Ericksonian Relationship & Couple Counselling

  (  These pages reflect the views and practice of Keith Bibby

              and are not intended to describe the work of other practitioners   )


Our individual patterns of development generate fundamental characteristics that attract us strongly to individuals with similar patterns of vulnerability. Some of these are more obvious. We both

may have experienced  family violence, significant early bereavement,

a deserting parent or life-threatening illness.   

Many patterns are a lot more subtle and difficult to detect.  Some exist as  repressed or forgotten memories.  Defensive reactions can be strongly evoked by situations which, even whilst seeming to be nothing like the original stressor, contain some significant elements of it which provoke the response.  

We try to avoid these situations and their seemingly  irrational discomforts - nor do we wish to consider what might be causing them.

There seems to be something in us which ‘just doesn’t like it’.   We therefore tend to feel at ease with people who, for their own unconscious reasons,  act in ways which seem either to balance and complement or to resemble and  reflect these important aspects of our

own unconscious processes.


           Keith Bibby - Bsc(Hons) Dip EHL/NLP FCRAH

         Outcome - Oriented ( Ericksonian ) Psychotherapy & Hypnotherapy

                          Individual Couple & Relationship Counselling

                               25 yrs Behavioural science Experience


Without realising it - we are  naturally sympathetic  toward  and careful of  the same bunch of unconscious sensitivities in the other.  So, whether as a pair we seem very alike or refreshingly different, we manage not to venture into our hidden psychological ‘no-go’ areas

and thus to  ‘ protect ’ ourselves and each other from them.

The power of this unconscious attraction is evident in the frequency with which people report that - from the very first - their partner seemed

to be one with whom there was a strange familiarity and unspoken understanding.  Unfortunately, such a report is not at all a reliable predictor of  a relationship’s  success or longevity.   

This initial ‘understanding’ can indeed evolve into its genuine counterpart as the realities of the relationship unfold - but usually not without considerable work on both parts.  Sadly, instead, it can prove to be complete illusion and fail - because the couple has not been helped or helped each other to acquire the skills to deal with their  ‘difficult’ stuff.

Over time - safe and comfortable can become boring and dispiriting  - unpredictable and amusing may become thoughtless and irritating -  we begin to discover how adept we can be at pushing each others buttons and provoking sudden difficulties.

Where this happens, very  powerful  reactions defend our unconscious vulnerabilities.  Primitive feelings are evoked and  powerful retaliatory assaults  are mounted against the partner’s ego,  often accompanied  by wounding characterisations and cutting personal insults.

A particular tendency may frequently be referenced to  illustrate  how obnoxiously you are ' just like your mother... or father ' - not exactly guaranteed to elicit a gentle response - and indeed - the gloves are off - and the ‘ adult children ’ are fighting !

Although adult conflict - with the feelings engaged - is healthy,  many people have not learned to access this more mature way of  expressing and  resolving their differences.  Instead they find themselves bitching and sniping, hitting on raw nerves and  becoming increasingly cold and remote. Otherwise they engage in increasingly heated encounters and destructive spirals.

Many, for the sake of some ‘peace and quiet’, settle into a  relatively joyless neutrality  - and just jog along with little in the way of expressed aggravation or experienced reward.

Whether its empty or unpleasant, active or unspoken, and  irrespective of what we may do to keep it away from them, children can have very sensitive antennae and absorb both good and unhealthy atmospheres and behaviour patterns in an almost uncanny way.

Still holding resentments for what their  parents have done to them  -  and despite their very best efforts to avoid being like them,  the children, in turn as grown adults, are  destined to reproduce  many of these unconsciously  learned performances with their own partners and offspring one or two decades down the road.


Using therapy to prevent these hurts and handicaps from cascading down the generations is  one of the more beneficial outcomes to be gained - and one which spares much unhappiness and repays many  times as children themselves become adults and parents.

So why not DO something about it - NOW !

Even if you think it’s a bit late, your example in making an effort now can help them later on to be wiser and to go earlier for help when their own difficulties arise.

                                                                                Contact Keith Bibby

Copyright Keith Bibby ©  December 2009                                             >>  Return