Counselling for couples
When working with a couple the focus is not just on the well-being of the two people involved, but also on the healthiness of the relationship between them. In a way it often feels as if there are four people in the room - the couple, the relationship and the therapist. he interactions between these four often makes a counselling session feel very busy and intense.
The therapist has a number of roles within a session:
- To slow everything down, giving each person the time and space to say what is important to them, and to ensure they are heard.
- To maintain a safe space within the room, making sure that, as far as possible, no one feels fearful of verbal abuse (any physical abuse would not only end that session, but any possibility of further sessions).
- To find out from each partner what they feel the problems are within the relationship.
- To work towards an idea of what each partner would like the relationship to be.
- Where necessary, to help a couple in making the difficult decision whether to stay together or not, and to support them in that decision.
- To monitor, with input from the couple, the frequency of sessions (e.g. weekly, fortnightly, monthly) and to decide when counselling should be ended.
It is not the role of the therapist to tell people how to 'mend' their relationship, or to impose their own ideas and values. Couples should feel empowered by counselling to make their own decisions.
About the author
I have been counselling for over 25 years for a wide variety of problems, including addictions. I am an accredited member of BACP with a Diploma in Counselling and an Advanced Certificate in Couples and Relationship Counselling.
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