Modern relationships can be complicated – there are so many ways now to have intimate and/or sexual connections with others. At some point, most of us need some support to work out what we really want from our intimate relationships, and how to have the most mutually authentic and rewarding connections with others that we can.
Relationship counselling and psychotherapy is one of the most effective ways to do this.
Relationship work is not just for straight couples, but can be a help to anyone who has an intimate committed relationship to another, and who finds they are having problems sustaining that.
People often turn to counselling or psychotherapy for their relationship when what used to feel romantic, supportive, exciting, sexually playful and fulfilling seems to have lost much of these qualities. Instead, being with the other evokes a painful amount of irritation, boredom, conflict, sexual frustration and a sense of either being trapped or let down by the other. If these painful feelings take up too much of the time and space in a relationship, people can begin to fear they can't or shouldn't sustain their connection with the other and it will have to end.
Insecurities, personal histories, fears and the breakdown of trust can make it difficult to fully enjoy each other’s company. These emotions are common in relationships, and most people experience them sometimes. But when they start dominating the relationship and partners don’t seem to be able to move on, then therapy and counselling can help.
In relationship therapy you can look closely into what you appreciate about and would like to keep in your relationship, and what you’d like to see changed. You and your partner can come to a better understanding of how conflicts are usually created and how each of you deals with them; also, what issues you each find difficult to talk about, and when you feel both misunderstood or not listened to.
For some, the therapy is seen as a ‘last resort’ to salvage the relationship. Others use sessions as a way to keep their relationship healthy and address any underlying concerns that may become conflicts in the future. For a few people, the therapy is the best way to finally come to a good enough resolution that the relationship ought to end and to manage this with less bitterness and hurt.
You can’t repair a relationship in one or two sessions, but in time, therapy can offer you a way to help people understand why they chose to connect to each other, and how a rich, enduring link with someone else can be built and sustained.