Frequently Asked Questions

Do you offer counseling over telephone, Skype or Facetime?

Yes. I’ve been working with clients over the telephone for over twenty years and over internet video connection since it became reasonably reliable.

Telephone and video counseling is a marvellous way to combine confidentiality with convenience.

My clients have discovered (some with a sense of surprise) that it is just as effective as working face-to-face. Now they like the saving in time that it provides, along with the ability to talk with me from any part of the globe.

This is especially useful when partners are involved in a long-distance relationship because a joint session can be organised even when they are thousands of miles apart.

Many people appreciate the privacy of ‘phone counseling in particular when they want to discuss something that might be too embarrassing for them face to face.

If you want to try ‘phone or video counseling, just email me using the form below and we’ll set up an appointment.

Do you offer individual counseling and coaching in Geneva?

Yes. I counsel individuals who may be single or in a relationship.

They may only wish to work on their own issues or they may be coming with a view to helping improve their existing relationship.

It’s not often realised that a lot of relationships and marriages can be improved even if only one partner decides to bring about the transformation.

It takes longer and carries the risk that the one person growing may move beyond their partner, but it’s still a very valuable process.

What are your fees?

I charge CHF 160.00 or the equivalent in your local currency per session.

Payment can be made by cash in person, by credit card or by bank transfer.

Clients may pay in currencies other than CHF such as USD, EUR, GBP etc.

My terms of appointment can be downloaded here: Practice Policies: Christopher J. Coulson

Please pay heed to the cancellation policy and to the confidentiality arrangements.

Do you offer any reduced rate or sliding scale places?

Yes. I reserve a small percentage of my practice for reduced-fee clients. This can be discussed at the introductory interview at which point we will make an agreement on fees. I should point out that the waiting time for these few slots is usually lengthy.

How long does the counseling or coaching process take?

It depends what you want to achieve.

There’s really no such thing as a quick fix. However, if you want to explore one issue, take the steam out of it and come up with a working arrangement for the future you can expect to spend six sessions with me.

It can take a while longer to much longer if you want to save a marriage that’s been severely damaged. It’s a bit like remodelling an old house – you never know what you’re dealing with until you uncover the structure.

However, unlike the house, you don’t have to make your complete investment before assessing the risk. After a session or two you will have gained a pretty good idea of what’s involved.

You are not asked to make any commitment to a given number of sessions, so you can decide to stop or continue at any time.

Do you assign blame?

Absolutely not. Even when one partner seeks to blame themselves for a crisis I will not support that position.

The reason is that relationship counseling or coaching is a pragmatic process, designed to produce a beneficial outcome for both parties.

Within the counseling it’s necessary to acknowledge that hurt has been done. But the couple must quickly move on to questions such as: “Is there, or could there be, enough value in this relationship for you to work on it and put the hurt behind you?”

I don’t want to give the impression that this is a dismissive process. Deep hurt calls for free expression of pain and condemnation and for others to listen. Sometimes, if the hurt has gone very deeply, this process may have to be repeated a number of times.

For a successful outcome, however, the ‘wronged’ individual must sooner or later put their hurt aside and start negotiating for something better for themselves. Otherwise they will hurt only themselves. And the ‘wrongdoer’ has at some point to be able to say: “I’m truly sorry for what I did, but now I’d like to ask you to put it behind us and join me in building a better future.”

I am pragmatic and optimistic and experience has taught me that couples are capable of much greater resilience and recovery than perhaps even they realise.

Do you offer pre-marriage counseling in Geneva?

Yes I do. Pre-marriage or premarital counseling has been identified as reducing the risk of divorce by up to thirty percent and to leading to a significantly happier marriage.

This is a highly relevant factor given that half of all marriages end in divorce and only half of those that endure are truly happy in the long run.

Perhaps surprisingly, it appears that marriages between individuals who were previously cohabiting have no better chance of marriage success than any others. This also applies to older couples who are remarrying after divorce or bereavement.

Their likelihood of happiness is no greater than the younger first-timer.

There are identifiable reasons for these failures, many of which can be predicted and neutralised ahead of time.

So a course of premarital counseling represents a small investment if it helps ensure your relationship is one of the positive ones.

Pre-marriage counseling tends to be quite structured. It is tailored to your needs by addressing issues that have already been identified by you as needing examination.

However, to be comprehensive it will also cover:

  • Compatibility
  • Expectations
  • Personalities and families-of-origin
  • Communication
  • Money management
  • Conflict resolution
  • Intimacy and sexuality
  • Long-term goals

A couple that is nervous of premarital work and the topics to be raised often discovers that it’s fun to have this discussion in a safe place. This then serves as a model for how to hold such discussions in the future.

If we decide to work with you during the interview can we do so?

Yes. Sometimes clients want to start work immediately and will ask after a while to turn the interview into a proper session. I will confirm with both of you that that is your desire and then we can proceed on a pro rata charging basis for whatever time is used.

I’ve heard of people becoming dependent on their counselors. How can I protect against that?

All relationships involve a measure of dependency: at least emotional and often practical and financial.

However, there are two forms of dependency.

One is the healthy dependency that we have on suppliers of everything from food to electricity. This form of dependency is characterized by a clear contract and understanding of the nature of the agreement.

Healthy dependency almost always has an identifiable and equal exchange of value at its root. This value may be expressed in emotional, physical or other currency. There are clear benefits.

On the other side, unhealthy dependency often implies a surrender of some aspect of ourselves in order to maintain a connection. Or we encourage the other party to resist growth so they may remain dependent on us. The transaction is not equal and is detrimental to both, albeit in different ways.

I have a low tolerance for unhealthy relationships. I find them unrewarding and stifling of growth.

As a relationship coach and counselor, a big part of my work is helping people learn how to create and maintain health in their mutual dependency. The ‘value exchange’ in emotional relationships between people can be almost as clearly defined as financial transactions at your supermarket.

So both for personal and professional reasons you will find that I actively discourage unhealthy dependency. If at any point you fear that your connection is too strong, it is a good idea to raise it for examination. This process will contribute a valuable experience to take into improving your other relationships.

What is the next step?

Complete the form below and ask to set up an appointment for your free exploratory interview.