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Relationship Counselling

Couples Counselling
An important thing to remember about counselling is that people can receive counselling for many reasons. The happiest couples can hit a rough patch and need help to get through it. The goals of relationship counselling are endless and it could go on forever, there is always room for improvement. You can go to a relationship counsellor in an effort to change your view of your relationship, change dysfunctional behaviours, increase emotional investment and decrease emotional avoidance, improve communication between partners, and/or learn to focus on the strengths of your relationship instead of just the weaknesses.

When is it Time to Seek Relationship Counselling?

Sometimes the only thing needed to make a positive change in your life is support from an objective party. Engaging with a counsellor can provide the objectivity needed to help move your relationship into healthier patterns.

Every relationship has its ups and downs, the question is, what are the signs that a helping hand might be needed? If you or your partners are using one of the following conflict-resolution styles then it may be time to seek help.

  • Yielding – Rather than talking about the problem at hand, do you or your partner give in?
  • Freezing – Do you or your partner put an icy wall instead of talking about the hard stuff?
  • Fighting – Does it seem like you and your partner are constantly fighting without the problems being resolved?
  • Flight- Do you or your partner avoid unpleasant situations?

The Role of the Psychotherapist

Psychotherapy is a team effort where the therapist and client work together to successfully navigate the roots of whatever is ailing the couple, both people need to be on the same page, the desire to change. The therapist’s role is to provide clear boundaries and a safe environment that will allow you to talk about things that might have been difficult to talk about in the past. These discussions can help you to identify the events or daily occurrences that trigger your learned behaviours or negative feelings. Through learning these triggers, you can learn how to cope with them through new coping skills, and by understanding the root cause of the issues your having.

A Psychotherapist/Counsellor often fills the role of a sounding board. They provide a listening ear and questions that help you to think through your problems and come to reasonable solutions. Having that sounding board in place allows both the individuals to think about themselves and their roles in the relationship, it also helps them to see the other person’s perspective. Along those lines, when working with couples the therapist can also serve the role of a mediator by providing ground rules for respectful discourse as well as a third party perspective on the events causing tension.

How Can Relationship Counselling or Psychotherapy Help?

A lot of relationship problems boil down to an inability to effectively communicate wants and needs.  As a result, both parties feel frustrated with what they are getting out of the relationship.  Through counselling or psychotherapy the couple can learn strategies for effectively listening to each other. Once they are able to truly listen, they are better able to discuss the problems as they come up.

Because communication is such an important part of any relationship, your therapist may help you learn how to better communicate with your spouse. A possible skill that you could learn is how to fill the role of an active listener. An active listener is someone who listens to the other person with all that they have. An active listener is able to summarise what the other person said. An active listener will reflect what they have heard back to the speaker so that the speaker knows that they have been heard and also has an opportunity to correct any misunderstandings that arise. These skills will not only help in the relationship that you are struggling with but also interactions that you have with other people.