Couple counselling can help by looking at relationship patterns, dynamics and conflicts. By working together, potential areas of difficulties can be identified, explored and addressed to help couples move forward and resolve issues arising that may be causing stress and upset.
Couple counselling can be carried out with couples in any kind of relationship: hetero-sexual; homosexual, bi-sexual; transgender; married or co-habiting; separating or divorcing; love marriages and arranged marriages. Essentially it is about finding common ground between two people who care about each other and re-negotiating ways of being with one another to promote a harmonious union. Therapy can support couples to improve how they communicate and offers a safe space for both to feel heard and understood.
Issues That Bring People to Couple Counselling
- Poor communication and problem-solving
- Repetitive arguments
- Sexual issues
- Porn addiction
- An affair
- Ex partners causing issues
- Feelings of distance in the relationship
- Feelings of anger or resentment
- Managing a separation or divorce
- Broken trust
- Differences in parenting style
- Loss of attraction to partner
- Poor body image, low self esteem impacting on the relationship
- Gambling Issues
- Substance abuse issues
- Financial stress
- Loss of respect
- Domestic or Financial abuse
- Past childhood sexual abuse
- Lack of intimacy and other supportive and positive aspects of healthier relationships
- Strained extended family relationships
The above list is not exhaustive and often couple counsellors deal with many more issues that are not listed.
Can Couple Counselling Help?
With the aid of therapy couple’s can re-discover what first attracted them to one another, re-ignite a lost spark and can bring peace, stability, and healthy communication back into the relationship.
Couple counselling can help in a number of ways:
- To communicate in a more open, honest and constructive way
- Listen to, hear and understand each other with an open heart.
- Own feelings and be more sensitive to partners needs
- Resolve conflicts
- Break negative cycles and patterns which cause hurt and stuckness
- Work together to negotiate difficult decisions
- Reconnect with each other physically, sexually, emotionally and intellectually
- Enjoy the relationship again, have fun and learn new relationship skills
- Explore the impact of change and loss
- Achieve goals and develop solutions for resolving problems
- Think, feel, and respond more effectively with each other at home, work and in social situations around freinds and family.
As with all things in life one size does not fit all, and each couple will have their own unique issues to address. It is up to the couple to decide what issues to explore and the counsellor to facilitate. In some cases one partner may not wish to attend counselling and in such cases only one partner can attend to discuss issues individually. However when both people are in attendance it is more conducive to change as both would be committed to attend and seek a way forward together.
There are certain circumstances when couple counselling may not be appropriate for instance when there is domestic abuse or violence in the relationship. In such a situation safety is of paramount importance and individual counselling would be better suited as working with both partners may not be advisable.
- Saying and hearing ‘thank you’ for everyday tasks
- Listening without trying to fix each others problems
- Apologising for mistakes made
- Gently introducing troublesome issues
- Seeing each other’s point of view even if you disagree
- Respectfully withdrawing from distressing arguments
- Appreciating what is at stake in the relationship
- Comforting and listening to each other’s deeper feelings and concerns
- Seeking and accepting invitations for close connection
- Giving equal importance to each other’s feelings values and beliefs
- Expressing curiosity in each other’s activities
- Holding onto our own dreams whilst supporting each other’s dreams
- Standing up for ourselves without putting each other down
- Accepting the things in life that cannot be changed
- Seeking agreement with each other about the ‘meaningful things’ in life
- Shifting from a life of constant ‘doing’ to a life of peaceful ‘being’
If you are in a relationship and are struggling with any aspects of it, please do not hesitate to contact me for support. I can see you alone or together with your partner whichever you feel most comfrotable with.