or unhappy marriage.
If you need help with your relationships. Contact Mark to book an appointment.