Relationship counselling can help improve the way we relate to the people around us and break free of old patterns to realise our potential. It is usually an integral part of personal or individual work.
To address problems in our intimate relationship it may be appropriate to consider couples counselling when the relationship, rather than each of the individuals, is considered the 'client'.
Our sense of identity and self-worth rests on the strength of our relationships and often we despair when they fail. Our ways of relating are learned at a young age in the family in which we grew up and we can become stuck in unhealthy and unhelpful habits that restrict our lives.
Under pressure we often revert to familiar patterns. The family scapegoat may find herself quick to accept blame when the pressure builds up at work. The assistant, who was bullied as a child, may find himself drawn to inviting criticism from an overbearing boss.
Self-respect and liking oneself are the most important ingredients for any good relationship. If these are in short supply you may consider counselling to address them. Any relationship that diminishes a person's self-esteem should be examined closely.
On this page
Symptoms of relationship difficulties
- repetitive, destructive patterns at work or home
- 'here we go again' feelings
- feeling bullied or pressurised
- feelings of being held back for no apparent reason
- limiting of social life for fear of consequences
- anxiety or depression.
Relationship counselling can offer the chance to examine our patterns of interacting with those around us to allow us to lead healthier and happier lives. We can improve our relationships with work colleagues, friends or an intimate partner when we make conscious choices and learn new skills.
Managing conflict is one of the corner stones to improving relationships. It is unrealistic to hope to avoid it. Differences can be acknowledged with respect to allow people to co-exist in any environment – at work or play. Learning the skills to negotiate and communicate better can allow unhealthy patterns to change.
Understanding the value of self-esteem can help address difficult issues with the greatest chance of success. Transactional analysis and cognitive behavioural therapy are just two of a vast array of tools which can help focus on healthier ways to deal with people. Individual counselling can help build confidence and self-esteem.
Couple counselling may be useful to examine problems in our main, intimate relationship.
How can relationship counselling help?
- destructive patterns of relating can be recognised and addressed
- conflict and communication can be improved
- new relationship skills can be learned
- the effect of change can be examined
- relationships can be more successful
- abusive relationships and domestic violence can be acknowledged.
Counselling can help us to understand the messages and habits we may have inherited from the family in which we grew up and offer new, healthier skills to realise our potential.
Types of relationship issues
- couples counselling
- affairs & betrayal
- separation and divorce
- pre-nuptial counselling
What should I be looking for in a counsellor or psychotherapist?
Whilst there are no official rules and regulations in position that stipulate what level of training and experience a counsellor dealing with relationship issues needs, we do recommend that you check your therapist is experienced in the area for which you are seeking help.
A Diploma level qualification (or equivalent) in relationship counselling or a related topic will provide assurance and peace of mind that your counsellor has developed the necessary skills.
Another way to assure they have undergone specialist training is to check if they belong to a relevant professional organisation that represents couples counsellors.
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Content written/edited by Denise Pickup BACP (Accred) in 2008. All content displayed on Counselling Directory is provided for general information purposes only, and should not be treated as a substitute for advice given by your GP or any other healthcare professional.
Whilst we endeavor to ensure all information is accurate, Counselling Directory make no representations or warranties of any kind, whether express or implied, as to the accuracy of the information included within the website. Any dependence you place on such information is therefore strictly at your own risk.
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- Marriage (relationships)
- 5 ways to strengthen your relationship
- Why can't I have the relationship I want?
- ‘Silent divorce’ – when you are together still, but you have drifted apart
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- How love heals: Kindness and acceptance in the therapeutic relationship
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- Building And Managing Relationships
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