Couples Counselling - not just for 'couples'

Whilst couples counselling often conjures up the thought of ‘partners’ of male/female, male/male or female/female, couples counselling can often benefit other types of couples such as siblings, parent/son or daughter or even friends or work colleagues. In other words when there is two people whose relationship has hit a difficult patch for any reason and they want to work out a way forward.

Lack of communication is often at the heart of the relationship difficulties – but why does lack of communication happen?  The reasons are varied but can include:-

  • Emerging differences about values or beliefs – for example the way money is spent or saved, how important holidays are, what emphasis is put on day to day tasks such as cleaning, how retirement should be planned for or spent. As we experience more of life our values and beliefs grow and change and this will effect the couple’s relationship.
  • Change in circumstances – we all face changes in circumstances as we grow up and move through life. This can often bring people to counselling as one person wants to change something more than the other – a new job in a different part of the country, a change in working hours or salary, children leaving home (or coming back), the death of a parent that means extra consideration needs to be given to the surviving parent. Maybe one person has been diagnosed with a medical or mental health condition and the couple need to work out how they will cope with this and what they need to change.

These are all difficult situations to navigate and may trigger past events or behaviour patterns that make communication between the couple break down or extremely difficult. Often they have stopped listening to each other because they think they have heard it all before.

These types of issues are common and our own histories and personalities will influence how we deal with these issues and what makes it difficult. People often need a counsellor who will be impartial and help them communicate differently so they can move forward. It is their choice how they want the relationship to continue – sometimes this means learning new skills and sometimes it means working out a way to bring a relationship to a close.

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