Relationship counselling will it make the difference?
Almost every relationship will have ups and downs, indeed it might be seen as healthy in a relationship that the partners can disagree and can challenge each other. However, there are times when the challenges and the problems threaten the relationship itself. The causes are almost too numerous to mention but some of the more common issues that bring people into counselling are infidelity, sexual and libido problems, drifting apart, family problems, indifference and many others.
Research has shown that nearly half of couples have endured two years of relationship problems before seeking help and this is a pity, because the longer you leave the problems the greater time there is for positions to become entrenched and for resentment to build up. Many counsellors talk of couples only seeking help when their relationship needs intensive care. If your relationship is at a stage where it is increasingly difficult to talk about the problems either because it ends in a fight or you feel you can’t talk about it, then perhaps the time has come to ask for help.
There are two issues that most clients struggle with and perhaps it is these that keep them from seeking help for so long.
There can be little doubt that entering counselling can be an anxious time. The prospect of talking about you with a stranger and being vulnerable is for most people a daunting one. If you are to go with your partner, who may criticise you and you may attack your opinions or character that can make the prospect even harder. It may be the opposite, you may say things you know will hurt your partner and you want to avoid that level of honesty all of these are factors that can keep a couple from seeking help.
There is also a question of will it make a difference to our relationship. Will it help? It seems difficult to see what difference if any therapy might make to your relationship.
If relationship counselling is anything it is about making space for the relationship. Couples will have chosen to come together and will have co-operated in the past. Counselling is about helping you to find the way that the relationship can once again balance itself, so that you can have the space to listen and be heard in the relationship. The role of the counsellor is to help your process both in finding that place and in being able to continue it after counselling has ended.
If you can both commit to counselling and change your relationship then the rewards can be great. Many find that the counsellor reduces their anxiety because they are not there to judge or to sort right from wrong, but to help explain and help you to be heard. Sometimes the counsellor can help you talk about strong feelings or difficult subjects in your relationship that would be too difficult on your own.
Whether counselling can make a difference to your relationship is probably based on a number of factors. There is little doubt that it can help if both partners are committed to trying to improve things. Dealing with problems early on makes a big difference to the outcome, and while the process isn’t necessarily a smooth road or necessarily predictable. You may end up with a changed view of your relationship and your partner, and it is that difference, that changed view, that can save your relationship.