Relationship Counselling. holding hands
Whether married, living together, single, gay or straight, relationship counselling offers you the opportunity to gain more understanding of your relationship difficulties, improve communication, and achieve more insight and awareness of how your own responses and behaviours contribute towards the couple dynamic. Together we can set and work towards achievable and realistic goals to improve your relationship and bring about the changes that you want to make for your future together.

Often couples get stuck in familiar ways of relating, having the same conversation or the same argument over and over again, each partner responding predictably and repeatedly in ways which then illicit further predictable and repeated responses from the other, until the situation spirals out of control, communication breaks down and neither partner knows how to fix it. In this case, it is difficult to see the bigger picture, each partner only being able to see things through the eyes of their own experience. They blame the other, resentment builds, anger and hostility grow, at this point neither party wants to concede and the only productive way forward is to use a relationship counsellor to facilitate a new way of interacting, to contain high emotions and to re-introduce the couple to a healthier way of communicating.


Relationship Counselling. listening quote
Often, the first task in the counselling process is to improve listening skills. Generally speaking people do not listen with the intention to understand, they listen with the intention to reply, and therefore completely miss the opportunity to really connect with their partner’s point of view. In the counselling room we focus on listening skills and empathic responding in order to let go of entrenched positions and open ourselves up to the existence of alternative truths.

Effective listening does not mean you have to agree with the other person, nor is it the same as saying ‘I forgive you’, it just means you care enough to try to understand what they are saying and that you are willing to open yourself up to their version of the event.


Relationship Counselling. multi racial family
Counselling can also help each partner better understand what influences they have brought into their current relationship from their own childhood experiences, since a person’s concept of love and relationships usually mirrors the way they were treated by their parents or by the way their parents treated each other. This can often be a source of conflict within the relationship, as both partners tend to think of their own experience as ‘the norm’ and so their expectations of being in relationship with another may be very different. Problems may also arise if the couple have children. Parents often parent how they were parented, and if two people’s experiences were very different, their parenting styles may be in conflict and cause friction. In the counselling room, we can talk about childhood experiences and previous familial relationships, and indeed, any other life experiences which can help each partner to have a deeper understanding and appreciation of the other.


Relationship Counselling. trust
Issues of trust often play a big role in the break-down of a relationship, especially if one partner has had an affair. Once trust has been lost it can be a long road ahead before this can be rebuilt. Patience and understanding on both sides are a necessary part of the healing process, and it is true to say that the relationship will probably never be the same again. However, in my experience, if both partners want the relationship to succeed, it is possible to rebuild trust in each other, to rekindle the love that was lost and to move forward into a more mature, more rewarding relationship than the one that existed before. Counselling can offer an opportunity to re-negotiate the relationship and to talk openly and honestly about what was not working before. In fact, some couples find that the experience can bring them closer together and allows them the opportunity to re-define a more satisfactory relationship for the future.


Relationship Counselling. two birds in a tree
Within the safety of the counselling room and the establishment of better communication each partner now has a better chance of being heard and we can begin to talk about important changes that each partner can make to improve the relationship. If each partner feels safe enough to show their vulnerability, they can at this point talk more openly about their innermost feelings. Emotions such as sadness, guilt, shame, relief, anger, revenge, or doubt are often not shared lightly, often because of fear of further conflict or misunderstanding, but with the right therapeutic support, sharing these emotions can lead to a more empathic appreciation of the other’s position, better connection and therefore improved relationships.


As a Relate trained relationship therapist, I can offer specialised therapeutic support in a safe and confidential setting to help you and your partner address whatever difficulties you are experiencing in your relationship. I am happy to see you individually, together or a mixture of both. Sessions last for 60 minutes and I charge 60/hour for joint sessions and 40/hour for individual consultations.

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