You don't have to wait until things get really bad between you before considering couples therapy.
If a successful relationship is for a lifetime, then inevitably there will be ups and downs. If a relationship develops, as many do, with joint financial commitments, a house and a family, then this adds to the complexity.
A lot of the time disagreements can be sorted out without the need for a third party – but not always. I’ll explain what couples counselling is (also known as relationship counselling) and how it can help.
Couples counselling is an effective form of talking therapy designed to resolve issues within a relationship.
For many couples the instinct is to try and resolve differences within the relationship. Couples counselling is talking therapy for two people within a relationship, usually at the same time.
My role is a facilitator and a means to improving communication to help you resolve the issues between you. As a couples counsellor I will not give you the answers or tell you whether or not you should separate. I am not here to criticise or pass judgement. Therapy should be a space free of judgement where you can explore your feelings and emotions openly and then take any suitable action.
Relationship counselling can help improve the way you relate to those around you and allow you to break free from old patterns of behaviour. I can provide a supportive and non judgemental environment to help you identify issues or problems in a relationship and find a way through these difficulties.
The aim of couples counselling is to help to:
· reconnect and/or rediscover moments of connection
· understand how external factors such as family values, religion, lifestyle and culture affect your relationship
· reflect on the past between you and how it affects the present situation
· communicate in a more constructive way
· learn why arguments escalate and how to become aware of them early on
· negotiate and resolve conflicts where possible
The counselling can provide the space to think and grow and ultimately, decide what you would like the future to hold for both of you.
Some common issues that can be explored through couples counselling include. This is non an exhaustive list as every relationship issue is unique to each couple:
· lack of trust
· betrayal or an affair
· lack of communication
· conflict arising from finances and work
· difference expectations regarding intimate aspects of a relationship
· different approaches to parenting
· divergence about what the future looks like
Every couple is different, so when you choose to seek help will depend on the nature of the issue you’re facing. If you’re concerned about your relationship and feel you’re unable to reach a conclusion alone, it’s likely that you’ll benefit from couples counselling.
“Looking back at when I started my first session to having finished the final one, I would have to say that I really liked these sessions.
Where it started with what seemed a 'basic' topic to talk about in the first session I was able to go full circle after all the sessions. During these sessions I was able to explore my own thought process in a way that you do not even talk with your friends/family/colleagues.
Since the sessions were focussed around me, where I had to bring the topic each week not an opinion from Caroline's side, it made the sessions feel like an open platform where I steered my own thoughts into the direction that I 'subconsciously' wanted to go towards which was really interesting.
As an effect of these sessions I have also come to the realization for myself, which otherwise I might not have gotten to, that will help me get further in life.
I would go for more counselling in the future if I ever feel I needed to based on this experience even it's to explore a single thought that comes up in my mind to see where it might lead."
©2021 Caroline Bygrave. Counsellor in Bedford.
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