Why couples counselling?
You might be looking for couples therapy because your ability to talk through the issues you are facing as a couple has broken down. Therapy provides you with a secure, confidential setting away from your home where, with the help of an experienced couples therapist, you can find a way of talking to each other as well as listening and feeling heard. The aim is to reach a deeper understanding of your difficulties and to help you both to find a way of moving forward.
Couples come for therapy for a wide variety of reasons:
Arguments that appear to originate in minor disagreements but quickly escalate and end up with one or other or both parties being hurt. If this applies to you, then the aim in therapy is to help you both to talk honestly about your feelings and to find a deeper understanding of the underlying causes of the conflicts in your relationship.
Sexual problems. There are many different sexual problems that couples bring to therapy. One of the most common is when a couple are no longer having sex. If this applies to you, you might for instance remember enjoying sex when you first got together, but now one, or both of you, just feel ‘the sex has died’.
It is as if you are sexually blocked and can’t find a way to move forward. It could be that you are both working so hard you no longer have time for sex. Or if you have children you find they always take precedence. Sometimes one of you might be depressed, which raises the question of whether it is the depression that has caused the lack of sex or the lack of sex that has caused the depression?
Whatever the reason, many couples find talking about sex hard and even embarrassing. But talking about sex together with a therapist, whatever the problem, may not only provide a sense of relief but can be hugely rewarding as you both work towards restoring the well-being of your relationship.
Infidelity, lies and betrayal often rock the foundations of a relationship. Powerful feelings of hurt, anger, jealousy, guilt, and sometimes a desire for revenge can prove very difficult to manage. If this seems relevant for your difficulties, you may have overwhelming fears that your relationship is not going to survive.
Fearing the loss of your relationship, and your home base, is one of the most stressful things in life. But infidelity need not signal the end of a relationship. With help, many couples do survive. Sometimes infidelity is a symptom of pre-existing problems within the relationship and once these problems are addressed you may both actually find that you become even closer and more intimate than you were before.
Problems with family members, children, or in-laws. Or a bereavement in the family. Couples therapists try to help you work through and address a host of problems you might be facing. Through talking together with your therapist you can strengthen your understanding of the difficulties you face and together develop a way of moving forward.
How can Couples Therapy help?
Whatever the problem, the aim of couples therapy is to:
• enable you to find a way of talking through your difficult feelings
• understand the underlying problems in your relationship
• address any breakdown in communication
• develop more effective communication as you move forward
• provide you with emotional space to explore the choices you wish to make, whether that is staying together or ending your relationship.
Getting to couples therapy can be the most difficult hurdle to overcome – telling your partner that you want couples therapy and making that call to the therapist. Couples usually arrive for their first session feeling very anxious. But once the process of therapy begins there is a sense of relief and hope for the future.
At last the problems in the relationship are being taken seriously. Also the fact that both members of the couple are prepared to invest in their relationship is itself evidence that they care and the relationship really matters.
Couples counselling sessions last 55 minutes and are usually weekly or fortnightly.