Relationship counselling (sometimes called marriage counselling) is about helping you build, maintain and develop healthy relationships. It can help individuals who have difficulties forming or maintaining relationships, those contemplating marriage, and anyone who is facing challenges in their relationships. These can include siblings, parents and children, and those in romantic relationships.
Couples face all kinds of issues, including:
- Preparing for marriage
- Dealing with conflicting "time clocks" or ways of being
- Coping with a new baby, teenagers or children leaving home
- Arguments, conflict or domestic violence
- Recovering from an affair, the use of pornography or Internet sex
- Sexual problems, including sexless relationships and lost libido
- Difficulty maintaining a healthy work/home life balance
- Step-parenting and blended families
- Considering ending the relationship and the challenges this brings
- Dealing with a failed relationship
Sometimes the issues may seem clear. Other times there doesn't appear to be a specific problem, Many couples say, "We just don't talk anymore" or "We have just drifted apart".
Whether you're just starting out in your relationship, have been together years, or feel your relationship is coming to a natural end, couples counselling can help you explore your situation and improve your relationship.
Would I Benefit from Relationship Counselling?
A lot of people think that relationship counselling is only for couples whose relationship is falling apart, seeing it as, maybe, the last chance they have to save their relationship. In fact, relationship therapy can help at all stages of a relationship. Most people don't wait until their car has broken down before taking it for a service or MOT. In the same way, marriage counselling can help keep even a good relationship on track.
What Can I Expect from Relationship Counselling?
Every person who comes for counselling is unique, as is every relationship. There is, therefore, no particular outcome I can promise from our work. However, I will offer you a warm, safe environment is which you can explore your situation and help you move to the best resolution for you.
Once you have made an appointment, you will be seen by a qualified, experienced counsellor who has undergone additional training and gained significant experience working with relationship issues. Your therapist will ask you some questions to help them understand what's brought you to counselling and what you would like to achieve as a result. During this session, we would also discuss how often we will meet, agree our fees, etc.
You can come to counselling individually or as a couple. If you came as a couple, we would usually arrange at least one individual session with each person to enable to us gain an understanding of their background, feelings and expectations, before coming back to work as a couple. If you initially came on your own but then wanted to come together, this may be possible at the start of the work but would not, normally, be possible if we had built up an existing relationship as it may feel unbalanced.
Frequently Asked Questions
Will Relationship Counselling Help Me?
Evidence has shown that the vast majority of people who come for relationship counselling benefit from it. For some people, this can be the transformation or restoration of their relationship. For others, it may help them resolve a particular issue, assist them in finding a voice, or, even, enable them to bring their relationship to a conclusion, with the least possible pain and in the most constructive manner.
What If There Is Domestic Abuse?
My priority is to keep you safe during a session, and I have had substantial training and experience to enable me to do that. If there is current or recent domestic abuse, then we would need to talk about the abuse and make an assessment of the risk of proceeding against the benefits that you may get from counselling. It should be noted that domestic abuse takes many forms, for example giving the cold-shoulder, name-calling, shouting and aggression, as well as domestic violence. Where children are involved, there may be safeguarding issues, but your counsellor would talk this through with you before you started to tell your story.
Will Therapy Help Me Improve My Personal Relationships?
It is important that your therapist is someone with whom you can build trust. In that trusting relationship, you can begin to consider different ways of communicating with others, how to communicate your needs and hear the needs of others. More fulfilling and trusting relationships are the likely result, whether you are currently in a relationship or not.
Marriage Counselling Can Be Difficult. Will It Be Worth It?
Yes, marriage counselling can be challenging and, sometimes, quite stressful. However, most people have said they made a lot of progress and that it was worth it in the end. Your counsellor will never make you talk about anything you don't want to address and will always endeavour to provide a safe environment, moving at your pace.
Will I need to talk about sex?
Well, that depends on you. If you want to talk about sexual issues, your counsellor will do everything in their power to help you feel comfortable doing so, but they won't push you to go there unless you want to. It is true that many couples experience challenges with regards to their sex life and your therapist may be able to help you find a resolution to them.
What if one person doesn't want to come?
It is very common for one side of a couple to be reluctant to come to couple's therapy. Sometimes because they are not used to talking about things, or they don't know what to expect or think it's going to be all about staying together. Your counsellor is used to this and will endeavour to help them relax and feel at ease. If they come to the first session but don't want to continue, that's fine. Even if the other person is unwilling to attend, relationship counselling may help you determine what you want and how to move forwards.
What if someone had an affair?
Affairs and betrayals are devastating in any relationship, and it can be hard to recover from them, but recovery is possible. Your counsellor will help you unravel what went wrong and help you move forwards in whatever way is right for you. They will not take sides or judge, but help you talk safely, openly and honestly, moving towards an appropriate resolution for you.
Where To Go From Here
The best thing might be to contact me by phone (07760 116985), email or text, to discuss your needs and, possibly, make an initial appointment. Making that first appointment doesn't commit you to therapy, and I would not charge you if you did not want to continue, for any reason.