In part 1 we looked at why couples come to relationship counselling and we looked at some of the key skills that a couple could try for themselves before coming to relationship counselling.

Key amongst these skills, a pre-requisite for the other skills, is the ability to communicate effectively when trying to work through problems both yourself and for those entering relationship counselling.  It is a key skill so I make no apologies for repeating the basics here,

Communicating effectively is about adult conversations, that is to say being honest about your feelings and taking responsibility for both your actions and their consequences. It is about being clear how you feel about the relationship when you speak to your partner. At least as important is listening and understanding what your partner says to you so that you understand their point of view – see the relationship through their eyes. If you both get this skill right and avoid the blame game you will already be in a better place than most people entering relationship counselling.

Relationship counselling solves problemsYou need to find a way to build trust. There are some specific problems where this is the key issue for example where one partner has had an affair, but never under estimate how crucial trust is to a good relationship.  For most couples trust is about support of each other, being able to be relied upon. Trust is the food that will sustain your relationship in the long term.

It may sound corny, but it appears in relationship counselling all the time you need to love each other, remember what attracted you to your partner in the first instance.  Remember the traits and the benefits you got from them. Remember the shared experiences. Can you recapture redefine some of the positives you got from those experiences.

While your relationship is important, a thing that many in relationship counselling come to realise is it is important of recognising individuality, indeed often which is what attracted your partner.  So try to allow space for each of you to have that space which in turn will build trust and you may see a more whole person in your partner.

  • So a summary of the process of relationship counselling might be:
  • Learn to communicate effectively
  • Address any problems respectfully, honestly and openly
  • Build on skill for the long term

Some find that they can work at it together while other couples find that relationship counselling offers a framework that makes the process easier.