Couple receiving relationship counselling

Too often relationship issues can cause irreparable breakdowns, but studies show that relationship counselling can help an average of 70% of couples.

Whether it’s an intimate, family, friend or workplace relationship, it’s important to understand that everyone thinks and behaves differently to situations. What helps us co-exist harmoniously is our ability to understand the other person and find ways to overcome differences of opinion.

Relationship counselling and couples counselling work best with both people committed to improving the relationship, but individual counselling is possible also.

Common causes of relationship difficulties

There are typical patterns that develop in couples, whether married or cohabiting. These include: 

  • neglecting to spend enough pleasurable time together due to such pressures as work and parenting
  • conflict that is allowed to simmer over time
  • failure to manage the difference between the two individuals
  • withdrawal of affection or sex
  • breach of trust (infidelity, secret gambling, telling lies)

How couples counselling can help

What used to be called marriage guidance is now called couples counselling or relationship counselling and has its own distinctive training; it can be very effective in helping with relationship difficulties. Usually both members of the couple will attend, though sometimes they may also see the counsellor or therapist individually. If there has been violence, the therapist will help you work out the best way forwards. 

Seeking counselling or psychotherapy for problems in your long-term relationship does not mean it is doomed to failure. In fact, 80 per cent of Relate clients said it had made their relationships stronger. Learning better ways to talk to each other, to share parenting and to live together in a mutually beneficial way is well worth the time and emotional effort it will take to work problems through.

Where else can I get relationship counselling?

Ralate is a UK based charity offering relationship counselling

What to talk about in couples counselling?

f you’re considering marriage therapy, then you probably already have an idea of the things that you’d like to bring up and talk about with the marriage and family therapist. It’s easy to get started: just make a list of the things that you’d like to bring up at couples therapy or couples counselling. Then, make sure that the couples counsellor knows that you have a list. Encourage your partner to make a list, too. The couples therapy or couples counselling therapist will help you and your partner work through the list of things that you and your partner want to improve in the relationship.

Can unmarried couples go to counselling

Yes, unmarried couples should feel free to go to couples therapy or couples counselling. In fact, it’s a great idea to go to premarital counselling once you’ve decided that marriage might be the right choice for you and your partner. Or, if you’re going through a rough patch in your relationship and you want to work it out in the context of couples therapy or couples counselling, that’s great too!

Can couples therapy make things worse?

When couples first start attending couples therapy or couples counselling, they might feel that things get worse. However, this is just because they’re finally broaching the tough and touchy topics that have until now been off-limits in the relationship. At first, couples therapy or couples counselling may seem to be making the relationship more strained and stressful, but that’s just because the road to a healthy relationship is a long and difficult one. Don’t worry if things seem more difficult at first; that’s a normal step in the process of couples therapy or couples counselling.

Should couples go to counselling?

Couples who are having problems in their relationship should absolutely consider going to couples therapy or couples counselling. These sessions can provide them with new perspectives to solve the existing problems in their relationship, and equip them with the necessary tools and action plans to prevent further problems. It’s a great opportunity to work through the rough patches in the relationship through couples therapy or couples counselling.
Of course, if marriage counselling, couples therapy or couples counselling isn’t the first thing that you and your partner want to do, you can always check out the free relationship resources online. These are a great way to ease you and your partner into couples therapy or couples counselling without committing to a full course of treatment outright.