Counselling: helping us reconnect with those we love
Father, stepfather, mother, step-mother, son, wife, daughter, husband, nephew, niece, grandparent, best friend, lover, girlfriend, boyfriend.....and so it goes on.
A counsellor sees couples in many different guises. Whatever the relationship between those two people, I believe love is understanding and respecting the other person for who they really are and valuing them for their individual qualities. When love is in your life it is an attitude or a way of being which we show to another that we are caring, committed, loyal, trusting, kind, generous or tender.
Love helps others live their lives as they wish to. It supports them to feel capable of being what they want to be, not changing them into something we want them to be or what we want them to achieve.
Love is always with the best welfare of the other at the heart. Loved ones who accept one another and live as fully as each other wishes to, experience a relationship which can sometimes feel challenging and hard to get right but often their future together as friends, siblings or lovers is good.
Couples counselling works to reconnect people and help them to experience a mutually loving relationship. When dealing with relationship issues, the counsellor is a third person in the room maintaining neutral ground whilst connecting with each person’s experience of the relationship without judging or taking sides. Often two clients in an unhappy relationship will expect me to take sides or prefer one from another. There might be an expectation for me to find one person to be ‘right’ and the other ‘wrong’ and there is often relief for the one feeling blamed when I don't take sides. Each person has a voice.
A therapist will work by giving each person time to talk whilst the other listens so that they see the other’s arguments and understand what the experience is like for their loved one, accepting what each is going through. When clients truly listen to one another, the world looks different. Each is entitled to say what is wrong, feel what they feel.
Then things can start to move on. Assumptions about the relationship and behaviour of the other are realised to be misunderstood or misinterpreted. So we work together to close down these barriers and try to open up a new understanding of their situation, and how to communicate the ways in which each partner would like to move forward which is reasonable to all.
Couples who work with a therapist can find that they rediscover each other. Relationship counselling can teach them that having dialogue together about conflict is a good thing as it breaks down the taboo of not discussing problems or issues. Talking with each other openly, honestly and regularly in counselling sessions about things that are upsetting or are causing friction is a healthy attitude to maintaining good communication. This gives each person the chance to be heard. Dialogue, speaking and listening to each other, is paramount and allows love to exist between two people.
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