Probably one of the most important bond you will hold in your lifetime is the one between yourself and your loved one. Humans are a monogamous species, and although there can be infidelities and uncertainties, our primary loving, romantic relationship is often extremely important to us. A breakdown in a marriage or other relationship can leave the participants feeling depressed, helpless or even angry. Arguments are normal, but when it becomes a regular occurrence and is accompanied with shouting or violence you may benefit from professional counselling. Many therapists offer special sessions for couples to address the unique stresses a romantic relationship brings with it.
How individuals behave within a relationship is largely determined by their experiences as a child with their primary caregiver. If someone’s mother was frequently jealous and controlling, he or she will subconsciously take that behaviour as their blueprint for loving relationships. Early experiences and unresolved feelings will also impact how people deal with problems, and this manifests itself in relationships too. Couples therapy is designed to show people how their approach to issues impacts on their loved one and the relationship as a whole.
As well as underlying personal issues, there are also a variety of external issues that can put strain on a relationship. Debt, family problems, health concerns, unstable employment or personal tragedies create a lot of strong emotions, and people inherently rely on their partners for support. If communication has broken down between the two parties, the increased pressure on the weakened bond will manifest itself more clearly through frequent arguments and anger. A counsellor will be able to identify both the internal and external stressors and help the couple work through them.
Determining when couples therapy is necessary can be difficult. A breakdown of communication is arguably the most important symptom of serious relationship problems, alongside violence, continuing arguments, depression and lack of sex. If either party feels like they love their partner less and feels more anger and resentment, the relationship is in critical condition. Likewise, infidelity or secret-keeping is a sign of a serious problem. Couples therapy sees the couple (rather than a specific individual within it) as the “client,” and solutions are geared towards salvaging the relationship where possible. Despite this, it may be found that the issues are a result of deep-seated issues in one or both individuals.
Counselling for couples focuses primarily on improving and facilitating honest communication between them. This helps with conflict resolution, and allows each individual to express themselves more openly and constructively. The therapist can help the couple understand the effects of external pressures on their bond, and will identify any abuse within the relationship. After acknowledging and breaking down damaging habits, the counsellor can teach the couple new coping mechanisms and relationship strategies to help them forge a healthier bond.
It goes without saying that psychotherapy might not be able to repair every relationship. Sometimes people are initially drawn to each other only to find that there are irreconcilable differences between them. In this case, separation and divorce therapy can help facilitate a healthy, mature break-up with no unnecessary pain or suffering. This is largely dependent on how you feel about the relationship, but counselling can reveal stronger ties than you thought existed or conversely a lack of connection altogether.
If you’re struggling to work out whether you and your partner could benefit from couples therapy, we’re here to help you. We’ll listen to your situation, and will suggest the best courses of action to you. Receiving help from a qualified therapist can help if your relationship is becoming extremely difficult, and we’ll make sure you get the help you need. If you still love your partner, working through the issues is important, and counselling can give you vital tools, enabling you to manage any future problems.
For more information about our costs for couples counselling services please see the about us page.