Clients often ask if relationship counselling can really help a relationship. Because most of us are taught to believe that relationship is supposed to be easy, we have an unrealistic view of marriage and long-term relationships. When problems arise we can become disheartened and believe that there is something fundamentally wrong with the relationship.
Fortunately this is not the case. Relationship counselling can help couples to resolve their fighting, even if this involves anger and hurt.
Relationship counselling gives couples a safe place to express what is difficult in the relationship. Counselling gives each person the experience of being heard – often for the first time. When couples are able to express their feelings clearly and without the anger which usually comes with it, their partner is able to take in and understand what has been hurtful.
Some couples are concerned that if they go to counselling, one of them will be blamed or made responsible for the problems the relationship. An effective, skilled counsellor is able to help couples understand how the issues that are affecting them have arisen in the relationship. It is the job of the counsellor to provide a comfortable, non–judgemental environment for you to work in. Counsellors work for both people in the relationship – they don’t take sides.
Often people worry that they will be expected to change. This can be very uncomfortable or feel to difficult. We are attached to our own sense of identity and don’t want to lose this.
While it is true the individuals will have to make changes in the way they relate to each other, what really needs to change is the relationship. When we have this perspective, the couple is able to approach problems as partners, rather than opponents.
Relationship issues are often difficult, painful and complex. Having a skilled third person to help can clarify the issues and provide a clear way forward to resolving problems.
The aim of relationship counselling is always to provide couples with a framework for a relationship which can be productive and satisfying to both people into the future.