As someone with recognized credentials in the field of social work, Ronnie Littlewood has her first piece of advice from anyone who might think they would like professional help with a relationship.
Littlewood, who runs the Couples Clinic, a firm that is being helped through the Sarnia-Lambton Business Development Corporation, making sure the help is coming from someone qualified to do what’s needed is key.
“What I noticed several years ago was that people were typically advertising themselves as being an expert in everything,” says Littlewood, who recently came out on top in a “Win This Space” competition that was organized by the SLBDC.
While she hasn’t decided yet where her new offices will be located, Littlewood’s business—the Couples Clinic—is positioned to offer counselling services that relate to challenges faced by couples doing life together.
“I realized there was a real need for this kind of specialized counselling,” she said.
Opening her practice in January 2015 and moving to a location on London Line a year later, Littlewood now employs three social workers and an administrative assistant, but space is now at a premium, which prompted her to vie for the “Win This Space” program through the SLBDC.
“The need isn’t just here in Sarnia-Lambton,” notes Littlewood. “It’s everywhere.”
Prior to launching the Couples Clinic, Littlewood worked at the Sarnia-Lambton Children’s Aid Society for 16 years, much of that time working as a child abuse investigator.
The last five years, she worked in a role that focused on helping couples with relationship issues.
As part of her experience, Littlewood began to realize that the underlying reasons for conflict had more to do with how the couple was communicating about issues, not necessarily the issues themselves.
That understanding has become a basic part of her practice and how she helps clients.
“In the first two sessions we work on communication,” she said. “In the vast majority of cases, a couple is, after four to six sessions, able to deal with what they need to see improvements.”
Littlewood makes the point that the Couples Clinic therapists don’t take sides in a relationship.
“We help align things,” she adds. “If there are any ‘sides’ to be taken, it’s the relationship itself.”
Looking to the future, Littlewood has aspirations that include going beyond the community she now calls home.
“The SLBDC is helping me work toward realizing that dream,” she adds. “Ultimately, I’d like to help save one million marriages. But that starts with one couple at a time.”
Littlewood can be reached at (519) 541-9173.