Some people might take the view that attending relationship counselling is an admission of failure - something we only consider in a final attempt to save a relationship that’s gone wrong. Another way of looking at this is to say that going for counselling is a sign of our willingness to be proactive and try to resolve problems rather than avoid them.
After all, it can take some courage to recognise when we're experiencing difficulties in our relationship and make the decision to pick up the phone and talk to a counsellor. The fact is that sometimes it can simply feel too difficult to cope with relationship problems on our own and on these occasions it's quite natural to seek counselling to help us to find a way through. Also, attitudes have changed over recent years with the development of social media and we're much more open to the idea of talking about our problems and asking for help than we might have been in previous times.
Increasingly, people have come to recognise that if we care about our relationships it's worth investing time and effort in making them work. We can also find ourselves needing help at different stages of our relationships and whilst it would be unwise to see counselling be a cure-all - we still have to put in our own effort - it can certainly help us to improve things with our partner before problems develop into a crisis. It's worth remembering that no issue is ever too small to discuss in counselling and we don't have to wait until things get really bad before we take steps to improve our relationship. Even when things feel really difficult couples can often be surprised how much counselling can help to get the relationship back on track.
What sorts of issues can relationship counselling help us with?
It doesn't matter if you are living together, married, gay or straight, any issue that's causing difficulties in your relationship can be discussed in the safe environment of a counselling session.
Here are just some of the common issues facing couples today.
End of a long term relationship
Starting a new relationship
How would we work together in counselling?
If issues like the ones mentioned here have been on your mind for some time chances are you might be feeling tired and stressed as you go over things again and again searching for answers. When we feel like this counselling can help us to share our deepest thoughts and concerns in confidence with someone who will really hear us. Counselling isn't about taking sides - instead it's more to do with the counsellor being by your side, being available and offering both partners the kind of impartial support you want at the time you most need it.
Whilst no one should claim counselling can provide instant solutions couples and individuals often say that talking over relationship issues with a professional counsellor can be transforming - calming tensions and paving the way for meaningful dialogue and renewed understanding that continues outside of therapy. Attending counselling can strengthen our capacity for self-reflection, enabling us to recognise when our own behaviours might be unreasonable and encouraging us to be more thoughtful and considerate towards our partner. At the end of counselling many couples feel they have been able to resolve old hurts and move ahead leaving tensions and conflict behind them.
My commitment to you
My aim is to provide sessions that will offer you a sanctuary for sharing the strong feelings and issues that have brought you to counselling in the first place. Often, when things go wrong in our relationships it can feel difficult to set aside the tensions and disagreements that are being felt "in the moment". However, in order to repair our relationship in the long-term it is essential to look beyond the immediate story of our current grievances and consider what the process of relating to each other looks like. It may be that we have lost vital communication skills in the fog of misunderstanding that has come to characterise the way we are behaving in the relationship and so we may need to relearn ways to actively listen and hear each other.
By being less insistent on asserting our viewpoint and focusing instead on developing skills that involve observing ourselves and our own behaviours we can become usefully curious about the part we may be playing individually in maintaining our difficulties. Working from these simple foundations the hope is that we can begin to heal the relationship, move forward positively and sustain the gains achieved in counselling.
If you have been experiencing relationship difficulties, please feel free to call me for a free initial consultation to discuss your issues in complete confidence.