This page is intended to give you an insight into my experiences as a counsellor and hypnotherapist. Please feel free to browse the categories you are interested in or contact me on 01245 443787 or text on 07890 893000.



Working with Relationships: what does the word love mean to you?

When working with difficult relationships especially marital relationships, one of the first questions I ask is; ‘what does the word love mean to you'? This simple question can be quite revealing often opening up a lengthy discussion about past relationships and importantly how love was expressed and witnessed during childhood.

As most of us know by now, the belief systems and patterns of behaviour we carry with us into adulthood have their seeds set in childhood. Most often we continue with these patterns of behaviour without being fully conscious of them, but sometimes asking ourselves; ‘why did that happen again'? It is most likely for example; that if you have been witness to an abusive marital relationship during your childhood then this is bound to affect the way you view future intimate relationships and behave within them.

Therefore therapy is just one way of just stepping back and taking time out to ask seemingly simple questions and with their exploration helping to shine light on difficult themes and issues. Thus with this new level of recognition on your side, a new direction can be found leading you to make those necessary and positive changes to your life.

So how do I approach this question in therapy? The best way I have found to introduce this topic, once I have posed the question is to leave the client for a short while with a list of words describing love (they can also add their own). I ask the client to ring those that have a particular meaning for them and then we work through them. You could of course try this for yourself and then spend some time thinking more closely about the significance of each word for you. Just some words I use are:

Respect, Humour, Discipline, Argument, Cuddles, Verbal Affection, Passion.

A great book on relationships is:

Litvintoff,Sarah. Better Relationships: practical ways to make your love last. Relate.Vermillion, 1991.

Michelle Krethlow Shaw
February 2012

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© 2012 Michelle Krethlow Shaw