the right time?
thing's for sure: counsellors rarely hear the complaint "It's
too early for our relationship!" More often, what they hear
is: "We've tried everything - counselling is our last resort."
too many couples leave counselling until it's too late. By the
time of their first appointment, years of bitterness and resentment
have built up and the fear of being hurt blocks out any chance
you're experiencing any of the following, now is the time to consider
* When you talk to your partner, it feels as though you're hitting
a brick wall.
* Your conversations just go round and round in never-ending circles.
* After you've talked, you feel frustrated and confused.
* You can't talk for more than a few minutes without it turning
into a shouting match.
* You're afraid that if you bring up a certain subject, things
will get even worse.
* There's nothing left to say.
Ideally, you should go to counselling together: it's hard
to build a team if only half the players are there. Often, if
one person makes the decision to give counselling a try, the partner
will decide to go too.
your partner flatly refuses to join you, there are lots of things
counselling can help you sort out on your own. There may be changes
you can make alone that will have a positive impact on your relationship.
Some people also prefer to have counselling on their own at first
to work out their feelings before seeing another counsellor as
What will happen?
All counsellors have their own styles and ways of working.
You can choose to see a counsellor face-to-face or speak via telephone
or email. Some counsellors also offer creative arts and therapeutic
exercises in addition to talking.
approach you choose, broadly speaking all counsellors will help
you to work through the following three steps:
1. Exploring your story - the nature of the problems and what
impact they're having on you and your relationship. The history
of how the problems arose and what changes you'd like to see.
2. Understanding your story - why you're struggling with these
problems and the things that may be preventing you from overcoming
3. Rewriting your story - finding the strengths and resources
to resolve your difficulties, or at least make them more bearable.
does counselling work?
First and foremost, counselling works by giving you the chance
to be heard. Your counsellor will give you all the time you need
to talk, sob, shout or just think. It's an opportunity to look
at the problem in a different way with someone who'll respect
and encourage your opinions and decisions.
many couples, the solution is right under their noses - it just
takes someone objective to see what it is. It's like the saying
"You can't see the wood for the trees" - counsellors
are trained wood-spotters!
hard to measure if counselling is effective, but it's an industry
that's rapidly growing as more and more people discover the benefits
for themselves. If you haven't considered relationship counselling
before, please don't leave it until it's too late.
The three outcomes of couples' counselling
* Lump it - for some reason change isn't possible, but you decide
there's enough good stuff worth staying together for.
* Leave it - you or your partner can't or won't change and you decide
to split up.
* Change it - you decide to alter the situation and work together
at making your relationship better.