Many couples come to counselling feeling they have lost hope, meaning and purpose for their marriage. Both can feel they are not listened to, not heard, understood, not allowed to express their thoughts feelings or needs, feeling no respect or that they lack leadership, feeling there are no emotions except negative one and there are strong feelings of giving up and thinking ‘what’s the point’.

Counselling offer hope, options, and different ways of relating, it brings a different perspective and looks and focuses on solutions…

Of all the relationships we develop or go into, for many being in an intimate relationship like marriage is the most challenging one. This type of relationship challenges us, more than any other type of relationship.  It requires trust, understanding, intimacy, communication and listening, patience, healthy interpretations of what the other says and does, good interaction, closeness, healthy emotional expression and clear expression of needs and behaviour. This type of relationship is under pressure from all areas, previous relationships, hopes, expectations, work and career, family, friends, finances, health and culture. We can start to feel trapped, drained, anxious, and depressed, and feel that all love and positive emotions, power, energy and motivation are gone. We might feel like a failure, looser, unlovable even old, stupid and ugly. Our sense of identity, self-worth rests on the strength of the relationship and when we are unhappy, we stop working and it affects us deeply. 

Patterns of behaving and relating that we learned as children often re-emerge in our adult relationship. It can seem that both individuals bring their backpack into the relationship of both positive and negative experiences. So if the other one is upset about something, we might react in a defensive or self protecting way, this is where we go into our backpack and use the principles we feel are appropriate in this new situation, the situation can trigger emotions like, rejection, feeling blamed, inadequate, anger, fear etc.  We know our relationship needs help when there are


  • Communication breaks, misinterpretation on both sides
  • Sex has ended or causes problems in intimacy
  • Arguments continue without resolution
  • Violence and abuse erupt
  • Depression or other health problems recur
  • The bond of trust is eroded or broken
  • Lack of patience, tolerance and understanding
  • Looking for emotional and or physical needs to be met elsewhere
  • Main thoughts and attitude become negative and pessimistic
  • Negative self-talk 

It is normal for relationships to be challenged and couples to argue or disagree as the pressure and strains of everyday life mount. Love may be challenged or disappear, replaced by resentment, disappointment, frustration and anger. Each partner can view this differently depending on their own experience of family life. One may despair, while the other may view it as a temporary blip.

When the feeling of passion, need of closeness, lack of communication and intimacy has disappeared then the feeling of disappointment can surface faster and become the main belief and the only truth about the relationship. This is maybe the moment when we should examine the option to really start to look for help with a skilled counsellor and build a deeper, realistic and more fruitful relationship with our partner.     

When is the right time for Couple Counselling?

  • There has been a betrayal of trust; an affair, debt or secret
  • Talking causes confusion or unbearable anger
  • Separation or divorce seem like the only option
  • Desire has gone or sex is no fun
  • Arguments and bickering go on and on…
  • Lack of communication, listening and understanding
  • Generally when the feeling of distant, coldness and absence appears 

Being able to manage conflict, arguments and rows is the foundation to a good relationship. It is unrealistic to hope that arguments can be avoided, different needs, values and beliefs need to be explored and heard and acknowledged in order to thrive. Arguments are a healthy and essential part of any relationship and can energise it if carried out skilfully, however indirect anger, any kind of abuse or domestic violence are destructive.

Causes of Distress

  • Lack of communication, clarification and understanding
  • Stress can break a relationship
  • Illness can deplete both partners
  • Birth of a child can leave a partner feeling abandoned
  • Depression can leave a partner feeling deserted
  • External pressures can sever the couple bond
  • Disappointment can lead to anger and hostility
  • Life changes
  • Couples background experience
  • Children leaving home can allow resentments to resurface

Relationships need solid foundations; two unhappy people with unresolved issues rarely make a long term happy relationship, the pleasure is in wanting to be with someone rather than the tension of feeling needy and dependent. Self-respect and liking oneself are the important ingredients for all good relationships. Counselling can help with understanding the messages about conflict that we may have inherited from our family and offer new skills.

How can Couple Counselling help?

  • Destructive patterns of relating can be recognised and addressed
  • Conflict and communication and listening skills can be improved
  • New relationship skills can be learned
  • The impact of change and loss can be examined
  • Relationships can be more successful, feeling valued and respected
  • Abusive relationships and domestic violence can be acknowledged and dealt with

Sex can be a source of great enjoyment within a long-term relationship and any problems it poses can leave one partner feeling rejected or angry. Loss of desire is often an early sign of problems. Childhood sexual abuse, for example, can impact on a happy relationship and can be helped with a suitably qualified practitioner. Other sexual problems may have a physical or medical cause, but can often be addressed with a good therapist.

Communicating and staying connected during difficult times may feel impossible. When two people no longer relate, their relationship is in crisis. Often the feeling of betrayal of some type follows; an affair or a secret debt as the breakdown is acted out. Skills are available to help you listen and be heard, particularly when the unbearable needs to be heard and acknowledged.

Every couple can be helped as long as both have the longing and desire to do so. Almost every couple coming for counselling have one thing in common that is, a lack of communication, clarification and understanding or different interpretation of their issues.  A new depth of understanding, a new way of communication and clarification, a deeper relationship and love can be reached.

What the couple can expect in Counselling?

Safe, non-judgemental place to explore what is going on from both sides.  Usually the therapist meets the couple for an initial 1 ½ hour assessment to see and hear from the couple what is going on. The therapist will, based on what is shared and based on how the couple interact, suggest that each of the couple come for an individual session of one hour each, to speak freely about what they see are the issues in the relationship.  Whatever is shared either as a couple or as an individual is kept confidential to that session.  The sessions from then on are as a couple, and for 1 ½ hours.  The number of sessions are dependent on what are the issues for the couple, after six sessions of meeting, the therapist and the couple review the success of the therapy and where they want to go from there!