Every relationship has its ups and downs but sometimes they get stuck. That can happen in a number of situations.
- There may be a specific problem or disagreement;
- There may be a longer-standing issue of communication, which can cause a deterioration of mutual understanding to the point where people find themselves staying with each other out of habit without feeling happy or understood by their partner.
- One or both partners have unresolved issues or past traumas that impede their ability to build and/or maintain a healthy mutually satisfying relationship.
- Sometimes people have already decided to split up but find it difficult to communicate with each other to resolve outstanding emotional and practical issues and need some direction and support.
The task of the counsellor or therapist is to help couples to resolve their relationship issues, to help establish healthier communication and create a more stable, functional relationship, or – in cases when the couples prefer to split – to support them in negotiating a constructive way to do so.
Counselling usually focuses on working through immediate, specific problems, although looking into the background and history of the problem can be a part of counselling.
Psychotherapy tends to take longer and deals with the deep-seated issues rooted in the individual and joint life histories of the partners, which in combination lead to difficulties in their relationship. Raising awareness of these issues and resolving them will allow couples to deal with their current problems and “unstuck” their relationship.
Sessions for couples:
Sessions for couples are confidential and held in a safe, non-judgemental atmosphere. They last 60 to 90 minutes depending on a couple’s preference.
My responsibility as a counsellor/therapist is to both partners and the relationship, so each partner will get equal time, attention and understanding. I make sure that both partners feel safe and supported and given adequate space to express their feelings.
I will help the clients to be honest, learn to understand each other’s feelings better, and engage with difficult areas.
We usually start by defining the presenting problem in the wider context of the relationship. We will explore the differences in each partner’s perspective of the issue. I usually ask people to tell me a little about the story of their relationship, both its pleasant and less pleasant aspects, and important life events.
Throughout, I will work with you on opening up hidden, unspoken issues in a supportive atmosphere. You will learn how to understand each other; how to clearly communicate feelings and needs; and how to explore compromises that will allow you to support each other through the necessary changes in the relationship.
Once there is honest acknowledgement of what is going on, finding working solutions often proves surprisingly easy.
Eventually couples develop their own ways to work through their issues, and effective ways to communicate on a day-to-day basis. This allows them move forward in their relationship together in a healthy, caring, loving atmosphere, or to go their separate ways amicably without feelings of resentment, hurt or anger hanging over them.
Counselling, central london