Many associate relationship counselling with a crisis event. However, counselling can be an excellent way to check in with your partner, discuss any potential problems and allow you to work towards a healthy and positive relationship continually.
Whether you’re interested in regular appointments or are seeking support for a particular situation that has arisen within your relationship, counselling is a worthwhile avenue to ensure both parties are heard, understood and feel as though they are making a valuable contribution to the partnership.
What is couples counselling?
Family members, colleagues and friends can utilise relationship counselling; however, the term most commonly refers to counselling partners in a romantic relationship. This post will focus on the latter.
Couples counselling involves both people sitting down with a counsellor to discuss how they think they relate to each other, explore communication, highlight the positives of the partnership, describe what the ideal relationship looks like (for them), and work through any issues they are experiencing. Couples often choose counselling after a crisis in their relationship. However, it can also be advantageous to invest in regular counselling sessions to maintain a healthy relationship.
Do relationship counsellors work?
As with all other forms of therapeutic support, the success of relationship counselling will only be possible if everyone involved is willing to do whatever they can to make it so.
Couples counsellors can help you work through situations and come out the other side with a resolution and tools to prevent the same problem from arising again. But unfortunately, if one person doesn’t want to be actively involved, communicate openly or try to implement the recommended techniques, it simply won’t work.
Is it worth going to relationship counselling?
We have many clients who would state wholeheartedly that it is a worthwhile practice. Chiselling out time to work on your relationship proves to your partner that you’re invested.
It can also be helpful to discuss aspects of your relationship with someone outside of your network. Knowing that you’re speaking with someone who isn’t emotionally invested and can be entirely practical is comforting for some couples, as they feel that they have the opportunity to talk more openly and honestly.
When should you see a relationship counsellor?
Every couple can benefit from regular counselling, and the frequency in which you attend counselling should be decided between the two of you. However, if you flag any of the following seeping into your relationship, it may be worth considering booking a session to try and stop things from worsening:
- A level of indifference has grown between the two of you.
- You’re fighting a lot more than usual and having the same argument again and again.
- You’ve discovered or suspect your partner may be being unfaithful.
- The intimacy that you once craved is no longer there.
- You see your partner as ‘the bad person’ in the relationship.
- You keep catching your partner lying or being secretive.
- There has been dishonesty regarding shared savings.
Can counselling save a relationship?
Some relationship conflicts don’t actually stem from the situation at hand, but by one person reacting to an earlier memory that has been activated and is now being associated with the event currently taking place. This can result in you momentarily believing that your partner is acting in a way to hurt you purposefully.
More than that, when someone speaks to us, we analyse the meaning using our own filters, and that means we can sometimes interpret something differently than how it was meant
During counselling, a trained and unconnected expert can work with you to unpack specific experiences that have occurred recently in your relationship, help you diagnose the truth behind the situation and teach you techniques to prevent the same from happening again. Catching these early can prevent a negative pattern from emerging and allow for a more robust and closer relationship.
Additionally, this form of support will also have an ‘appreciative’ focus to help couples highlight the best parts of their relationship and build stronger ties.
In this sense, counselling can save a relationship by highlighting potentially unhealthy patterns, reinforcing the love you have for one another and teaching ways to break negative habits and replace them with healthier responses to challenging scenarios.
However, it goes back to whether both partners want the relationship to be saved and are willing to put the time and effort into working through your problems for a more positive future. Remember that a counsellor will not be able to fix your relationship for you.
Can couples therapy make things worse?
For some couples, things can feel as though they are getting worse before they get better. Having an impartial third party effectively step into your relationship can bring revelations that you may not want to acknowledge. However, for a solid and healthy relationship, you must be prepared to have difficult conversations and work through them together.
There are some occasions where couples counselling will lead partners to a decision to end their relationship. When this happens, a counsellor will assist you both to work through important issues and help you draw things to a close beneficially and respectfully.
Book a relationship counselling session
Couples counselling is not an easy experience to go through; however, it is imperative to ensure both sides of a partnership feel safe and comfortable to talk through their thoughts and emotions and describe what they want the relationship to look like in the future. Insights and help from an external expert can be beneficial to maintaining a robust, healthy and lasting relationship.