The real truth behind relationship counselling

When your partner suggests marriage guidance or relationship counselling you are unlikely to be over the moon about it. Yet the reality is that it may be a more positive experience than you think. Many couples find the idea of relationship counselling something that makes them anxious, scared even. Often though it has the potential to strengthen and build relationships to a new level.

In essence relationship counselling is about communication to help you make sense of what is going on in your relationship. It may be to sort out disagreements or dissatisfactions or to deal with a host of other problems that couples face, but find difficult to discuss on their own. The counsellor helps the communication process without being judgemental or taking sides.

Often couples ask what the success rate of relationship counselling is. This is a really hard question to answer. Often couples only enter therapy when the relationship has entered a major crisis, which may be after years of problems. With the relationship in that condition then the chance of success are lower than the couple who decide to address their problems earlier. The longer you leave it the harder it is to change and repair the communication patterns that you have started to use as a couple.

Inevitably we have to accept that relationship counselling sometimes cannot save relationships. While working with a counsellor can bring out the problems and the issues and provide a forum for their discussion. The reality is that sometimes the relationship cannot be saved. Yet the work done can lead to a better ending with less pain for all involved.

Relationship counselling takes time and talking about your problems may not be comfortable or easy.  Sometimes you learn new things or new perspectives about each other and you may find the courage to be more honest than ever before with your partner. The process is to get you talking about and communicating about your relationship. The counsellor is not there as a referee but rather as someone to keep you focused on improving.

Relationships are not about you, they are about us. You will learn about yourself in the relationship and how your partner perceives the support that you give them, but only when the quality of the communication improves.

If you are considering relationship counselling you should both want to make a difference to your relationship? Your therapist will be looking for a commitment to be open to listening to your partner and being as open and honest as you can be about the problems. Finally a willingness to accept both change in yourself and your partner will be important. If you can at least offer these then there is a good basis to start effective relationship counselling.

Counselling Directory is not responsible for the articles published by members. The views expressed are those of the member who wrote the article.

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Glasgow, G46

Written by Graeme Orr

Glasgow, G46

Graeme is a counsellor and author living and working on the south side of Glasgow. In his practice he sees a number of clients with emotional, anxiety and self-esteem that have relevance to us all. His articles are based on that experience and are offered as an opportunity to identify with, or to challenge you to make changes in your life.

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