All relationships go through difficult patches. Feeling disconnected from your partner can feel very sad, lonely, scary, disappointing or frustrating. Relationship counselling aims to help couples feel connected and supported again. Most relationship difficulties can be resolved with the right intervention. The key is to act quickly so that hurt and resentment does not shut down the ability to effectively communicate.
When a couple is feeling connected and on the same page, there can be a resurgence of love, admiration and an increased desire to spend time together. Relationship counselling is essentially about assisting couples to resolve recurring conflicts, and improve communication skills so that each person’s needs are adequately voiced and acknowledged.
Unfortunately, by the time many people attend counselling, there can be a considerable build-up of hurt, resentment, betrayal and conflict. This prevents effective communication and resolution. Many couples attending therapy have become defensive and emotionally shut-down from each other making communication and progress almost impossible. Conflict resolution is generally made possible only when the hurt and resentment has been addressed.
Whilst there are many reasons why couples attend Relationship Counselling, one of the most common complaints is a difficulty communicating needs and feeling heard.
Conflict is just a difference in what two people need, want or value. Negotiation and compromise is more likely once the needs of each person have been communicated and acknowledged. However, it can be difficult for some people to put their emotional needs or frustrations into words, and it can be difficult for some people to properly hear the concerns of their partners. This is where Relationship Counselling can help.
Couples also attend therapy to help them end a relationship. Some people know deep down that they are no longer happy in the relationship but fear hurting their partner by leaving. Some people are in denial about the status of their relationship. Whilst others are ok with ending the relationship but attend therapy to gain advice and knowledge on how to best move forward to minimise the impact of separation on children. Sadly, many of the difficulties that result in couples considering separation can actually be sorted out with the right help.
Ideally both partners would agree to seek therapy to gain a new perspective and to try something different for the relationship to become unstuck, and for mending to occur. However, if your partner is reluctant or unwilling to attend therapy, then it can still be very helpful for you to seek help first. You can’t make your partner change, but changes you make can start the domino effect of change for the relationship.
Common Relationship Issues include:
- Conflict among family members
- Poor communications skills
- Issues relating to house tasks and responsibilities
- Differences in child rearing styles
- Poor work/life balance for either or both partners
- Intimacy issues
- Lack of quality time between partners
- Pressures caused by major life transitions
- Undefined, shifting or split loyalties between extended family and/or in-laws
- Financial Issues
- Extra marital affairs
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