Our closest relationship: a marriage; co-habitation or civil partnership, is based on intimacy and trust. When it breaks down we are affected deeply and our health and happiness can suffer. Our sense of identity and self-worth often rests on the strength of these relationships and we can despair when the primary relationship fails.
Pressures of work, family, money and health all take their toll and the relationship that once recharged us leaves us drained and disappointed.
Patterns of behaving that we learned as children often re-emerge in our adult relationship causing problems.
- Poor communication
- Sex has ended or causes problems
- Arguments and fights
- Depression or other health problems may occur
- The trust in the relationship is damaged or lost
Where a couple has attached in a hurry – in response to a passion, pregnancy or other need, disappointments can surface and become problematic when the excitement subsides. Renegotiating, with a skilled counsellor, can help build a more realistic and fulfilling relationship.
When is the right time for Couples Counselling?
- There has been a betrayal of trust; an affair, debt or secret.
- Talking causes confusion or unbearable anger
- Separation or Divorce seem like the only option
- Desire has gone or sex is no fun
- Arguments and bickering go on and on…..
If possible, attend together unless there is domestic violence or fear. Counselling can be undertaken with one partner if that feels more comfortable or safer.
Being able to manage conflict, arguments and rows is the foundation stone to a good relationship. It is unrealistic to hope that arguments can be avoided.
Two people come with their own values and beliefs and both must feel heard in order for the relationship to survive. This may mean learning new skills.
Differences need to be acknowledged; otherwise we merge or one partner is unheard. Then one partner may dominate and the other ‘disappears’.
Arguments are a healthy and essential part of any relationship and can energise it if carried out skillfully. Indirect anger and domestic violence are destructive.
Counselling can help with understanding the messages about conflict that we may have inherited from our family and offer new, healthier ways of dealing with it.
Self-respect and liking oneself are the important ingredients for a good relationship. If they are in short supply you may consider counselling to address them.
Individual work may help you move on following a separation, divorce or bereavement.
How can Couples Counselling help?
- Destructive patterns of relating can be recognised and addressed
- Conflict and communication can be improved
- New relationship skills can be learned
- The impact of change and loss can be examined
- Relationships can be more successful
- Abusive relationships and domestic violence can be acknowledged
Sex can be a source of great enjoyment within a long-term relationship and any problems it poses can leave one partner feeling rejected, hurt or angry. Loss of desire or low libido is often an early sign of problems.
Psychosexual issues can highlight a problem within the relationship or arise from the past. Childhood sexual abuse, for example, can impact on an otherwise happy relationship and can be helped with a suitably qualified practitioner. Other sexual problems may have a physical or medical cause, but can often be addressed with a good therapist.
Separation & Divorce Counselling can help explore whether trust can be repaired or the relationship will need to be rebuilt. If not, it can allow the couple to split with more understanding and less hostility.