An insight into relationship counselling

Several months ago we wrote an article on relationship counselling, which began with the famous quote:

“The course of true love never did run smooth”

(Lysander to Helena, in Act 1 Scene 1 of A Midsummer Night’s Dream)

Our lives can be complex.  The unexpected can and often does happen, and it isn’t always good.  Inevitably, perhaps, the people closest to us – those we love, those we are in relationships with – are likely to be affected or caught up in whatever is happening to us, and a result sometimes those relationships run into difficulties.

We’ve seen that in a general sense talking things through can be tremendously helpful: not merely as an outlet for our emotions but as part of a process of helping.  This is where relationship counselling can help enormously – talking about your challenges together – with a trained psychologist – can help both of you to get things in perspective, understand one another better, and so help you on the path to overcoming your difficulties.

What can I expect from relationship counselling?

A warm, friendly, non-judgmental environment with a complete emphasis on helping you both to overcome your difficulties by seeing one another’s point of view, respecting their feelings, and understanding why they feel the way they do.  All this in the presence of highly trained psychologists who are very experienced in helping couples to enjoy their relationships fully again.

It can be a great relief to share your joint worries and fears with someone who acknowledges your feelings and is able to help you reach a positive solution.

Every relationship is different.  Every relationship counselling programme is therefore different too, but broadly speaking will consist of the following three steps:

  1. exploring your story – what are the difficulties you’re facing and what impact are they having? What is the history, and what would you like to change?
  2. understanding your story – why you’re struggling, and what are the obstacles to overcoming your difficulties?
  3. rewriting your story –harnessing the resources you have to help you get your relationship back on track

A crucial element will be your chance to be heard.  Properly listened to.  And have the opportunity to talk, shout, cry, whatever you need to do, all under the guidance of an expert counsellor who will all the time be seeking to uncover the feelings that are at the root of the difficulties and how best to help you both.

What sort of difficulties can relationship counselling help with?

Perhaps it’s partly because loving relationships are amongst the most wonderful experiences that we can have in life that our expectations can be so high.  And just as the beautiful things we get from relationships are so enriching, the less beautiful things can be so painful.

This pain can lead to tremendous sadness and conflict, and, if unresolved, sometimes the breakup of the relationship.  It might be caused by sexual difficulties, parenting challenges, separation, financial problems, trust, jealousy, insecurity – any number of issues – but in all cases talking it through openly and honestly in a safe and non-judgmental environment can begin to rebuild the relationship.

What defines a good relationship?

There are the intangibles, of course, chief amongst which is that word love again – about which so much has been written – but there are some fundamental characteristics that usually underpin a good relationship:

  • trust – the basis of a good relationship
  • mutual respect – understanding and accepting one another’s needs
  • good communications – the ability to “connect together” effectively

There are many others too, but without these – or if there are problems in one or more of these areas – then difficulties can arise.

There is usually no “quick fix” to relationship difficulties, but honest, open, respectful dialogue – however insurmountable the problems may seem at first – can go a long way towards making things bearable again.

Counselling in London

All Vivamus Psychologists are registered with the Health & Care Professions Council (HCPC) and hold a practising certificate through the British Psychological Society (BPS) and are bound by the Society’s code of conduct and ethical principles.

If you would like to discuss anything that you’ve read in this article in greater detail, would like additional information, find out how we can help you, or arrange a consultation, please contact us:

by phone                                 07797 952 950

or email                        

or via our contact page           Counselling in London

Your complete confidentiality will of course be respected at all times.

In a 2014 survey by the BACP, 69% of people think the world would be a better place if people talked about their feelings more!