Ronnie Littlewood admits even she was a little amazed by the satisfaction she derived from her first several months of counselling couples in troubled marriages.
“It’s so surprising when people come to me with nothing but hateful words for one another, and see their relationship through a new lens after the first session,” said Littlewood, owner of The Couples Clinic.
Last year, the registered social worker with 16 years experience at the Children’s Aid Society, reduced her CAS hours and opened a private marriage counselling business.
“Since I put my website up, the phone hasn’t stopped ringing,” she said. “I can barely keep up with the demand.”
So Littlewood has decided to leave the CAS at the end of January and focus on full-time counselling with her Couples Clinic.
Littlewood, 42, attended Wilfrid Laurier University and holds a Master’s in Social Work (MSW). She’s been married 23 years and is raising four children, two who joined her family after their parents – and her good friends – died. She moved to Sarnia from Cambridge with her family five years ago.
“There is such a need in this community for marriage counselling,” she said. “Most people draw a blank on where to go for it, and it’s particularly hard to find when you’re under stress or feel distressed.
“Marriage is the hardest thing in the world and I want to make it easy to find help.”
Sarnians often have challenges because of the large proportion of shift work here, said Littlewood.
“Couples start living parallel lives because they aren’t with each other anymore,” she said. “There’s also a lot of men who are sent out west for work and the stress that creates.
“And, then there’s unemployment and the prevalence of addictions, anxiety and depression.”
The national rate of successful marriages is just over 50% and Sarnia is no different. But counselling can solve big problems and save families, said Littlewood.
“And, if they don’t think they’re going to make it, I can help them not to fight dirty.”
The Couples Clinic operates out of Littlewood’s home at 1568 Mego Court where she has renovated five rooms for offices and waiting space, with a separate business entrance. She charges $95 per hour.
Littlewood said she intends to offer two-day marriage retreats for couples to reconnect and learn new communication skills. She also has plans to hold workshops for women and is available for same-day emergency appointments at a slightly higher premium.
Call 519-541-9173 or visit www.thecouplesclinic.ca.
TWO TECH FIRMS MERGE
After a year of negotiations, LEADWAVE Technologies and Insight Data Systems merged as of Jan. 1.
Both the owner of Insight Data Systems, Chris Jillson, and its lead technician joined the LEADWAVE team.
Insight was formed in March of 1992 and became one of Sarnia’s longest standing IT companies.
Mat Berube, CEO of LEADWAVE Technologies, said the clients of Insight have been extremely loyal.
LEADWAVE offers IT solutions to small, medium and enterprise businesses.
The Business Journal is on hiatus. Watch for its return Feb. 25. Meanwhile, continue forwarding any interesting business story ideas to [email protected].