About Nancy

Nancy St. John Certifications

I believe in the power of couples therapy and I approach each couple with a vision:

  • To get to the heart of where their marriage or relationship is faltering.
  • To identify how each partner is contributing to where they are stuck.
  • To help each partner set meaningful goals that they are excited about working on.
  • To guide and support each partner as they learn new skills which will mature and transform their own character and their relationship.
  • To help each partner develop loving and enriching ways of connecting with each other.

I have been married to my husband, David, for almost 40 years. Our children are grown up and we are now at the stage of having young grandchildren so I understand the joys, challenges, and pressures that marriage and families can bring.

I was in my mid-40s when I became a counsellor and I quickly realised that I love working with couples! It didn’t take long though for me to notice that while I could work really effectively with some couples I struggled and felt totally inept with others.

In pursuit of becoming skilled advanced practitioner, I enrolled in Dr. Ellyn Bader’s online couples therapy training in 2010 and learned a developmental approach to couples therapy that has helped me to work successfully with challenging and complex relationship problems.

I have continued in advanced training ever since. I am part of a select team hired by Dr. Bader to assist new members in integrating the developmental approach and in 2016 I graduated from the Bader-Pearson Couples Institute Master Mentoring Program.

The Developmental Model of Couples Therapy looks at the natural evolution of a couple’s relationship, the psychodynamic influences and negative interactions that can lead to instability and distress in relationships. I encourage couples to look for ways to change themselves and I coach partners on the necessary skills to interact openly and effectively with each other.

When I meet a couple I look at their relationship through the developmental lens. It is important for me to learn about your history:

  • How did you get together?
  • Were you able to form a secure bond or did you have a complicated start?
  • When did each of you first begin to feel disillusioned?
  • How did you handle this?
  • Are you able to ask for support?
  • Can you comfort each other or do your disagreements end in fighting or withdrawal?

Gottman Certification Map Nancy St JohnA big emphasis of my work is supporting each partner’s differentiation, helping each of you to see that your differences – which many couples see as problems – are really opportunities to develop your own character and to bring intimacy, vitality and maturity into your relationship.

I encourage each person to talk about what is important to you and get curious about your partner’s perspective – especially when you disagree!

I will help you to identify the negative cycle you are caught in and I will provide each of you with ways to communicate your desires effectively without resorting to conflict. It is from this place that trust, excitement and intimacy can begin to be nurtured and restored.

Marriage breakdown can be devastating, especially when children are involved. As a certified Discernment Counsellor when one or both partners are leaning towards ending their marriage I help couples to develop a deeper understanding of what happened to their relationship and what each person’s contributions to the problems are so they can make a clear decision about the future of their relationship.

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Nancy St. John