Couples Counselling, Help and Support
Despite the fact that the vast majority of couples start their lives together in love, share common interests and are optimistic about their future, unforeseen events and, all too often, everyday pressures can destroy their relationship. The possible causes of breakdown are limitless but typically they include sexual dysfunction, child birth and subsequent child care, inability to conceive, differences with members of their respective families, work related problems, financial difficulties, drug and alcohol dependency, illness and disability and changes of goals and aspirations. Whilst no less distressing from an individual’s perspective, occasionally problems become exaggerated out of proportion by one or other of the parties or may seem to be insoluble.
Apart from open argument, which of itself can in fact be beneficial in airing a disagreement, symptoms of the breakdown of the relationship may appear in the behaviour of the parties. Inability to communicate or even to listen, avoidance or exclusion of the other from aspects of their life, seeking and entering other relationships and, regrettably in certain instances, resorting to a form of violence are some of the ways in which people choose to express their disaffection. Of course this behaviour only serves to magnify the original problem and, almost inevitably, a vicious circle is created and the relationship degenerates.
Counselling can help couples to recognise the breakdown, and providing they are willing to work at re-establishing their relationship, can help them to identify each other’s unfulfilled physical and emotional needs. I encourage clients to identify and accept given situations and personal limitations, to understand and respect the other’s values and, where appropriate, to create space for individual development. Ultimately this process will involve one or both of the parties agreeing to make changes to their attitude and behaviour and, where practical, taking steps to resolve the prime source of disaccord.
Whilst the outcomes may be similar, the counselling process differs from mediation, which seeks to find a solution to a problem that each of the parties can accept without necessarily exploring the root of the problem. However, it is worth noting that, with respect to couples clients, I endeavour to give equal time and attention to each of the parties to ensure that their concerns are fully aired.