Relationship Counselling and Couple Counselling

The close relationships we develop with our partners, family or friends can be a great resource of comfort, love, support, fun and excitement, but at times they can also cause us frustration, distress and pain.

Generally speaking, it is in our closest relationships that we look to get our emotional needs met and on which we can feel most dependent. It is in these relationships that we often experience our most intense feelings, both pleasurable and difficult and can feel at our most exposed and vulnerable.

Relationship problems are one of the most common reasons that people go to see a therapist and amongst the issues that people commonly bring are:

• Difficulty in finding or sustaining a relationship
• Continually making bad choices in partners or seeming to attract the ‘wrong types’,
• Infidelity
• Difficulty in trusting or trusting people too readily
• Communication difficulties
• Fear of intimacy
• Sexual difficulties
• Issues of control
• Being/feeling dominated
• Problems around assertiveness
• Wanting to rescue
• Feeling victimised
• Feeling dependent
• Feeling unloved or unimportant

One of the most difficult times for people that fall in love can be the inevitable period in which the in-love feeling begins to fade, this could be anywhere from a week to several years. The person that they thought was ‘the one’ may no longer seem to be so and may no longer seem to meet their needs in the same way. Being with them may not seem effortless or exciting any more and their partner’s imperfections may become only too visible and irritating.

If a person believes that love should be easy or that the in-love feeling is what defines a good or successful relationship (a notion so often popularised in romantic novels, TV and film), when things become more difficult they may feel like they have made a terrible mistake and that everything has gone dreadfully wrong. They may often end the relationship they are in, begin another and start the cycle all over again.

Conversely, whilst fully enjoying the experience of being in-love, it is generally helpful if a person is aware of the impermanence of the initial ‘in love’ feeling, has an appreciation for the fact that sooner or later it will fade, and that this fading marks a point where true loving can begin. The act of true loving can be seen as the effort, commitment, understanding and compromise that every enduring loving relationship will demand.

Couple Counselling

All relationships can be challenging and it is at times of struggle that people may seek out the professional help of a counsellor or psychotherapist. The therapist will provide a safe environment and an opportunity for the couple to talk about how they are feeling and behaving towards each other, help them identify what the problem is and how it has arisen and how it is affecting their relationship.

With the assistance of a skilled therapist who can offer the right kind of support and understanding, they can learnt to better understand each other and each other’s point of view and to communicate it more productive and meaningful ways.

This usually involves the couple becoming more aware of their feelings, beliefs, values, ideas, thoughts and behaviours in order to bring about a greater awareness of their problem; and exploring alternatives that may help them move forward, towards the kind of relationship that they are looking for.

Couples in counselling often report benefits that include:
• Improved communication
• Greater understanding and accepting of their differences
• Arguing less
• Being able to resolve conflicts
• Better joint problem solving
• A reconnection with each other and greater intimacy
• Improved sex life
• Rediscovering the fun and joy of being with each other.