How couples counselling can make a Difference
Our specialist Couples Counsellors help couples achieve the kind of relationship they really want.
Seeking professional help for a marriage is a big step for most couples, but a necessary one.
The stakes are high for couples, their families, and for the individuals who are experiencing difficulties
When to get Help
There is something to admire in couples who are honest enough to admit to themselves that they are having problems in their marriage to the point where they can no longer fix their issues on their own. They seek the help of a couples counsellor to resolve their issues and get their marriage to a new place of strength, love and respect.
Marriage counselling, essentially helps couples to gain a better understanding of their issues, to resolve conflicts, and to learn new skills and knowledge to develop and sustain a strong and loving connected life together.
Couples counselling is provided by registered Marriage and Relationship Counsellors and/or Family Therapists, with formative training in mental health. They may be Psychologists, Social Workers, Occupational Therapists or Specialist Counsellors.
Couples counselling is often seen as a short term option of around 4 – 10 sessions, with occasional revisits to add to the couples skill and knowledge base.
Although marriage counselling generally involves two partners, sometimes one partner will want to see the marriage counsellor alone.
This may be be because one partner was unwilling to attend, or they feel that they need to discuss something first with the couples counsellor before they talk about it in a marriage counselling session with their partner.
When couples begin to encounter problems in their relationship that are beginning to cause damage in their marriage, then it’s clearly time to get some professional help.
Rather than divorce, most couples want to salvage their troubled marriage and restore it to the healthy and loving union they once enjoyed.
Good Reasons for Marriage Counselling
1. Communication has become more negative than positive
Once couples start the negative communication spiral, it is often a challenge to get it back to a positive place.
Negative communication can include comments, words or behaviour that leaves the other partner feeling flat, disregarded, disrespected, unloved, insecure, depressed, or general feelings of being hurt.
Negative communication also includes “tone” and how it is used. How people say things maybe more important than what is actually said.
2. When differences are now causing conflict
Often for couples the characteristics of the other person that initially attracted them are now leading to conflict as the differences are now becoming a source of discontent.
Problems develop later in the relationship when the honeymoon period has passed and life has become routine. It begins by the introverted person becoming less willing to get out and participate in life’s opportunities.
Eventually, the introverted person can become more like a ‘handbrake’ than a partner in life to the extroverted person. At this point, extroverts begin asking themselves “What happened to the person I married?” or “Have I married the wrong person?”
3. When one or both partners have had an affair
This issue is one of the more difficult ones for couples to recover from. It takes a lot of commitment and genuine hard work from both partners to rebuild the trust and security of the marriage.
In order for the marriage to move to the healing stage, there will be a will need to be a willingness by the betrayed partner to reach some level of acceptance.
The Couple’s Counsellor will skill fully guide this process whilst recognizing that this is extremely difficult for the betrayed partner to achieve.
4. When the couple become just ‘best friends’, ‘co-exist’ or ‘flat mates’
When couples become more like ‘best friends’ than partners in a marriage, it is a good indication that they need couples counselling
While couples are busing doing all the right things in life, they can unknowingly take their eye off the passion in their relationship.
After being together for a number of years, even without children, life together can become routine. Intimacy, passion, lust, sex and even affection simply begin to slide away without either partner particularly noticing.
That is, until you realize what you have become.
We often advise couples that being ‘best friends’ should be part of the relationship mix, but that is all. A life long passionate marriage requires just that, passion.
The good news is that many couples can rediscover and reclaim the passion that they once enjoyed with each other. By seeing a Marriage Counsellor who can skill fully assist you to rediscover the zest that you once had.
5. Chronic conflict or consistent bickering
Conflict in marriage has multiple dimensions, ranging from avoiding any argument through to volatile hostility. All forms of conflict occurring over a long period of time will destroy a marriage as well as a family.
One of the stand-outs in couples who fight, is that there is a lot of stability in conflict. It becomes a pattern.
This means that people do not change their ways easily on “how they do” conflict.
If you feel that the type, level and frequency of conflict is making you question the marriage, then it is time to seek professional couples counselling… now.
6. Expressing more negative than positive feelings
What we feel on the inside, shows up on the outside. To mask negative feelings, people will often adopt a range of behaviours in order to cope. Some of these masking behaviours include alcohol, drugs, becoming a workaholic, obsessions of various sorts, just to name a few. All lead to stress and problems in the marriage.
Negative feelings begin to appear within the marriage in the form of resentment, hurt, sadness, disappointment or anger. If left untreated, it will lead to relationship breakdown.
Marriage Counselling will help the couple to identify and understand the negative feelings and behaviours, and to find respectful and better ways to express them, eventually resulting in a stronger relationship.
7. When separation feels like the only choice left
It’s difficult not to agree that a temporary ‘time out’ could be helpful for a couple that is locked in negative patterns that they can’t seem to shake themselves out of. However, the risk is that when couples start having overnight stays away from their home, it may lead eventually to separation.
This is a strong signal that a couple needs to see a Marriage Counsellor asap.
Spending time apart from each other does little to resolve the problems a couple is experiencing. It can, however, provide a little piece of room to breath, but when the partner returns, the problems are still there.
8. Staying together for the sake of the children
Children are a great incentive for couples to get help to work on their marriage. However, to simply remain together for the sake of the children without seeking professional help, may not ultimately prove the wisest decision a couple could make.
The results of these decisions tend to show up much later in their child’s life. Children are highly tuned into the lives of their parents and are very intuitive to what’s going on. You can’t fake happiness for very long.
If you find yourself starting to feel or think like this, then it’s time to get some professional help, so that you both can take a better course of action for all in the family.
For those couples willing to commit to learning more about themselves and their partner, marriage counselling will definitely help to restore their relationship to a strong, healthy and loving union.
Specialists Couples Counselling Serivce
Couples Counselling is an opportunity to gain perspective about your fears, vulnerabilities, and why you do what you do.
And you can use this to live better lives together.