Relationship counselling: Can you have it on your own?
Relationship counselling can be very helpful for a couple to have together when there are issues between them. But does it make sense for some people to have counselling to help them with relationship problems on a one-to-one basis?
There are actually many situations where this could be helpful. If you have just experienced the break up of a relationship, a counsellor can offer support to express your feelings in a confidential space. Although friends can be great to talk to in this situation, not everyone wants to show themselves as vulnerable and upset in front of their mates. Sometimes members of your social circle may have divided loyalties, or may try to persuade you in a particular direction, like getting back together with your ex. A counsellor is neutral so they can help you get an unbiased perspective on what has happened.
Perhaps you are in a difficult relationship and are wondering whether it’s time to call it a day, or whether there’s a different way to handle things. A counsellor can listen to you carefully as you explore your options, and can use their experience to help you decide what’s the right way forward for you.
Maybe you’ve gradually realised that all your relationships seem to go wrong in the same way. A counsellor can share with you up-to-date psychological understanding of typical patterns in relationships, and can work with you to change your ‘default setting’ to a more healthy way of relating.
There may be a specific behaviour you do which makes relationships difficult, e.g. you have a tendency to lose your temper very easily, or you get extremely jealous. Counselling can show you specific ways to control yourself and enable you to react more flexibly. If it turns out your issue needs specialist help, then your counsellor can signpost you towards the right expert.
You might also think that relationship counselling only applies to relationships between partners, but you can also explore relationships between family members, such as parents and children, or work colleagues, or friends.
So learning more about your own relating patterns in this way – just you on your own in a safe and private space with a skilled helper – can give you a new understanding and a new start in all your relationships.