Counselling and relationship issues

There has been much written about relationship issues. Perhaps it reflects the wide variety of things that can go wrong with our relationships, perhaps it reflects our need for a relationship that works in our life, so we are prepared to fight for it. Whether a friend, a family or a partner, it is true that a good relationship can be a great source of love, pleasure and excitement in your life.  

Finding a way to make relationships work, especially where there is conflict, can make a huge difference to how we feel about ourselves and our lives. In this article we will concentrate on a relationship but the principles transfer well to a friend or a family.

What causes relationship issues

Often relationship issues stem from differing expectations. One partner expects the other partner to act or do things in a certain way and is upset or frustrated when that doesn’t happen. If these feelings are not expressed they can lead to repressed feelings which become anger over time. Consider the couple who came to counselling and she exclaims, “You never show me you love me”, “Nonsense, I bought you a diamond ring only last week”, he returns. She is looking for, expecting an emotional response while he expresses himself through acts of kindness. Neither is wrong, they are simply talking different languages.

Communication is probably the most talked about subject when relationship issues are discussed. Unfortunately many people equate this to explaining how they feel. Almost more important is listening, so that you understand how the other person feels. Ideally before speaking you should be able to express how the other person feels better than they could themselves. When we feel heard and understood we are much more open to new or different ideas.

Often the reason couples finally come to counselling is that they have lost the ability to talk to each other. Any discussion seems to break down and either ends in a fight or silence. Probably the most important skill a couple can have is a way to deal with conflict. It is about knowing why you are arguing, being honest about what you feel, acknowledging the other person, sticking to the point and stopping if it gets too heated. Relationship issues are often caused when conflict has become generalised, or about past disputes, or are long endless arguments are bitter and intended to injure the person. It is possible with a skilled counsellor to learn good skills for arguing constructively.

Tackling the problems

Understanding and finding a way to deal with relationship problems is important for the health of your relationship. Many couples manage to find a way to do this themselves, but it is equally important to realise when you need help and to ask for it, sooner rather than later. Relationship problems are no different to other problems in life: if you tackle them early they are simpler to deal with. Don’t be afraid to see what your local relationship counsellor can do for you.

Counselling Directory is not responsible for the articles published by members. The views expressed are those of the member who wrote the article.

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Glasgow, G46

Written by Graeme Orr

Glasgow, G46

Graeme is a counsellor and author living and working on the south side of Glasgow. In his practice he sees a number of clients with emotional, anxiety and self-esteem that have relevance to us all. His articles are based on that experience and are offered as an opportunity to identify with, or to challenge you to make changes in your life.

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