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St. Albert Relationship Counselling Expert ~ Joyce Schafers

Support for Couples

Support for Couples who are

ready for Change.


If you're exploring the need for couple's counselling, I assume things have gotten pretty stressful and you're uncertain about what to do next.  Maybe you're considering separation or divorce or maybe you're ready to get some outside help to better understand the problems and the solutions available to you.  Either way, this is a tough time.  I get it.


I mostly want you to know that it doesn't have to stay this way.  I believe a successful relationship requires two main components: the desire to make the relationship work and the willingness to tweak how we show up in the relationship. If you both have that, then I believe having a deeply connected, intimate, loving and supportive relationship is possible.


If you're like me, you'd love the feeling of knowing exactly what to do when trouble arises in your relationship. Imagine no longer worrying when those topics need to be broached with your partner and instead of feeling stressed, confused and worried, you'd feel calm, self-assured, and confident in your ability to deal with the matter at hand.  Instead of spinning your wheels in the same problems over and over again, you'd have real insight into the dynamic that has been so troubling.  Imagine having new insight and specific, effective tools, to move out of the rut that has kept you stuck and onto a new way of relating to others.  The peace that you get from finally understanding what's beneath the troubling issues is something you've been craving, for a very long time. And, knowing how to move through the problems ~ actually knowing what to do ~ makes you feel empowered, like little else.  



Turning problems into progress.


Let's be honest, when our marriage is in trouble, it's like the foundation from which we launch our entire life is shaky and insecure ~ it makes us feel stressed, worried and it makes enjoying life difficult.  But what if the problems in your relationship helped you deepen your sense of peace, rather than pull you away from it?


What if the tense conversations about money led you directly to your inner power

instead of making you feel powerless and weak?


What if the arguments over household chores was a gateway to self-love

rather than making you feel alone and sad?  


What if the struggles with sex lit a path directly to a deeply loving,

intimate and close relationship, instead of making you feel distant, lonely and disconnected?


The goal of my sessions for couples is to help you shift the focus and dynamic from a divisive/defensive experience to a more connected/supportive one.  We'll move away from seeing your partner as a 'threat' to your happiness, and instead, work toward creating an environment where you and your partner are on each others' side, you care about what each other needs and you both actively work at building a supportive, loving, peaceful, joyful, intimate relationship.  


With your willingness, combined with my experience we achieve that by: 


  • identifying the unmet emotional needs of both you and your partner and work at removing the unachievable 'demands' that may have been placed on each other and the relationship

  • helping you understand how the unresolved emotional issues have created the problematic dynamic that has created a sense of confusion and frustration

  • teaching you how to meet your own emotional needs so the stress and pressure that has been placed on the relationship is reduced

  • identifying the trigger-some topics in the relationship and teaching you how to effectively communicate through those topics so you can finally find solutions rather than staying stuck in the problems.


The sessions are structured in a way that, by the time our sessions are complete, you are both equipped with insight, skills and practical tools that will enable you to effectively handle any challenges as they arise.  My goal isn't to have life-long clients; my goal is to have successful ones.  And, by working through the process with your partner, you really set yourself up for success.  You both will be on the same page ~ experiencing similar insights and learning the same skills-set to come at the problems in a new and effective way.  


If you would like to learn more about the counselling model I use, please visit my website page The Cycle of Emotional Pain.


The program includes six sessions over a twelve-week period (one session every two weeks).  I can meet with you in my office in St. Albert, Alberta or on the phone, via Skype or Zoom.  The sessions are structured as follows:



Sessions One and Two

These two sessions are like fact-finding missions.  In the first session I will ask one of you to volunteer to identify what I call the backstory; what is your childhood trauma and how did it impact you emotionally?  In the second session, we go through the same process for the other person.  These two sessions are crucial in understanding your challenges today.  My perspective is that the challenges today are triggering old emotional wounds that likely have not been addressed and unless we address those old wounds, the challenges will continue.  These sessions are 90 minutes long.



Sessions Three through Six


These sessions are also 90-minutes long and they focus on: 

  • identifying the things that trigger you in your relationship, 

  • learn effective tools to help you manage your triggers and reset emotionally, and

  • learn how to effectively communicate with your partner, even though you've been triggered

  • we also may need to identify if there are any resentments and resolve those resentments so they stop cycling through your conversations.  (note: a resentment is something that one person says or does that hurts the other person and it has never been resolved.)   


Each time we meet I will assess your progress and determine the areas that you may need more support.



Individual Support  


In some instances, either you or I may find that individual support may be needed. Sometimes people may struggle with a certain aspect of the process and an individual session may be needed to support you in those instances.  I like to play this by ear and determine if individual support is needed as we go through this process. These sessions are typically 60-minutes in length.   



Additional Support


Throughout the program, you will have access to me via email support should a difficulty arise that you need help working through.  I'm very passionate about support because oftentimes it can turn a trying and difficult situation into a lifelong teachable moment.  You will also be given free access to my self-study course called End the Arguing: A nine-lesson self-study course designed to help you identify and fix the problem in your relationshipThe course provides the theory behind the Cycle of Emotional Pain and provides thought-provoking exercises designed to evoke insights and help you integrate the concepts in a way that will create lasting change.

This additional support is absolutely FREE.



My rate is $175 for the first session, $150 for any future 90-minute sessions and $125 for individual 60-minute sessions. 


Are you ready for things to get better?


If you want to learn more, please contact me.  I'd love to arrange a 3-way phone conversation to make sure working with me is exactly what you need and want. It's free and there's absolutely no risk or obligation to proceed if you don't want to.  


To schedule a time to chat, the best way to reach me is via email.  My email address is


NOTE: I will do my best to respond within 24 hours so if you don't see a response from me please check your spam folder. 


Additional Resources


Be sure to check out my FREE Stuff page. I've provided some resources that I hope you find helpful. There you will find:


Audio clips of some of my radio interviews that address a variety of topics.


The Relationship Health Quiz.



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