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Adv Dip Couns MNCPS (Accred), Dip Sup, DC Hyp (MNRAH), Lic ASK Counselling, Psychotherapy & Hypnotherapy for individuals and couples
in Farnham on the Surrey & Hampshire Border

Blog. gaslighting

Is Your Partner Gaslighting You? Recognising the Red Flags in Your Relationship

Have you ever found yourself questioning your own memories or feelings in your relationship? Do you constantly second-guess yourself, wondering if you're being too sensitive or overreacting? If these experiences sound familiar then you might be a victim of gaslighting.

As a counsellor in Surrey and Hampshire, I've seen the impact that gaslighting can have on individuals and their relationships. It's a subtle yet manipulative form of emotional abuse that can leave you feeling confused, isolated and even questioning your own sanity.

Imagine coming home from a night out with friends and your partner accuses you of flirting with someone at the bar. You're certain that you were just being friendly but they insist that they saw you crossing the line. They make you doubt your own memory and you find yourself apologising for something you're not even sure you did.

Or perhaps you've expressed your feelings about a hurtful comment your partner made only to have them tell you that you're being too sensitive and that they never said anything of the sort. Over time these instances of manipulation can erode your self-confidence and make you question your own perceptions.

Gaslighting is named after the 1938 play ‘Gas Light’ in which a husband manipulates his wife into doubting her own sanity. In reality gaslighting can take many forms from denying events that you clearly remember to twisting your words and using them against you.
If you find yourself constantly apologising, feeling like you're walking on eggshells or questioning your own judgment then these could be warning signs that you're experiencing gaslighting in your relationship. It's important to remember that this is not your fault, and you are not alone.

Breaking free from the cycle of gaslighting takes courage and support. As a first step try to validate your own experiences and feelings. Reach out to trusted friends, family members or a professional counsellor who can provide a safe space for you to share your story and receive guidance.

Remember, you deserve a relationship built on trust, respect and mutual understanding. If you're struggling with gaslighting I invite you to reach out to me at Imogen Ellis Jones Counselling. Together we can work on rebuilding your self-worth, setting healthy boundaries and developing the tools you need to navigate this challenging situation.

Blog. Loneliness

Coping with Loneliness: Building a Support System During Separation

In my experience as a counsellor in Surrey and Hampshire, I've witnessed firsthand the huge impact that separation can have on individuals. It's a time filled with uncertainty, heartache, and yes, loneliness. But here's the thing – you're not alone in feeling lonely. It's a common experience that many people go through during separation. So, let's talk about how to cope with loneliness and build a support system that can help you navigate this challenging time.

Loneliness during separation can feel overwhelming, but it's essential to understand that it's a natural response to the loss of companionship and routine that comes with separation. You might find yourself missing the little everyday moments shared with your partner or feeling adrift without their presence. It's okay to feel this way, and acknowledging your feelings is the first step towards finding comfort and support.

Building a support system is key to coping with loneliness during separation. Reach out to friends, family members, or even colleagues who can offer a listening ear and a shoulder to lean on. Sometimes, just knowing that someone is there to listen can make all the difference in the world. And if you're feeling overwhelmed, don't hesitate to seek professional counselling or therapy. Talking to a trained therapist can provide invaluable support and guidance as you navigate this challenging time.

Navigating relationships with others during separation can be tricky, but it's important to focus on healthy connections. Be honest with your friends and family about how you're feeling, and let them know what kind of support you need. Whether it's a simple chat over coffee or a night out with friends, don't underestimate the power of human connection in easing feelings of loneliness.
Self-care is another crucial aspect of coping with loneliness during separation. Take time to focus on yourself and your well-being. Engage in activities that bring you joy and fulfilment, whether it's painting, gardening, or going for a walk in nature. Remember to try to take care of your physical health as well – eat well, exercise regularly, and get plenty of rest.

Coping with loneliness during separation is challenging, but it's not insurmountable. By reaching out for support, nurturing healthy relationships, and practising self-care, you can navigate this difficult time with resilience and strength. Remember, you're not alone, and there are people who care about you and want to help. So, don't hesitate to reach out and lean on your support system when you need it most.

If you're struggling with loneliness during separation and need support, don't hesitate to reach out to Imogen Ellis Jones Counselling. I'm here to help you navigate this challenging time with empathy and understanding. Contact me today to schedule a counselling session and take the first step towards healing and resilience.

Blog. Bristle effect

Managing the Bristle Effect: Navigating Intimacy in Relationships

As a counsellor in Surrey and Hampshire, I've noticed a growing trend that's sparking conversations and searches across the internet. With over 2.8 million Google searches the ‘Bristle Effect’ has gathered momentum as more individuals find themselves grappling with this phenomenon. Coined by Vanessa Marin, the host of the Pillow Talk podcast, it's a term that describes that moment of hesitation when their partner's touch feels, well, not quite right.

Picture this: your partner leans in for a kiss, and instead of feeling butterflies, you're hit with a sense of dread. "He's kissing my neck. That can only mean one thing, and I don't want that right now." Sound familiar? You're not alone. It's like your body's instinctive reaction is saying, "No !”

Mismatched sex drives are totally normal in relationships. Some of us are more comfortable with physical touch than others and that's okay. But what if the recoil has nothing to do with your partner at all? It could be linked to past trauma, resentment within the relationship, feelings of being unattractive or simply craving a deeper connection from your partner.

So, how do we manage the Bristle Effect?

Honesty is Key

It's important to be open and honest with your partner about how you're feeling. Instead of letting discomfort simmer beneath the surface try your best to have a calm heart-to-heart conversation. Share your thoughts and emotions in a compassionate and understanding manner. Remember, communication is the cornerstone of any healthy relationship.

Discover Your Love Language

Have you ever heard of Gary Chapman's five love languages? Take the quiz to discover your and your partner's. Understanding how you both express and receive love can provide invaluable insights into your relationship dynamics. From acts of service to physical touch, each love language is unique, and knowing yours can help bridge any gaps in communication.

Me Time is Essential

In the hustle and bustle of everyday life, it's easy to forget to prioritise yourself. Schedule regular "me time" and communicate this with your partner. Whether it's indulging in a solo hobby, taking a long bubble bath, or simply curling up with a good book, carving out time for self-care is essential for maintaining balance and harmony in your relationship.
Connect with Your Body: Sometimes the Bristle Effect can stem from feelings of insecurity or poor body image. Engage in activities that help you reconnect positively with your body. Whether it's going for a hike, practising yoga or treating yourself to a pampering spa day, find what makes you feel confident and empowered in your own skin.

Share the Load

Don't forget to share the responsibilities at home whether it's childcare, household chores or financial management. Feeling overwhelmed with tasks can take a toll on your emotional well-being and, consequently, your intimacy with your partner. By working together as a team you can lighten the load and create more time and space for intimacy and connection.

Prioritise Touch Every Day

Finally, prioritise touch every day, but remember, it doesn't always have to lead to sex. Whether it's a gentle hug, a lingering kiss or simply holding hands while watching TV, physical touch is a powerful way to foster closeness and connection with your partner taking the pressure off physical intimacy.

Ready to navigate the Bristle Effect and strengthen your relationship? Reach out to me today. Let's work together to create a more intimate and fulfilling connection with your partner.

Blog. infidelity

The Journey to Forgiveness: Rebuilding Trust After Infidelity

Infidelity in a relationship is a painful and challenging ordeal that can leave deep emotional scars. As a couple’s counsellor in Surrey and Hampshire, I've witnessed many couples struggling with the aftermath of infidelity. While it may seem like an insurmountable hurdle, the journey to forgiveness and rebuilding trust is possible. Today, let's explore the steps and insights that can help couples heal and grow stronger together.

Acknowledge the Hurt

The first step in the journey to forgiveness is acknowledging the pain and hurt caused by infidelity. It is essential for both partners to openly express their emotions, fears, and concerns in a safe and non-judgmental space. This step sets the foundation for honest communication and understanding.

Rebuild Communication

Effective communication is the cornerstone of healing. Both partners must be willing to listen actively and express themselves honestly. This may involve discussing the reasons behind the infidelity, addressing underlying issues, and establishing boundaries for future interactions.

Reconnect Emotionally

Rebuilding trust after infidelity requires reconnecting emotionally. Couples can work together to rekindle the emotional intimacy that may have been lost. This involves spending quality time together, showing affection, and nurturing the emotional connection.

Set Boundaries

Establishing clear boundaries is crucial to prevent future breaches of trust. Both partners should openly discuss their expectations and boundaries within the relationship. This transparency can help create a sense of safety and security.

Practice Patience

Healing takes time, and forgiveness is a process that cannot be rushed. It's essential for both partners to practice patience and understanding as they work through their emotions. Set realistic expectations for the journey ahead.


Forgiveness is not about forgetting but letting go of the resentment and anger that can eat away at a relationship. It's a profound and personal choice that can lead to healing. Forgiving does not mean condoning the infidelity but signifies a willingness to move forward.

Rebuild Trust

Rebuilding trust is a gradual process. It involves consistency, transparency, and demonstrating through actions that you can be relied upon. Trust is earned over time, and it's essential to remain committed to the journey.

Focus on the Future

While the pain of infidelity may linger, it's crucial for couples to focus on the future. Set goals, create new memories, and work together to build a stronger, more resilient relationship.

Seek Professional Support

The journey to forgiveness and rebuilding trust after infidelity can be challenging, and you don't have to go through it alone. If you and your partner are facing this difficult path, consider reaching out to me at Imogen Ellis Jones Counselling. I'm here to provide the guidance, support, and tools you need to navigate this journey together.

Remember, healing is possible, and with dedication, open communication, and professional support, you can rebuild trust and strengthen your relationship. Contact me today to take the first step toward healing and forgiveness.

Blog. argue

Top 10 Tips for Couples to Have Healthy Arguments

In the realm of relationships the saying goes "Couples that argue together, stay together” but what exactly does this mean and how can couples navigate disagreements to strengthen their bonds? At Imogen Ellis-Jones Counselling I believe that effective communication is the key to healthier more resilient relationships. Let's explore some do’s and don’ts for having productive arguments with your partner.

1. Address Behaviour, Not Character

When offering feedback during arguments it's crucial to focus on specific behaviours and not your partner's character. Instead of making sweeping statements about your partner's personality, discuss particular actions that bother you. For instance, say "I feel hurt when you don't show affection in public" rather than saying "You're never affectionate with me."

2. Avoid Absolute Statements

Using words like ‘never’ and ‘always’ in arguments can lead to defensiveness and escalate conflicts. Instead of making sweeping statements express your needs using ‘I feel’ statements. For example, say "I feel overwhelmed when household chores pile up. It would mean a lot to me if you could help with the washing-up" instead of saying "You never help out and you're lazy."

3. Steer Clear of Stonewalling

Giving your partner the silent treatment, known as stonewalling, can be emotionally damaging. It leaves your partner feeling abandoned and can intensify conflicts. If you need space say something like, "I'm not in the right headspace now, but I value your feelings. Let's take a break and reconvene in an hour."

4. Contempt: A Relationship's Worst Enemy

Contempt, which involves showing superiority through eye-rolling, mocking, or derogatory comments, is a dangerous communication strategy linked to separation. Instead, express your true feelings directly and avoid sarcasm or ridicule.

5. Avoid Parental Language

Treating your partner like a child when they act immaturely can backfire. Treat your partner as an equal adult to avoid making them feel controlled. Say, "I'd appreciate it if we could work together as a team" instead of saying “I've told you multiple times to do this."

6. Acknowledge Different Perspectives

Partners often recall events differently so focus on feelings rather than the details. Acknowledge your partner's emotions and express your willingness to understand their viewpoint.

7. Setting the Stage for Effective Communication

Initiate conversations thoughtfully. Ask if it's a good time to talk ensuring both of you are emotionally available and in a calm state of mind. Avoid discussing important matters when overwhelmed.

8. One Issue at a Time

Address concerns promptly rather than bringing up past issues. Stick to the specific matter at hand to prevent overwhelming your partner.

9. The Art of Repair

If an argument goes awry revisit the conversation and apologise for how it was conveyed. Avoid sweeping issues under the rug.

10. Change Requires Mutual Effort

Positive change in a relationship necessitates both partners' willingness to work together. If your partner isn't committed to change consider your own boundaries and the path forward.

At Imogen Ellis Jones Counselling, I understand that effective communication is vital for healthy relationships. If you're facing challenges or struggling with arguments, my counselling services are here to help. Contact me today to embark on a journey toward a stronger, more resilient love. Together, we can nurture understanding, empathy, and connection.

Blog. co parenting

Navigating Co-Parenting After Divorce

Divorce can be an emotionally tumultuous journey marked by the challenges of communication with your former spouse. The wounds may still feel fresh and conversations with them may trigger past pain. However, amidst this emotional turmoil, it's crucial to remember that your children’s well-being should always be a top priority. In this blog we will explore how to maintain healthy communication, whilst putting your children’s needs at the forefront, all the while continuing on your own healing journey.

Acknowledging the Challenges

Co-parenting after divorce can be incredibly challenging especially when communication feels like walking on eggshells. Past hurts and unresolved conflicts may resurface making interactions tense and triggering. It is essential to recognise these difficulties as part of the process but not as roadblocks to providing a stable and loving environment for your children.

Putting Children First

The cornerstone of successful co-parenting lies in your commitment to putting your children's needs above all else. Your children didn't choose divorce; they deserve a nurturing and secure environment where they can thrive emotionally and psychologically. By focusing on their well-being, you can find common ground and build a cooperative co-parenting relationship.

Effective Communication Strategies

Establish Boundaries: Set clear boundaries with your ex-partner to avoid misunderstandings. Discuss and agree upon important aspects of co-parenting such as visitation schedules, child support and decision-making responsibilities.

Open Dialogue: Maintain open lines of communication focused on your children’s needs. Keep conversations child-centred and avoid discussing personal grievances or past relationship issues.

Use Written Communication: For sensitive matters or discussions that might escalate, consider using written communication such as emails or co-parenting apps. This allows you to express your thoughts more thoughtfully and avoid confrontational in-person exchanges.

Consistency is Key: Consistency in schedules and routines helps provide stability for your children. Stick to agreed-upon plans and show respect for each other's time.

Seek Mediation: If communication breakdowns persist, consider seeking professional mediation or counselling services. A neutral third party can help facilitate discussions and find solutions that benefit your children.

Continuing Your Healing Journey

Remember, your healing journey is just as important as your co-parenting efforts. Seek support from friends, family or a therapist to work through any unresolved emotions relating to the divorce. By addressing your own healing you can be more emotionally available for your children and better equipped to handle the challenges of co-parenting.

Co-parenting after divorce may be challenging, but it is vital to prioritise your children’s well-being whilst maintaining effective communication. By putting your children first, and implementing healthy communication strategies, you can create a nurturing environment for them to thrive. As you continue your own healing journey, remember that support is available to help you navigate this complex and emotionally charged process.

If you are struggling with the challenges of co-parenting after divorce, please reach out to me at Imogen Ellis Jones Counselling for support

Blog. forest-path-fw

10 Tips on How to Reclaim Your Identity After Divorce

Divorce can be one of life's most challenging journeys, often leaving individuals feeling lost and overwhelmed. However, amidst the pain and uncertainty, there lies an opportunity to rediscover your strength and reclaim your identity. Here are some compassionate and practical tips to help you navigate this transformative period in your life.

Acknowledge Your Feelings: It's natural to experience a range of emotions after divorce, from grief and anger to relief and sadness. Allow yourself to feel these emotions without judgment. Counselling with Imogen Ellis Jones can provide a safe space to express and process these feelings.

Self-Care is Non-Negotiable: Make self-care a priority. Nurture your physical, emotional, and mental well-being. This could include exercise, meditation, spending time with loved ones, or seeking professional help when needed.

Rediscover Your Interests: Take this opportunity to reconnect with your passions and interests that may have been sidelined during your marriage. Which hobbies or activities once brought you joy? Reintegrate them into your life.

Set Boundaries: Establish clear boundaries with your ex-spouse to protect your emotional space. This is crucial for maintaining your sense of self and moving forward with your life.

Focus on Your Future: It's easy to dwell on the past during a divorce, but try to shift your focus toward your future. What do you want your life to look like post-divorce? Setting goals and envisioning a brighter tomorrow can be empowering.

Seek Support: Reach out to friends and family for support and companionship. Professional counselling with Imogen Ellis Jones offers a structured and empathetic space to work through complex emotions and develop coping strategies.

Self-Reflection: Take time to reflect on the lessons you've learned from your marriage and divorce. What can you take away from this experience to grow and evolve as an individual?

Build a Support System: Surround yourself with people who uplift and encourage you. Join support groups or connect with others who have gone through similar experiences. Building a strong support system is vital.

Embrace Change: Change is an inevitable part of life. Embrace it with an open heart and a positive mindset. This is an opportunity to redefine your identity on your terms.

Forgive and Let Go: Forgiveness is not about condoning actions but about releasing yourself from the burden of anger and resentment. Letting go can be a powerful step toward healing.

Remember that healing and rediscovering your identity after divorce is a personal journey, and it takes time. Be patient with yourself and seek professional help when necessary. Imogen Ellis Jones Counselling specialises in helping individuals navigate through the challenges of divorce, providing guidance, support, and a compassionate ear to help you find your strength and rebuild your life.

Blog. Forgiveness

The Power of Forgiveness: How to Move Past Hurt and Build a Stronger Relationship

In the journey of relationships, some conflict is inevitable. Whether it's a romantic partnership, a friendship, or a family bond, we all experience moments of pain and disappointment. However, harbouring resentment and holding onto grudges can hinder the growth of our connections. In this blog post, we will explore the power of forgiveness and discover how it can help you move past hurt and build a stronger relationship.

Acknowledge Your Emotions

When you've been hurt, it's important to acknowledge your emotions and allow yourself to feel them. Understand that it's natural to experience anger, sadness, or betrayal. Take the time to process these feelings, as denying or suppressing them can prolong your healing process.

Understand the Power of Forgiveness

Forgiveness is not about condoning or forgetting the hurtful actions. It is a powerful act of releasing yourself from the burden of resentment and choosing to let go of the negative emotions that weigh you down. Forgiveness empowers you to take control of your emotional well-being and opens the door for healing and growth.

Practice Self-Compassion

Forgiving yourself is as crucial as forgiving others. Acknowledge that everyone makes mistakes, and it's a part of being human. Be kind to yourself and allow for self-compassion. Remember that growth and learning come from acknowledging our flaws and embracing the opportunity to improve.

Communicate Openly

Clear and honest communication is key to rebuilding trust and understanding in any relationship. Express your feelings and concerns to the person who hurt you, emphasising the importance of open dialogue and mutual understanding. Share your perspective and actively listen to their side of the story. This process can foster empathy and pave the way for resolution.

Let Go of Resentment

Holding onto resentment only perpetuates negativity and prevents the healing process from taking place. Choose to let go of grudges and resentful thoughts. This doesn't mean forgetting the past or excusing the behaviour; rather, it's a conscious decision to release the negative emotions attached to the hurt. Freeing yourself from resentment allows you to create space for positive growth within the relationship.

Rebuilding Trust

Rebuilding trust takes time, patience, and consistent effort from both parties involved. Set realistic expectations and work together to establish boundaries and healthy communication patterns. Trust is nurtured through transparency, reliability, and the demonstration of genuine remorse. As you both actively invest in rebuilding trust, the relationship can grow stronger and more resilient.

Remember, forgiveness is a process, and it may not happen overnight. Each individual and relationship is unique, and the journey to forgiveness unfolds differently for everyone. Be gentle with yourself and allow yourself the time and space needed for healing.
The power of forgiveness lies in its ability to heal wounds, foster growth, and create deeper connections. By choosing forgiveness, you embrace the potential for a stronger, more compassionate, and fulfilling relationship.

If you're facing challenges in your relationship, know that you don't have to navigate it alone. I am here to provide support and guidance. Reach out to me today to schedule a session. Remember, seeking help is a sign of strength and a step towards building a healthier and more trusting relationship.

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