Couple and Relationship Counselling

Relationship counselling is the process of counselling the parties of a relationship in an effort to recognise and to better manage differences and repeating patterns of distress. The relationship involved may be between members of a family or a couple, employees or employers in a workplace.*

Most long term couples will at some point experience periods of conflict, anger, mistrust or a breakdown in communication.

Failure to communicate and resolve core issues can damage relationships, performance, self-esteem and mood.

Relationship counselling provides an environment where communication is facilitated to help couples express their needs and learn the skills needed to resolve their conflict.

Couple and relationship counselling can also help partners clarify ambivalence or uncertainty about their relationship, to healing wounds and to better function  together as a couple.

Common relationship concerns are about:

  • Mismatched expectations of each other and the relationship
  • Differences in values/interests, wishes, parenting, financial attitudes, housework, chores, responsibilities
  • Difficulties with sexual intimacy
  • Time, quality of time, lack of time
  • Jealousy, mistrust
  • Infidelity, affairs
  • Conflict about children, or family members
  • Unfulfilled emotional needs, feeling hurt, angry, neglected, disrespected or disconnected
  • Frequent arguments
  • Breakups to negotiate separation and help with painful emotions


Often however, it is not the differences that cause the biggest problem, it is the couples approach to dealing with their differences that become the major issue.

Effective work can be done working on your patterns in a relationship even if your partner does not wish to attend therapy or you are not currently in a relationship but have had difficulty in the past.

Counselling will help you uncover beliefs, expectations, patterns of communication and behaviours within the relationship. In addition it will teach new ways to think, communicate, and behave, changing old patterns, and creating opportunities to learn how to deal constructively with future difficulties. Counselling invites you to openly talk about any problems, encouraging each person to take equal responsibility for awareness of the problem, awareness of their own contribution to the problem and making some fundamental changes in thought and feeling. Counselling will improve communication.

In addition, counselling can help individuals and families recover from a separation or a divorce and process this experience positively for future relationships.

My approach to couples/relationship counselling is informed by therapies shown by research to be effective even for couples who are in distress with less entrenched problems but would like to enhance their relationship.

Common core principles of relationship counselling and couple therapy are:

  • Respect
  • Empathy
  • Consent
  • Accountability
  • Confidentiality
  • Evidence based
  • Expertise

I work with same sex couples as well as heterosexual couples and have found that counselling has a strong impact on relationships.

Children are often affected psychologically by the problems which may bring people to couples therapy.

However children are not present in couples counselling which focuses on the relationship between the two partners. Therapy which includes children or other family members is called Family Therapy and can be provided by this practice if it felt to be beneficial.

* Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Relationship_counseling