Relationship Guidance and Counselling
Most couples experience a difficult patch at some point in the relationship. It can last weeks, months or even years and may cause you to consider separation. A break up will be emotionally destabilising for you, your partner and your children. Relationship counselling can help you get through these difficult stages, or if you have decided to separate it can make the whole process much easier.
Reasons for Seeking GuidanceCouples often go into counselling because they feel they have reached an impasse in the relationship. They may feel there is a lack of love, or a particular character trait in their partner that makes them angry or upset. One of the partners may have had an affair, or they may get into unpleasant fights. They might be separating and want a forum where they can be emotionally honest.
Counselling can help by bringing issues out into the open. You may decide to go on your own because you want advice on dealing with your marriage, the process of breaking up or personal issues that you feel are affecting your relationship. You may just need someone to listen.
Alternatively, you and your partner might decide to attend relationship guidance sessions together, in order to discuss your problems in the presence of a third party. Either way, counsellors are trained to deal with a range of common issues affecting couples.
How the Process WorksBefore attending, take time to consider what you or your partner feel are the issues affecting the relationship and what you want to discuss. Counselling can be a short or long process, depending on your situation. It usually consists of regular hour-long weekly sessions and can last up to a few months or a year. Don’t expect everything to be dealt with in the first meeting.
There is no hard and fast format to guidance sessions. If you go as a couple then you will probably be asked to take turns describing your feelings about your partner and yourself. Often the counsellor will ask the other party to respond to what has been said. This means directly addressing the other person’s feelings. If the couple stay calm and talk honestly, it can be a very gratifying experience.
It can also be difficult and painful. Often, especially when a couple is considering a break-up, the sessions will reveal deep-seated behaviour or character traits that need to be changed in order for the relationship to survive. It can take time to uncover the causes behind you or your partner’s behaviour, and longer to make the necessary changes.
At a certain point the client and the counsellor may find that the process has reached a conclusion, or that some other course of action is now more appropriate, and they will agree to end the sessions.
If You are SeparatingRelationship guidance if you are separating will usually be conducted as a one-to-one session with the counsellor. You can use the sessions to get advice on the process of divorce or separation, how to look after your children’s best interests and talk about emotional issues relating to the break-up.
Divorce is a difficult process and an important turning point in your life. The loneliness, anxiety and depression can sometimes be overwhelming. Counsellors, psychotherapists and life coaches can be very effective in helping you pinpoint your emotional issues. They can also aid you in working out strategies for dealing with your problems and helping you to move forward.
Look up Counsellors in your Yellow Pages or visit the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy web site for more information.