Couples can benefit from talking to someone impartial about their relationship at many different stages in their relationship and for many different reasons. Outlined in the pages here are just a few common times and reasons. However, every couple is unique and it would be impossible to list all the issues or situations that people can bring.
Simply becoming aware of what is going on in your relationship and how you are responding to it, is the first step to becoming mindful in your relationship. Awareness brings choices and choices bring the opportunity for different action.
Clients often go away after the first session feeling much better simply having had the opportunity to think about and tell their story, however most people want more than this. They want to feel different in their relationship, and for this to happen they usually need to act differently. For this to happen they need to figure out what these new actions or habits need to be, and then how to incorporate these into their daily lives.
This is the work of the sessions. Some things change easily, and often big strides can be made from a few simple changes. Other times it takes work to change ingrained habits or beliefs about how things should be. Identifying the blocks is usually the place to start. Then sometimes you need to be sneaky, the mind can be very resistant to change. The rewards though can be huge.
Everyone deserves a content intimate relationship, it is the bedrock to everything else you have in your life!
Traditionally couples tend to wait to talk to someone about their relationship until they feel counselling is the only option. More and more couples are seeing the benefit of talking to someone about their relationship. Just as you would have a coach if you were serious about doing a sport to the best of your ability, having someone to help you tune up your relationship can give you a real head start.
Talking with an impartial person at the beginning of your relationship, or at key points such as moving in together, getting married, or the arrival of a child, can make a big difference. Simply the passage of time which causes couples to move to a new stage in their relationship, can cause significant upset.
For mature couples, children leave home, retirement or life transitions such as caring for or death or parents can cause turmoil and unexpected feelings. Having a space to discuss these, and other issues can be extremely important.
Couples often consider counselling when they get to a point that one or the other considers to be make or break. One or both usually consider there is a breakdown in communication and this results in one or more parts of the relationship not working. One or both feel they have grown apart, trust goes, desire can fade and the same old fights tend to repeat over and over. Issues can be about money, trying for a family, household chores, addiction, values, family members, to name a few.
During this time many strong emotions arise and what is often called the shadow side of a relationship shows itself. Things that were once charming personality quirks can become big bones of contention within a relationship.
Working through these emotions and getting the relationship back on track can be done if both parties are committed to agreeing goals, working together, and making changes happen.
Often this period can be a springboard to an even more satisfying relationship, and couples can say they wish they’d had counselling years earlier!
Affairs can be one of the greatest challenges that a relationship faces. The pain and distress can be immense. However, the partnership can start to move forward when both partners decide that they want to take the necessary steps.
Often this starts with understanding that an affair is a symptom of the relationship, rather than the cause of the problem. The causes of infidelity vary and can be very complex, but can sometimes seem to come out of nowhere.
Telling the story and realising that each partner is often in a different place at the start of counselling is a key part of moving forward. It is not a quick process, however forgiveness and recovery are possible. With both partners willing to engage in counselling, there is a high likelihood of the relationship being repaired and moving on stronger than ever.
Sometimes couples have already decided to divorce or break-up and they are seeking help to get through this difficult period. Whether you have been together a year or 30 years, whether it is a shared decision or not, both of you are facing a big change in your lives, as well as the loss of a dream, and this will bring up a myriad of emotions.
Having someone impartial help guide you through this very vulnerable period can be a huge relief. Often people do not know how they should feel or react, they can find it difficult to talk to friends and family, worrying people will take sides.
Sometimes it is important for each person to know what went wrong, or understand what their role was in the breakdown. Others know it is too early for these discussions and simply need to find a way to get through the experience with their dignity intact. Often whilst couples will come together for initial appointments, each partner can come separately as time moves on, and one may end the counselling earlier than the other.
Each person has their own needs and will find their own way to make sense of the new situation. Out of a very difficult time hope will emerge and this is an opportunity to strengthen your own resources, bring greater understanding of yourself as a person, and move forward into a future that is right for you.