Breaking the spin cycle

Attending couples counselling can be a daunting prospect, but for Wingspan clients, Diane* and partner, Evan* it was a matter of make or break. We spoke to Diane about her experience with Wingspan counselling and how that impacted her relationship.


We had literally gotten to a point where I was standing in the bedroom, having yet another argument, and I found myself saying, 'We cannot keep having this discussion, I can't keep doing it this way.'


So he said, 'Ok, well should we actually do something?' And I said, 'Yes, I think we have to, otherwise it's just not going to work.'"


"Maybe it's a strange thing to say, but I'm proud we did it.


I'm proud we had counselling, and that we thought our relationship was worth fighting for." – Diane


How was this impacting your life?


Diane spent a lot of time rehashing conversations in her head – rather than out loud with her partner. She recalls feeling like that constant noise in her head allowed no space for anything else. She couldn't concentrate on work, and she couldn't appreciate the good things in her life. Instead, the noise in her head went around and around, amplifying issues until they felt much larger than they actually were.


On top of that, anxiety about the "consequences" of a potential break-up took up even more brain space. Would she lose close friendships that were connected to her relationship if she and Evan broke up?


"I literally got sick of hearing my own voice in my head – and normally I'm quite happy to head my own voice!"


 What happened when you tried counselling?


Initially, Diane and Evan were both nervous about who their counsellor would be. Deciding to go with Wingspan on a recommendation from a friend, they were happy to be matched with someone who adapted very well to their needs.


What Diane and Evan discovered through counselling wasn't "earth-shattering" Diane says. But it fundamentally changed how they communicated and helped them understand each other on a deeper level.


"It's absolutely not rocket science, but it actually was really insightful for us. For example, we both knew each other's top love languages, but not what each other's secondary love languages were.


He had no idea how important acts of service were to me, and I totally didn't understand how important words of affirmation were to him. It blew me away."


Another thing they discovered was their childhood experiences with conflict resolution were completely different. While Diane was encouraged to immediately resolve issues, Evan was given time to process and wait before a resolution was made. Understanding this difference in each other has changed how they navigate conflict.


Now, five years later, Diane is proud that the couple decided to address the communication issue together, and that their relationship is stronger for it.


What advice would you give someone facing a similar challenge?


"Talk therapy helps. Even if the relationship doesn't work out, the self-growth is worth it."


Diane emphasises how important it was for her to talk publicly about the fact they were choosing to go to therapy. For one, it helped other people realise it may be an option for them, but more importantly, it helped her to normalise the process for herself.


"Therapy isn't just for when things go bad," she says, "it's actually ok to go when you feel the beginning of something start. In fact, it's probably better to go then!"



*All names have been changed to protect the privacy of Wingspan's clients.

For media and other inquiries please contact:

Louise von Benzon

Marketing & Communications Manager, Wingspan

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