Marriage & Relationship Counselling can Help You Create a Healthy Relationship
Our romantic relationships play a large role in the overall happiness of our lives. Whether you are in constant conflict or the relationship is just not ‘working’, relationship counselling can be incredibly effective in helping to change this.
Unlike individual counselling, couples counselling can be quite confronting to start with and requires a very experienced Counsellor to guide you. Sharon is one of the most experienced counsellors in the area and will use her vast knowledge of relationships to help you navigate even the most difficult areas in your relationship.
Relationship counselling is generally most effective with both partners participating but can be effective with one person if need be.
The first session will be a basic health check where I guide you to identify the both the strengths and problems in each area of your relationship. We then discuss what is needed to reach the goals you want to achieve and set a plan of areas that we will target for change.
Every session we unpack what is happening and learn what might be causing the problems you are experiencing. Sometimes this may require an individual focus or relationship actions for you to work on together.
The focus is on the relationship and no blame is placed on either party as we work together to make positive changes in your relationship based on what you want.
Common Issues in Relationship Counselling
Common issues that I help people resolve through relationship counselling are:
- Communication problems
It is a common saying that communication is the key to a successful relationship. Improving communication may help to resolve other relationship problems too.
Couples will often identify issues like:
- Not being heard
- Frequent misunderstandings
- Constant escalation to fighting
- Lack of communication
- Problems not being resolved
- Avoiding conflict topics
Often there are some very simple changes that can be made to how you communicate with each other. From this alone, a relationship can vastly improve.
We will work together to determine your current communication style and give you tools to improve your communication with each other.
- Lack of intimacy
After a long relationship or often after the arrival of children, couples can drift apart from each other. They find that they no longer touch, talk or have common interests.
Through marriage counselling we can identify what your relationship used to be like. Identifying the parts that were special and the reason you wanted to be together in the first place. Together we explore where you are at now and what has caused the changes. Using this information, we can work together to find ways for you to reconnect and build a fulfilling relationship.
- Blended Families
These days blended families make up a large and important part of our society. Bringing together children from different families and backgrounds can be pretty daunting. You met and fell in love with a new partner. Now have the task of introducing your new partner and perhaps their children to each other.
Sometimes this all falls together easily. Usually though, this can be a really daunting and at times, exhausting process and can place a great strain on the new relationship. Trying to blend two different families, rules, discipline techniques, family rituals, finances, ex-partners and emotions of multiple people, requires a good plan.
Relationship counselling can be effective at helping you to understand the potential issues that might lie ahead. It also helps you to navigate the problems as they arise with an external support person who is not emotionally invested. Blended families can work, they just need planning.
Abuse can take many forms. Most commonly people associate abuse as being physical. Other forms of abuse such as emotional, mental and financial abuse are also present in many relationships and are very damaging both to the relationship and to the individual.
Relationships that are impacted by abuse can be healed and healthy dynamics formed. However, the individual responsible for the abuse will need to be prepared to do some individual work too in order for relationship work to be effective. There is no judgement around the abuse and both partners will be supported as we identify a plan to move out of this space.
Partners that suffer abuse are not responsible for the abuse in any way. You didn’t ‘push the wrong button’. Change generally won’t happen unless this issue is identified and the partner responsible is prepared to take ownership of their behaviour patterns.
It is sad to see couples who genuinely love each other, be caught in a cycle of abuse that is hurting everyone involved. If this is you, please reach out for help. If not as a couple, then as an individual to get the support and guidance you need to move out of this space.
- Constant fighting or anger
Many couples experience this during some part of their relationship as they navigate life together. Some couples manage to resolve issues well. Sometimes though, we need help to work through these issues or break out of the negative cycle. Often you simply need to learn effective conflict skills or it may be that you will learn to understand your partners emotions a little differently.
Through counselling we can identify the issues that are causing friction and find solutions to them. Once these are resolved we then work on strategies to ensure that in future you have the tools to resolve problems yourselves. This helps you to maintain a happy and rewarding relationship.
Have a look at my article “Resolving Conflict in a Relationship” for more information.
One partner having an affair may at first seem like the end of a relationship. But it does not have to end if you don’t want it to. It is a lot of work to recover from an affair. It is possible though if both partners are committed to staying together and putting in the effort. Many issues need to be addressed including the hurt, ongoing trust and the question of ‘why’?
If you choose to work on the relationship, it can be a slow process at the start. You may find that the hurt party struggles to deal with anger, sadness, grief and mistrust. Conversations tend to be repetitive and angry.
This can be difficult for the other partner to accept as a part of the relationship for the short to medium term. They often wish to just ‘put it behind them’. They feel guilt and realise how much hurt they have caused to someone they love.
Relationship counselling can benefit both partners and help you to understand how the other is feeling. Discovering and understanding how the infidelity could have happened in the first place and how to move forward.
My role is to help you work through this and not place judgement or blame. Together, you can get through this and build a safe relationship for the future. Some couples find that while the event was traumatic and hurtful, it made them focus on the relationship. They were forced to get the help they needed and they find they are in a stronger position than before.
See my article “Surviving Infidelity in a Relationship” for more information.
- Conflict over finances or parenting
These are two major areas that cause conflict within a relationship. Our values and ideas of life are formed throughout our childhood. We may however, expect these same beliefs from our partner although they have been raised in a different environment. We need to learn that the other person may also have a valid view point. Working together as a team to find a suitable outcome for you both is the main focus of counselling.
Finances and parenting can cause some of the most volatile and damaging arguments for couples. It is often the emotional attachment to these subjects that causes problems, not the differences themselves. I can work with you to get to the heart of the issues and find solutions that suit you both.
- Life changes
Throughout life we face challenge after challenge as we negotiate the different stages of our life. From first meeting your partner, negotiating marriage and living arrangements. Children, schooling, teenagers and divorce, through to the empty nest and retirement.
Navigating through these stages together and maintaining a healthy relationship can be difficult at times.
If you or your partner are struggling with any of these stages, don’t leave it until the relationship is in a poor state. Use counselling as a tool to help you work through them in an effective way.
Counselling can be an effective tool to help you navigate many issues in life and in your relationship. Whilst it can be a bit daunting booking your first counselling session, my clients will say they feel relieved within a few minutes of the session starting.
Counselling is a positive experience. Sometimes people view counselling as meaning you have issues and there is something wrong with you. The reality is, it is you caring for your brain and sourcing help the same was as you would get help for your body if needed.
Most people are surprised that counselling can have such a great impact on resolving issues that they have been unable to resolve on their own.
If you are not sure if I can help with your particular problem or you are nervous about attending, please call or email. I am always happy to respond and it is alright to be nervous!
For many people it is a new experience. For others, there may have been a not so positive experience with a mental health practitioner in the past. Counselling should be a positive experience so don’t give up on the process just because you haven’t found the right person.
Are you ready to create a healthy relationship?
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