What can relationship counselling offer me?
Perhaps the main thing that relationship counselling offers is the opportunity to make sure that you are in the best position to enjoy your relationship. Relationships, like individuals are unique. In some we see couples who seem to disagree all of the time but seem happy with each other, in others there seems to be complete harmony, yet don’t talk for days if there is a disagreement. The key thing in relationships is how we communicate with each other. Is it respectful, supportive and aimed at promoting a joint or better understanding.
In fact most people associate relationship counselling with saving a relationship, often after a crisis such as one partner’s addiction or infidelity. The reality is that relationship counselling is there for the seemingly small things too. We often find that problems in a relationship have been building up a head of steam for a number of years then a trigger sets it off, the relationship looks like ending and couples start to search for a solution. In reality dealing with the smaller issue earlier may have prevented the problem in the first place.
A counsellor offers a safe neutral zone for you and your partner to explore issues and try to help you uncover the solutions that will work for you. For example Mary and James had been together for 8 years but recently Mary had noticed that James was drinking more and more. Yet she was afraid to talk to James for fear of seeming to nag and fear of how angry he became when he had been drinking. Through counselling Mary found the strength to tell James how much his drinking worried her and that it might split them up. James found the strength to admit that it worried him too, it was to relax because of the stress at work, which he had been bottling up rather than worry Mary. Through these encounters in counselling they had found the space to talk to each other, to be vulnerable in a safe environment. They had a counsellor who could help them focus on their feelings and the underlying issues. There is no perfect ending to this story, yet Mary and James are now much more honest about what is happening in their relationship and they offer each other much more support, Mary feels she understands James better and James is controlling his drinking and is careful to explain his anxieties to Mary .
The list of relationship problems that couples bring to counselling is endless but some of the more common ones are: Falling out of love, life events, new children in family, rows, extended family problems and step families.
The purpose of counselling is not to know the answers or to tell you what to do. The purpose is not to judge or criticise you or your relationship. The purpose is to offer greater insight into your problems to help you to understand the relationship and to help you to communicate in that relationship. Through that you can find the understanding of your partner and the solution to the difficulties.
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