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Free couples counselling coming to Chatham

Couples in Chatham-Kent will have a chance to “rebuild their bond” thanks to a new counselling service being offered.

The Chatham-Kent Community Health Centres will be putting on two free relationship counselling groups starting in May.

The first one, “Bent not Broken,” is a 13-week group counselling session for couples. Cynthia Workman, a registered psychotherapist, will be one of the group facilitators and said the therapy sessions will focus heavily on tuning in to emotional connections between partners.

“We’re looking to kind of enhance the emotional connection between couples or for them to be able to overcome their emotional stress in their relationship,” explained Workman. “We’ll be doing that by kind of looking at their cyclical patterns in their relationship. As we know, when we get into arguments there’s often patterns that couples kind of develop over time throughout their arguments.”

There will also be an individual 10-week therapy session offered called “Love Preserver,” which aims to help people learn to build trust, fight fair and clarify their priorities while in relationships.

“What we’re looking at is giving individuals tools to utilize in their intimate partner relationships, whether they’re current or looking at past relationships as well. They want to kind of gain additional tools in order to increase their satisfaction and intimacy,” said Workman.

Group facilitator and registered social worker, Heather Van Kerkhoven, said the programs are the first of their kind for the area.

“To our knowledge, in Chatham-Kent, there are no free couples counselling… There are no real places to go for free couples counselling. Emotion-focused therapy really is one of the best practices in treating couples,” said Van Kerkhoven.

Both programs will be held at the Chatham-Kent Community Health Centre’s Chatham site on Richmond Street. “Bent Not Broken” will take place every Wednesday starting May 1 from 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. while “Love Preserver” will start on May 15 and run every Wednesday from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. They are open to members of the community 18 years or older.

Workman and Van Kerkhoven both stress that the programs are not a substitute for any counselling involving domestic violence.

To register email info@ckchc.ca or call 519-397-5455 ext. 171.