Valentine's Day - Is It Happy Ever After?
Written by listed counsellor/psychotherapist: Debbie Gillespie MSc PGCD MBACP (Accd) UKCP Reg Psychotherapist & Supervisor
6th February, 2011
Valentine's Day may be the only time we really celebrate our relationships even though they're a really important basis on which to fulfill a basic human need such as intimacy and be able to enjoy life as well as bring up children and be successful at work.
Relationships start with the best of intentions, but the pressures of life, children, work, and money worries take over eventually and suddenly it seems like everything we don't like about our lives is our partner's fault!
Many people's response to this is divorce leading to even more heartache, disruption for the children and often financial disaster. Sadly, more people file for divorce between Christmas at Valentine's Day than at any other time.
Counselling is a non-judgemental alternative where it's the relationship that is being reassessed not a process of deciding who is to blame.
Relationships don't come with an instruction manual and few of us get any training in how to be in a relationship, except perhaps as children watching our own parents' stormy or frosty exchanges.
Communication is the basis of a good relationship and one of the early stages of couple's counselling is to help the couple to learn how to really communicate about such crucial things as what they really want from their relationship, how to be honest about what they're actually getting and how they feel about that.
Counselling can be very challenging and hard work, especially when it comes to making the behavioural changes that are an important milestone in improving a relationship, and couples often need to be prepared to make a long term commitment to this work as they may have experienced many years of disappointments, hurts and frustrations before finally coming to counselling, and these need to be properly accounted for. A study by Relate showed that 80% of couples who had counselling said that it improved their relationship.
For the same amount of money that couples might spend on a romantic weekend for Valentine's Day, that at best will soon be over and at worst ends in disaster, they could have three months of counselling that could change their relationship for ever.
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