Why counselling helps your relationships

Clients often come into counselling having difficulties with their relationships. It may be that one relationship feels problematic, or that relating more generally is the challenge. Whichever is the case, it can be painful to find relationships that matter to you are not working as you wish them to. Unless you are in couples counselling, only one partner in your relationship is in the room - you. So how can counselling help?

When you enter counselling, you begin a new relationship, one with your counsellor. This is, in some ways, a strange relationship, because you are sharing intimate information with your counsellor, telling them things that matter deeply and that you would perhaps not say to anyone else. They, on the other hand, are telling you nothing about their life.

To be frank, this can at times feel a bit odd. However, it can also be liberating. Here is a person with whom you do not have to pretend. Someone unconnected to the rest of your life, with no perspective on you based on anything other than what you bring into the counselling room. You do not need to be concerned about what they think of you, or how they might behave, because you know they are there to support and enable you, and that they have been trained to listen without judgement or agenda.

The more you are able to be open and honest with yourself and your counsellor, the deeper the relationship between you becomes. There is a particular kind of intimacy in a counselling relationship, where you can bring your darkest and most vulnerable parts and have them welcomed and treated kindly. This may be a new experience or an experience that you have not had for a while, where you are accepted and sponsored for who you are, rather than by an external view of who someone wants you to be.

In this therapeutic relating, we can learn new ways of being. We can begin to experiment with being more vulnerable, with extending trust, and with learning how to manage the degree to which we are open. The therapeutic relationship itself is healing; our counsellor is showing us different ways we can relate to ourselves, and we can begin to take these in and use them as the work progresses.

Ultimately the goal of counselling is to enable us to take what we have experienced out, in different ways, to our wider life. To relate differently with ourselves, and through this to relate differently to those we relate to. In time the counselling relationship will have done its work and we are ready to move on, and meet our relationship needs in different ways. Then, we can have a positive experience of ending, which is another opportunity to experience a relationship in a way that is positive.

If relationships are sometimes tricky for you, or you are aware of patterns that you would like to work within relating, then perhaps counselling is for you. Why not search the directory and see whose profile resonates for you. Chemistry matters in all relationships.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Counselling Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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Darlington DL2 & DL3
Written by Fe Robinson, Psychotherapist, EMDR Therapist & Couples Counsellor
Darlington DL2 & DL3

Fe Robinson is a psychotherapist, couples counsellor and supervisor working in Durham on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays with some evening appointments available. Her mission is to help clients thrive, whatever their life circumstances, she specialises in trauma and relationship challenges. For grounded, authentic support, get in touch.

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