What is couples counselling?
We all have some idea of what we believe happens in couples counselling, but how accurate and up to date is our image of the process? The major difference between couples counselling and regular therapy is that the client isn’t you – it is the relationship that you and your partner, or partners, share. Counselling involves creating a space where you can talk about that relationship, and each individual role within it. It isn’t about ‘fixing’ anyone, it is about improving the communication, the intimacy and the connection within the relationship itself.
This can be because a couple have lost each other, are unable to connect, or can be because of a betrayal, real or suspected. In this instance it is about understanding why, for all involved, that the betrayal has occurred, and the impact that it has on the relationship. It is also about how to learn to incorporate that loss into the relationship.
Sometimes it can be to help a relationship end, to help those involved come to terms with how to create a future life together where there is still communication, but without that being day to day, perhaps for the sake of children, friends and family.
What happens in the sessions?
My role is to create a safe space for communication. Firstly this involves each person talking about what they feel is difficult for them, whilst the other person listens. Listening involves doing more than being present in the space, it is an active process. This means not focussing on your own thoughts, and thinking about what you want to say back, but instead being present to what the other person is saying. This is achieved through therapy by reflecting back what has been said and creating understanding before then allowing time to respond – a very different process to how we tend to communicate in the heat of the moment.
The word ‘safe’ is important here, safe to talk openly and honestly, safe to be ourselves, and most of all, safe for the relationship.
For problems in other areas of the relationship, I can offer support for intimacy through creating a new view of sexual connection, working with the senses and creating a menu of intimacy rather than focussing on the more traditionalist view of sexual connection.
Ultimately the goal is to build connection, understanding, and communication, to give you skills that will allow you to be better prepared for the road ahead.
Who should go to couples counselling?
Typically we use counselling like we use a hospital. We go when we are struggling, when we are in pain, or just as a last resort. This is our cultural view of the purpose that counselling serves. However, there is good reason to also use counselling like we use the gym – to go to prevent rather than cure, to help tone up rather than heal wounds. Couples counselling is a good way to maintain a healthy relationship, to deal with smaller issues earlier rather than when they are out of control. Ultimately, couples counselling, like individual counselling, has a role to play in anyone’s life.
How much does it cost?
Each couple have their own requirement but typically we start with a 60 minute session for £70. After this we meet every other week for a 90 minute session for £100. If you think about this as a ‘cost per minute’, that equates to just over £1. The cost of ending a relationship far outstrips this – mediators typically charge £300 per hour (£5 per minute) – but even that is cheap when looking at the alternatives. A divorce in the UK costs on average £14,561 (moneyadviceservice.org.uk) with additional costs for property.
How do I start?
Feel free to contact me via the website, via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, via WhatsApp, or telephone on 07976 711090. I have a quiet, confidential and safe space, and currently have availability.