You know how relationships are usually perfect, with no problems whatsoever? Neither does anyone else. The truth of it is that relationships are challenging for just about everyone. Put two people together, no matter how much they have in common or how much they’re in love and, sooner or later, they will have a disagreement so profound that one or both of them will wonder about the status of the relationship itself. Many things can happen at this point. Perhaps they will talk it out themselves. Perhaps they will simply let the anger fade away so that it continues to fester in the background. They may simply end the relationship, deciding that it just isn’t worth the stress. Or, they may enlist the aid of a trained professional to see if their relationship can learn to thrive again through counselling.
What is Relationship Counselling?
Relationship Counselling is often comically portrayed on television series as a method of placing blame wherever gets the most laughs. Unfortunately, such portrayals have helped paint a portrait of relationship counselling as simply an expensive way to end a relationship, because there is little humour in counselling that works to save a relationship. As is often the case, the truth is very far from what is portrayed on television. Relationship counselling is not about placing blame or telling you whether you should be together. It is all about exploring your relationship, the parts that work, the parts that do not work, and the parts that are simply missing entirely. It’s all about making discoveries together that can help you make smart decisions for your relationship, even if that ultimately means you don’t stay together.
Does a Counsellor Take Sides?
Contrary to common belief, a counsellor does not have a goal of keeping you together or of forcing you apart. A Counsellor’s goal is to help two clearly unhappy people find happiness once again. While this will certainly include discussing aspects of the relationship, it will also include discussing aspects of each person within that relationship. It can be fairly stated that a counsellor is on the side of both people, because it generally takes two happy individuals to make a happy relationship. This sometimes means the discussion will necessarily focus on one partner more than the other for a time. So while it may seem like a counsellor is taking sides at certain points of therapy, it is really more about the current focus of the discussion and less about the counsellor attempting to push an agenda or take sides.
How Long Does Counselling Take?
Working on a relationship is not a timed task. There is no step/action guide that allows for determining, in advance, how long it will take. What can be said, is that the time needed is in direct proportion to the willingness each person in the relationship has to affect change, both within themselves and within the relationship. If both members of the relationship are not willing participants, with a genuine desire to emerge from counselling a happier person, then no amount of time will result in a satisfactory resolution. A real dedication to the process may allow for rapid results in those cases where the issues aren’t deeply rooted. However, it is never a good idea to enter into counselling with a timeline in mind. Every person and every relationship is unique, and their resulting timeline is also unique.
So Does it is Really Work?
To understand if and how counselling works, you must first understand what “working” means. It does not always mean that the relationship is “saved.” That does not mean it didn’t work. Remember, the goal of counselling is the emergence of two happier people. Sometimes it takes a few tears to push through to real happiness. However, if their relationship has solid roots, if both partners are committed to each others’ happiness, and if both are willing participants in the process, then it can be rightly said that relationship counselling works. Often it does work by saving the relationship, but sometimes it works by helping the partners end a relationship that was never going to make them happy.
Choosing relationship counselling is an important step towards happiness when the relationship is not a happy one. The level of commitment to the process is very often a good indicator of the commitment to each other. Relationship counselling is not a magic wand, and it cannot save every relationship, but it is one of the best ways to find happiness in your life. When you’re ready to learn more contact us.
Ginny Lindsay is a Sydney based relationship counsellor and psychotherapist who supports individuals and couples moving from pregnancy into parenthood. With 40% of divorces happening during pregnancy or in the first 3 years of a child’s life, Ginny established From 2 to 3 to offer support early before a relationship breaks down.