Counselling for Couples
Couples’ counselling is an opportunity for both partners to discuss difficulties openly in a confidential and safe environment in the presence of a professional therapist. Same-sex or heterosexual couples alike, who feel their relationship might be going through a rough patch may seek help so that together they can explore the underlying causes of these issues. Sometimes couples argue about the smallest things and they start to drive them apart. Together, we will explore what changes could be made to help you re-discover a happier and more loving way of being together.
Couples’ counselling can have several different aims depending on the needs of the couple. You may wish to increase your awareness of repeated and harmful patterns in your relationship. Perhaps you need help managing conflict, deepening intimacy and improving communication. Other couples may want to find a way to end a long-standing relationship in the best way possible causing the least pain to everyone involved.
I generally work with both partners together in the room, though some sessions can take place with just one partner if this seems to be appropriate. It is also important to remember that therapy alone will not improve your relationship – you will need to make changes in your life and relationship based on what is being discussed in the therapy room. We will talk about this in sessions and suggestions will be made about what you can do at home, individually and as a couple, between sessions.
What issues are appropriate for couples’ counselling and what benefits can you expect?
Couples seek counselling for all sorts of reasons and at different stages of their relationship. Some come early on before they move in together while others come years into a relationship.
The following are some of the most common issues that bring couples to counselling:
- constant arguing or bickering
- sexual problems - frequency and type of sex expected
- discussions about child-bearing and rearing
- changes in health for one of the partners
- financial problems
- thinking about the possibility of separation or divorce yet feeling unable to stay together or part.
Sometimes significant life changes also bring about difficulties for couples and you might benefit from having a time and place to think about the effect on your relationship of some of the following:
- the transition to living together
- getting married
- the arrival of children
- job loss
- taking on step-children
- pre-retirement and retirement
How many sessions does it involve?
The number of sessions will depend on what has brought you to therapy and how complex the issues are. Many couples would benefit from 12 sessions of therapy to start off with.