Relationship Counselling is for Individuals and Couples wanting to improve the quality of your relationship. Many couples seek counselling when the relationship reaches crisis point, but it can also be beneficial before any major conflicts arise to help improve communication and feel connected.
Individual Relationship Counselling
It might be that you are not ready to attend counselling as a couple but are aware of tensions within your relationship. Gaining insight into your own relational patterns can sometimes be enough to change the way you relate to your partner. Having a greater understanding of your own needs is the first step in getting them met within your relationship.
Working on yourself separately from the relationship can help you uncover what might be at the core of reoccurring arguments or behaviours that crop up again and again not only in your current relationship but also in past relationships.
I can work with you to explore what might be sabotaging your relationships as we can sometimes be unaware of how our own unconscious behaviours might be contributing to tensions with a current partner. However, it is also important to remember, that relationships are a partnership and as such, we can only take our share of the responsibility for making them work. Relationship counselling can help you do to do that.
Couples Counselling offers you a neutral safe space in which you can explore your difficulties within the relationship. Many issues in relationships are caused by a lack of communication and validation of the other partner’s feelings and thoughts.
If it becomes apparent that individually, there may be unresolved issues to work through, then I may suggest that Individual Relationship Counselling may be a more appropriate starting point. This is to ensure that sessions remain focused on resolving issues specific to the relationship and as such the ‘relationship’ becomes the client.
My role is to provide you with the right environment to be able to talk freely and openly and to facilitate mutual and respectful dialogue. Having an impartial third party can help break the cycle of blame and confrontation that many couples get locked into.
How I work
One of the approaches I use in Couples Counselling is Solution Focused Brief Therapy which is a more directive approach based on looking at what already works well in the relationship, no matter how small, and building from there. It encourages a more positive stance and helps to diffuse fraught emotions are often brought into the therapy space.
I use a mixture of psychoeducation around the fundamentals of relationships and exercises for you to complete away from the sessions so that you can work together on identifying and changing behaviours that have become problematic.
This might include issues around:
- Roles within the relationship
- Shared responsibilities
- Family dynamics and commitments
- Impacts of work/career on the relationship
- Lack of intimacy/sex
- Quality time together
- Communication patterns
- Sense of identity outside the relationship
- External pressures such as finances, environment, caring responsibilities
All these aspects can put a strain on the relationship and having an understanding of how they might be impacting can be helpful in determining what needs to change so that you both start to work as a partnership in resolving the specific issues in your relationship.
Couples Counselling involves commitment and perseverance. If the way in which you relate to each other doesn’t change, it is unlikely that you will see much change in your relationship. So it is often helpful to enter into Couples Counselling with a willingness to try a different approach, even if there is resistance to it at first.
It is also important to remind yourself what it is that you love about your partner which can be easily forgotten when connection is lost and the focus has instead become on all the things that you don’t like about each other.
Specific Concerns in Relationships
Many couples seek counselling due to difficulties within their sexual relationship. As this can be difficult to talk about openly outside the relationship, Couples Counselling can be the first place where you feel comfortable enough to do so. Sex is an important part of most intimate relationships as it is what sets it apart from any other relationship we have.
Not all couple’s emphasis sex as being a priority in their relationship but for some it can become an important ingredient that helps bind the relationship together. So when difficulties arise, it can become a source of tension and undermine other parts of the relationship.
As a Couples Counsellor I can help to facilitate conversations around sex and what it means for you and how you can overcome difficulties within your sexual relationship.
Sexual difficulties can be complex and present in a variety of different ways. As a Relationship Counsellor it is important to distinguish what type of sexual difficulties may require a referral to a Psycho-Sexual Therapist.
Couples that deem the problem to be purely sexual rather than relational may be better suited to a Psycho-Sexual therapist who will explore any underlying psychological or organic factors that may be contributing to the on-going problems.
Affairs and Infidelities
Affairs and infidelities in a relationship can often shake the very foundation it is built on. It can become the point at which there is no return for some, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be. Many relationships can survive affairs and with the help of a therapist, help to make the connection stronger.
Although what may constitute as an infidelity may be different from one person to another, it usually leaves one partner feeling betrayed, devastated, abandoned, angry and confused. It can also cause the other to feel guilt, remorse and a realization of the damage to the relationship. It can lead to feeling of inadequacy and resentments and shatters trust.
It is essential to allow time to come to terms with the many emotions that can surface when confronted with the repercussions of an affair or rupture to the relationship.
There will often be many questions as to why it happened and for what reason, which can be varied. There is usually some element of dissatisfaction in the relationship and Couples Counselling provides the neutral space in which to explore this.
It can also help to work through feelings about whether you feel the relationship can continue and if there is a pathway back to trust and forgiveness to rebuild and move forward.
Couples Counselling is not a guarantee that your relationship will survive, as that very much depends on you. But it can help you to reconcile problems and find new ways of relating that can improve the quality of your relationship.
For some couples, it may help you decide that the relationship is beyond repair and as such Counselling can help you to separate in a more harmonious and respectful way. Either way Relationship Counselling could a step in the right direction for you and your relationship.
If you would like to work with me for Relationship Counselling click on the link below.