Relationship counselling is, as the term implies, a branch of counselling which is designed to help couples to resolve problems within their relationship. Read on to learn more about this subject.

What kind of issues do relationship counsellors help with?

Relationship counsellors are trained to assist couples in resolving a huge range of problems. These include jealousy and infidelity, physical intimacy issues, difficulties with communication (many couples find that they cannot discuss certain topics without having huge arguments) and differences in personal values and beliefs.

Counsellors can also help couples whose relationship is being negatively affected by external stressors, such as problems in the workplace, conflicts with other family members, financial struggles or major life changes (like moving house or experiencing the death of a loved one, for example).

What are the benefits of going for relationship counselling?

There are a number of benefits which couples can reap from going for relationship counselling. First and foremost, a counsellor can teach a couple how to communicate in a constructive and respectful manner; this, in and of itself, can have a hugely positive impact on a relationship, as it can drastically reduce the frequency with which conversations escalate into unproductive arguments.

If there are specific, important topics which a couple cannot agree on (for example, if they have wildly differing views on how to parent their children), a counsellor can make it easier for them to negotiate and reach a compromise which will satisfy both parties.

In instances where external stressors are affecting a couple's relationship, a counsellor can also teach them how to manage their stress levels in a healthy way so that they don't end up taking out their frustrations about these external issues on one another.

Last but not least, relationship counselling sessions can provide couples with a safe space, in which they can openly discuss their concerns about their relationship without fear of reprisal. If the conversation becomes heated during a session, the counsellor can step in and stop the discussion from escalating into an argument.

When should a couple start going for counselling sessions?

It's a common misconception that couples should only go for counselling when their relationship is falling apart and communication has completely broken down. In reality, the chances of counselling helping a couple to salvage their partnership will be much higher if they seek help as soon as they realise that they are struggling.

For example, imagine a couple that regularly finds themselves bickering over small, everyday things. In this situation, they may feel that there is no need to go for counselling, as the arguments that they have are not of a serious nature. However, constant bickering is often a symptom of a bigger problem which is not being discussed. If this continues to go unresolved, the 'harmless' bickering could evolve into major arguments which result in the end of the relationship. As such, it is generally advisable for couples who are struggling with seemingly minor problems to start seeing a counsellor sooner, rather than later.