Counselling and Psychotherapy for
Body, Mind and Spirit

Ina Stockhausen, MTC

Ina Stockhausen R.P.C. offers spiritual counselling and body psychotherapy or somatic counseling in Burnaby and North Vancouver.

Are you aware of  having roles in your marriage or relationship? Does one of you tend to be the complainer and the other one the listener or sympathizer?

The minute Laura would walk in the door at the end of the day, she would vent to Sam about her day. Traffic had been bad, her boss at work had been rude, her mother called and they had a fight, she didn’t digest lunch properly and so on and so forth. Sam usually listened and made sympathetic noises.

One day, Laura became aware that she was always regaling Sam with stories about her day while he would share next to nothing. When she asked him if he never got frustrated, he was surprised. Of course he did! At work a delivery had been delayed and he had had all sorts of headaches to deal with that day.

Laura was confused that he didn’t talk about what had happened. Sam thought his role was to listen while she complained.

Ideally coming home means the return to a safe haven. As a marriage counsellor I help couples communicate in a way that validates their experience and leaves them feeling heard and seen by the other.

Sharing the little or bigger plights of your day and sympathizing with each other can be comforting; especially if you both get a chance to vent. Most of us don’t have too many places in our lives that allow us to be blunt and honest about our experiences and what we think of our boss, the neighbor, traffic, ecc.

Consider having a mini-pity party together daily. Vent about your frustrations, receive sympathy and then let go and move on. Some tips: try to simply receive your partner and listen, rather than trying to fix what is going on for them or suggesting how they could have reacted or done things differently. When we’re venting, we’re usually not open to hearing criticism (as constructive as it may be) nor do we want our audience to take sides with the other party.

If you do have thoughts regarding what your partner shared, ask if he or she would like some feedback. Talk about what you heard and your reaction and thoughts – NOT about how your partner could or should behave differently. Be curious; ask more questions to get clarity. If your spouse does not want feedback, don’t take it personally and accept a no graciously.



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