If you've answered 'yes' to any of the above then relationship counselling could be helpful.
How can relationship counselling help?
Relationship counselling provides a confidential space where you can talk about your relationship with a trained counsellor who will be both respectful and objective. When working with a couple I aim to make sure that there is space and time for each of you to be heard. As an outside observer, trained in relationship counselling, part of my role is to provide some helpful feedback on your ways of relating.
Relationship problems often result from difficulties in communication, so the sessions may focus simply on the way that you talk (or don't talk) to each other, and understand (or don't understand) each other.
Relationship counselling is a joint process. We work together to understand the blocks in your relationship and to find some practical solutions. With your agreement, I may suggest 'homework' exercises to be carried out between sessions. This could be something as simple as finding 15 minutes to sit down and talk to each other about your day. Many couples find small steps like this can make a big change to their relationship.
Taking the first step
It's not easy to come and talk to a stranger about your relationship. You may be anxious about what your partner may say, or about what the counsellor will think. You may feel unwilling to risk being embarassed or hurt by something your partner says in the session. For all these reasons it's easy to delay making an appointment, even when you have both agreed it could be helpful.
If you have any doubts about the value of counselling it can be a good idea to book a single appointment so that you can get a sense of how relationship counselling works. You can then go away and talk about it together and decide whether relationship counselling could help you, and whether I am the right counsellor for you.
It's important that you both feel confident in your choice of counsellor; that you both feel able to talk about your feelings and trust that you will be treated with respect.
If you would like to book an appointment, click here to see my current availability.
Self help books
These are some books that I can recommend:
Better relationships: practical ways to make your love last.
by Sarah Litvinoff. Vermilion, 2001.
Breathing room: creating space to be a couple, by Elayne Savage. New Harbinger, 2000.
The dance of intimacy by Harriet Lerner. Harpers, 2003.
This one looks at the unhelpful patterns we can get into within relationships
Staying together: from crisis to deeper commitment, by Susan Quilliam
Vermilion, 2001. - useful exercises to help you look at your relationship/s
Why women talk and men walk: how to improve your relationship without discussing it, by Patricia Love and Steven Stosny, Vermilion 2007.