Research has found that most couples with relationship problems wait for six years before they seek help. If any of the following are true for you, you should seek professional relationship advice as soon as possible.
Do you feel criticized in your relationship?
Do you feel unfairly blamed?
Do you feel your partner is trying to control you?
Some people see relationship counselling as a last resort. This means that problems are already extensive and possibly deeply rooted by the time counselling services are accessed. This reduces the impact that counselling can have on relationship issues.
Most couples don’t look forward to a conflict filled relationship and don’t get married with the expectation that the relationship will end up in divorce. Yet conflicts happen and disagreements occur, resulting in tension and unhappiness. Being able to handle conflict and deal with differences is important in establishing a healthy relationship.
What is a fulfilling, healthy relationship?
A good adult relationship is one in which both people have equal rights, equal opportunities and equal responsibilities. Basically, good relationships are based on each person respecting the other and being able to communicate clearly. Different people have different definitions of what a fulfilling, intimate relationship means for them. Some of the things most of us expect in a relationship include:
- Intimacy and sexual expression
- Equality and respect
- Emotional support
For a relationship to be good, both partners must want to make it work and show goodwill. Good relationships don’t just happen; they are created by people willing to work at them. Once you get the hang of it, working at a relationship can be very satisfying. Don’t just wait for the other person to start. You may be pleasantly surprised by how much difference taking the first small step can make.
People often get very emotional and sometimes angry when they see their partner has different values, beliefs or expectations. We all need to understand and accept that between any two people there will be differences in ideas and expectations and, at some times, conflict and strong expression of feelings. Our relationships actually become stronger if we talk about these differences. We need to find out what differences are always going to be just part of the relationship and what issues might have a solution if they are discussed more.
What are some of the warning signs of relationship problems?
Noticing early warning signs of relationship breakdown can help a couple resolve conflicts. Some early warning signs are:
- Recurring arguments that are never resolved.
- Feelings of dissatisfaction and unhappiness.
- Abandonment of joint activities – just living parallel lives.
- Preoccupation with interests and activities outside the relationship
- An affair – becoming emotionally and/or sexually involved with a person outside the relationship.
- Arguments over parenting.
When is it a good time to get professional relationship advice/help?
If your relationship has some of the early warning signs listed above, it can be useful to consider consulting with a professional experienced in responding to stresses and relationship problems.
Imago Relationship Counselling provide people with information and skills on a range of relationship issues. Counsellors can help you to make sense of your experiences in this relationship, to develop ways of managing conflict and difference and to make decisions about the future directions for your relationship. Setting a couple’s goals and expectations at the outset of counselling can affect the outcomes of their therapy.
Barriers to relationship counselling
Some couples experience practical barriers to accessing relationship counselling. These include:
- costs of counselling
- long waiting lists
- limited appointment times and
- geographical distance
At Wellness TC3, we are painfully aware of these barriers and that’s why the costs of our counselling sessions are competitive with medical aid rates and can be claimed back from your medical aid. We don’t have long waiting lists as we have a team of professionals with varied skills that can assist you in whatever your unique needs are. We have offices at different locations to make it more convenient for you to travel to the location nearest to you.
Attitudinal barriers can prevent some couples from accessing counselling. These include:
- being reluctant to discuss what they see as private relationship problems
- not accepting the severity of the problems
- believing that relationships do not need work or are fixed and cannot be changed
- having previous negative experience or perceptions of counselling
Research has proven that couples who feel they get on well with their therapist are likely to have better outcomes. Furthermore, couples with strong alliance with their therapist are more likely to remain in therapy for the appropriate length of time rather than drop out before the support has had a chance to make an impact.
At Wellness TC3, we want you to feel comfortable with your therapist so that we can help you address your problems in a caring, supportive, yet professional environment. We therefore only employ the best people and our results have proven that we go the extra mile for our clients!