Demystifying relationship counselling
If you’ve ever thought about having relationship counselling but want to understand more about what it is before you think about dipping your toe in the water, that’s completely understandable.
In this article, I tackle some of the common questions, including:
- Are you confused about what relationship counselling involves?
- Have you wondered who it’s for?
- Are you not sure how or if it can help with some of the key relationships in your life?
- Are you unsure of how to get started?
I want to help demystify these questions to give you a sense of what relationship counselling involves, and if you are interested to find out more then to encourage you to consider relationship counselling for any of the key relationships in your life.
What is relationship counselling?
We care deeply about the key relationships in our lives, but it’s also natural that they’re not always smooth sailing. External events can affect our core relationships, we can drift apart, we can stop communicating in a way that’s constructive, or maybe we’re simply not as close as we once were.
Relationship, or couples counselling, works with these times of difficulty or disconnection. It seeks to help you both learn about the issues that are happening right now, and how they’re impacting your relationship, and offers tools to change how you’re relating to each other about what’s going on.
Just like individual counselling, couples counselling can vary in approach based on different models and tools that the practitioner is trained in. This can sometimes be confusing, but what I believe matters the most for the couple is that the counselling is focused on supporting your relationship, working as a cheerleader for your relationship. It creates a facilitated, supportive space to help you see how you both contribute to the bits that aren’t working as well as you'd like and to work together to adapt your ways of relating.
Relationship counselling typically focuses on communication patterns, helping you work through topics that you may be struggling to discuss and resolve on your own, and supporting you to face the inevitable conflict and uncertainty that come up in relationships.
Who is it for?
This is one of my favourite questions. There’s often a view that relationship counselling is just for romantic couples – that doesn’t have to be true. Most of us experience challenges in our close relationships at different times, whether that’s with friends, colleagues, family members, and yes romantic partners.
Relationship counselling can be a great way to give any of these key relationships support at times of challenge and stuckness.
How can it help?
We all need support at times, including in our key relationships. Relationship counselling aims to build better understanding, communication, and behaviours by:
- Learning about your patterned ways of relating, and practical tools to help change those that aren’t working.
- Gaining a better understanding of the impacts of your behaviours on the other person.
- Working on changing communication patterns that aren’t working.
- Building a new muscle to increase your levels of understanding, vulnerability, and support within your relationship.
Of course, such changes come with hard work, persistence and bravery in showing up and trying to relate differently. I believe coming to relationship counselling shows how much to care about your relationship and the other person, it's a real act of devotion to your relationship. In return, a relationship counsellor can help you both move forwards in a more connected and meaningful way.