Is it suitable for us?
I work with all relationship difficulties whether you are in a couple or on your own, regardless of sex, gender, sexual orientation, religion or ethnicity. You can come for relationship counselling on your own or with your partner. However you choose to do it, I will offer you space and time to explore your concerns with your relationship.
Relationship counselling does not necessarily result in you returning to the ‘happily ever after’ state. You may come to the conclusion that it would be mutually beneficial to separate. Counselling may help you to do this amicably in a way that causes the least harm to yourselves, your family and friends.
Relationships require time and attention
Many of us imagined that one day we would meet a perfect partner who would fulfil all our hopes and dreams and we would settle down together and live happily ever after. No-one told us that even the loveliest of people have incredibly annoying habits, can be selfish, insensitive, have mean streaks, be unfaithful and I could go on and on! How do we cope with that?
Over time we realise that we have both come to the relationship from very different backgrounds and have very different needs and expectations. After the ‘honeymoon period’ we have to work through what can we accept, not accept or compromise on. We can forget that relationships need love and attention. We would be foolish to buy a car and never put fuel in it or do anything to maintain it, yet we often do this with our partner. Developing and maintaining a good relationship where you mutually empower each other takes time and effort. Sometimes we have neglected it for so long that we reach a point in our relationship where we are struggling to know how to solve our difficulties. Love seems to have grown cold and we have grown apart. We have to decide if we want to stay together and, if we do, how do we get it back on track?
How can counselling help?
Relationship counselling provides you with a safe calm confidential space where you will be encouraged try to understand by listening carefully to each other, work out how to meet each other’s needs and communicate more effectively. I will not offer advice, tell you what to do, judge or try to save your relationship. I may be able to help you to have the difficult conversations with your partner that you struggle to have when you are alone together.
The first session will be about assessing your situation to see what the difficulties are. We can then look at what you would like to change. It is also the time when you can see if counselling is the right choice for you.
Usually couples are seen together, but sometimes I will ask to meet each person individually to fully assess their situation. This might occur if you disclose issues, such as domestic conflict or abuse, where we would need to assess whether relationship counselling is the best option.
I recommend hour and a half sessions rather than the usual one hour session for individuals as an hour barely scratches the surface when there are two people.