Too often relationship issues can cause irreparable breakdowns, but studies show 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.