Relationship Counselling

Relationship Counselling – Marriage Guidance

Relationship problems can contribute to high levels of distress for partners as well as for the people around them. Most couples at some stage or another will experience some difficulty in their relationship that is accompanied by significant levels of distress.  Relationship counselling is somewhere to go where partners can be assisted to work through the difficult problem areas in their relationship and towards their own relationship goals.

What is relationship counselling?

Relationship counselling is somewhere to go where you are assisted to work on understanding and improving your relationship.  It usually involves looking at the reoccurring patterns of interactions that contribute to distress for partners.  A relationship counsellor is trained to assist partners to better understand what is happening within each of them as well as between them.

The Relationship counsellor also assists each partner to improve the communication between them.  This generally helps to reduce arguments and assists in regaining the closeness and understanding that most people want in their relationships.   Once this closeness is present most couples can usually navigate old conflict topics in a new and more satisfying way.

Who is it for?

Relationship counselling is for couples who are committed to understanding what is not working for them and who feel a commitment to improving their relationship.  It can be for partners in a romantic relationship.  It can also be useful for work colleagues, friends, or family members who wish to improve the quality of their relationship.

Sometimes both partners are keen to attend, and sometimes one partner is keener than the other.   There are many advantages to both partners attending together.  The improvements in the relationship can happen more quickly if both partners are working together on problems.  So if both can attend this is great.  However, there are also many reasons and benefits for one partner to attend on their own.  Sometimes one partner on their own is enough to contribute to the changes desired.  And sometimes one partner attending is enough to start with.

Partners should come for counselling when:

  • One or both partners are feeling distressed by some aspect of their relationship that they are finding hard to resolve between them
  • When the closeness and joy in their relationship has declined
  • When there are reoccurring arguments that are distressing for one or both
  • When one or both partners are choosing to spend more time away from the other
  • When partners are struggling to recover from an extramarital affair or other relationship traumas

What to expect?

It is very hard to say how many sessions will be needed so as to improve things for individual couples.   So many factors can contribute to the equation.  There are many reasons why change can be difficult.  For instance, if the problem has been there for over 10 years then responses between the partners may have become automatic and take a little longer to change, or if a relationship injury is very deep (as it can be with an affair for instance) then improvement may need time and considerable effort to rebuild the closeness and trust that partners want back in their relationship.   I am of the opinion that it is usually better to seek assistance earlier and not wait for a few years to pass.  If one or both partners are experiencing distress for more than a few weeks then it may be a good time to come for an appointment.

Franca Gatta has offered relationship counselling since 2006.  Her training in relationship counselling includes her studies at The Cairnmillar Institute, completion of a Specialist Course in Relationship Counselling at Relationships Australia Vic., and a Masters in Couple and Relationships Counselling from La Trobe University, and level one training in Gottman.  Franca is a clinical Relationship Counsellor and currently working towards Certification in Emotion Focused Therapy for Couples with the International Centre for Excellence in Emotion Focused Therapy,

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