Being in relationship with another seems very simple, we all do it everyday, right? At work, in our families, with friends, we all 'do' relationships. In fact, it is one of the hardest things we ever do, and very few people have any family or school input on how to have a good relationship.
When we are in a romantic relationship, peer pressure, expectations from our families and our own desires for self expression within the couple can all combine to produce a pressure cooker environment, stress and pain result. It doesn't have to be that way. Communication skills, resolution of sexual or practical problems and an ability to really hear and feel how the other person feels can work minor miracles.
Couples counselling works to improve understanding of our partner in the here and now, we know our partner so well its easy to stop asking, stop treating them as a separate individual.
Couples counselling can help with:
Life stage changes are often involved in relationship conflict, learning to juggle commitments and still find connection can work minor miracles. Stages that couples counselling can help with:
> Forming relationships - is this the right person for me? How do I know how to choose a relationship?
> Moving in together - how do we sort out how we run our relationship? Do we wait for each other to do something to find out whose job it is? Do we collaborate on most things but still don't have time to 'have a life'?
> Committed Partnership or Marriage - we've made a commitment - do we have the resilience to ride out the boring or stressful times? Have the dynamics of our relationship changed because we decided this was for keeps?
>Babies - sleepless nights, change of role for both parents, perhaps a temporary reduction in income, tension and stress about being able to cope.
> One partners accelerating career, one being 'stuck' ; Redundancy/job loss; money worries
>Change of role in the family - I call this the 'sandwich years', when the demands of careers, older parents and young children squeeze the couple like the meat in a sandwich.
> Empty nest - what do we do now the kids have gone? Do we still know one another?
>Ageing and retirement - how do we negotiate some of the final choices and changes in our lives? Especially if illness comes to call.
Domestic Violence and Abuse
A large proportion of couples attending counselling have current or previous episodes of abuse and/or violence in their relationship. I don't commit to offering counselling to couples in this instance until I have made a thorough assessment of what is happening; I may however offer individual help to both partners.
I can give you better help with this if you disclose it to me when you book or in the assessment session. Of course, it's not an easy thing to talk about and it may not be safe to disclose it with your partner present in the room, you can contact me separately at any time. Individual sessions may be needed for a full, safe assessment.
If you are in immediate need of help, please call the National Domestic Violence Helpline on 0808 2000 247.
Women can visit https://leedswomensaid.co.uk/ Men can visit http://www.mensadviceline.org.uk/