What can relationship counselling do for me
If you are one of the many couples each year who find themselves with relationship problems, you may have considered if counselling can help you. Can counselling make a difference in your relationship? How can talking to a stranger about your relationship make a difference? There is no simple answer to these questions. Counselling is a process, and like many processes change happens by degrees and in proportion to the effort and care applied. However, when counselling is used effectively, repeatedly it has been shown to have a positive outcome. So what changes might you expect counselling to deliver?
The first area that counselling works on improving, is that of communication between the partners. By encouraging partners to better explain and listen to each other’s feelings needs and desires, helps couples to develop intimacy and empathic understanding. This can take time where partners have a long history of criticism and back-biting.
Counselling helps partners to explore their individual and joint strengths. In part this may be looking at why and how they got together. It offers the resources that the couple can call upon in repairing and ultimately building their relationship for the future. It can also help each other feel more secure in the relationship as the couple feel that they work well as a team.
The third thing that counselling can bring to your relationship problems is an alternative perspective. Through the process and though listening to each other you begin to see the problems and issues in a new light. With counselling you begin to learn not to see the relationship problems as something to blame on your partner but rather as something to be solved together. This may mean changes, it may mean that you change your point of view, but the differing viewpoints help to bring about harmony.
Often partners will complain about the other’s behaviour. They will want them to change. “If only he didn’t…”, “If only she would …” The counselling process can help challenge these unwanted behaviours in your relationship and provide a safe space to explore and decide what you as a couple want to do about them. It can also help you to be more honest with each other about the issues in your relationship that are causing difficulties and look at how you can disagree and come to a compromise.
So counselling can offer very practical very definitive changes in your relationship problems. Often the hardest part is allowing yourself to ask for help. It is realising that you are not alone in going to see a therapist and giving yourself permission to do what it needs to get it fixed.
Relationship counselling has been likened to having an embarrassing medical complaint. You hope it will fix itself, then you try all the over the counter medications you can, then finally you go to the doctor. They tell you that if only you had come sooner it would have been so much easier to treat. Relationship problems are similar in one aspect, the sooner you get help the better.