Relationships – the helping hand of therapy

What is Relationship Therapy and is it right for you?

Relationships therapy is about the relationship not the individuals. It will help both partners better understand their relationship and the role they each play within it. As a Relationship Counsellor I am not able to solve your problems for you. We can mediate and give you strategies to help you communicate better, and see things from a different perspective but we can’t magically erase all the problems you are having. You and your partner both have to put in the work between sessions. Change takes time and a lot of practice, sometimes the issues are so ingrained into a relationship changing things will not happen over night, so patience is key. It’s important to note that both partners need to be willing to make an effort, not just one.

Why and what do you want?

Understanding why you both want therapy and what you want to change is vital too- Couples therapy won’t work if there are different agendas, you need to be on the same page. If one person is more invested in working on the relationship than the other or someone is hiding something or not being completely honest, then therapy is not going to work.

Change…

It’s also worth remembering that relationship counselling will not change your partner. Unfortunately most people enter couples counselling because they feel they need to get through to their partner about how and why they need to change. But the reality is that you can only change yourself. If your partner needs to make a change to something, it needs to come from them. Neither you or a counsellor can make them change if they don’t want to!

Ownership…

If you do enter therapy it is important that you are willing to listen to your partner’s point of view, their thoughts, feelings, fears, and concerns, then you will hopefully get into their mindset and find ways to improve the relationship for both of you. As your counsellor I will encourage you both to reflect on the behaviours and patterns in your relationship and get you to ask the question “how can I do things differently?” Taking ownership of the changes that need to be made is important.

Different frames of reference…

Relationships of any kind- family, couples or even with work colleagues – take work, and there is always more than just one person in a relationship, which means there will be more than one perspective on the issues that you may have come with. This is key. By understanding what the other person is thinking and how they see things will enable you to get a better understanding of the other persons point of view- we don’t always see things the same way and that is okay, its about meeting in the middle.

Relationships take work. If you and your partner are equally committed to making necessary changes, a therapist can help. But if one or both of you are already checked out, therapy is unlikely to work for you. It is important that you are honest with yourself about how you really feel and what it is you want or it won’t work for either of you.

Key tips to help you make those positive changes in your relationships:

  • Communication is crucial, be honest and open about how you really feel.
  • Listening is key- do you really hear what your partner is saying and understand it from their perspective.
  • You have to make the effort– relationships take two people to make them work.
  • Accept responsibility for your part when things go wrong.
  • Try to meet in the middle and always be prepared to compromise.