Relationship Counselling (Any Type) - 6 benefits of it!
Relationships are one of the most enjoyable, fulfilling and rewarding aspects of life. It is often in these relationships we learn most about ourselves. This is because of the level of interactions we have with others. When people around us do certain behaviours, only through relationships are we able to understand how we feel about things. We embody our relationships in ourselves, and therefore our insecurities, things we love and past times are highlighted by our relationships.
It is normal to feel that some of the relationships in our life serve us, and others may not serve us as well. We may feel like we distance from those relationships that do not give us what we want out of them, but other relationships may be harder to distance ourselves from.
This is where family therapy, relationship counselling or marriage counselling can come into play. If our family members continuously made us feel a certain way, we may feel the desire to distance ourselves from them but ultimately it won’t change their family. Therefore, putting the work into the relationship might benefit you much more long-term rather than having a family member that you cannot stand. It is unlikely that you would go to see a counsellor or coach for every relationship in your life, but for the ones close to you it can be a great idea. This article goes through 6 benefits of relationship/marriage/family counselling.
Tip #1 – Counsellors and coaches can help us create compromises in our relationships
Comprises are essential to any relationship. They show the other person, that you are willing to be conscious about certain behaviours, habits, communication etc. whilst understanding how they can trigger the other member of the relationship. The compromise is adjusting that behaviour so that the other party in the relationship is not affected emotionally, mentally or physically. Seeing someone you’re in a relationship with compromise is a signal. It signals that the other person is being honest with themselves by taking an active effort to work on certain behaviour. It also signals commitment, as the person is putting in the work, for the long-term benefit of the relationship. Creating these compromises is the work that both parties in a relationship will have to do and a counsellor/coach can help facilitate that. Essentially, due to our issues, when we certain behaviours play out in front of us we can get triggered. This may not be personal to the other member of the relationship. A practitioner can help find the root of your issue, and within relationship counselling, both parties can see why the person is triggered by a certain behaviour and how you trigger that same person with that particular behaviour. Having these, vulnerable, conversations in front of each other can be the catalyst for change to cater for each other's needs. A counsellor and coach will provide you with the necessary space to make certain compromises with each other whilst still finding ways to express yourself without causing the other person distress.
Tip #2 – Enables you to understand and work through relationship problems
Every relationship has its own unique set of problems. This is natural, and there is no need to panic and think your relationship is failing when you begin to uncover natural problems about compatibility. Depending on the relationship, there are umpteen reasons why you may only be noticing these issues now. The real question comes to whether you both see enough benefit in improving the relationship and whether you are both ready to tackle these problems. Whether you decide to tackle these problems or not, is not a problem – as long as you are aware that by you not taking an active role in working through the problems could lead to the relationship's further deterioration and in some cases termination of the relationship.
If a mutual decision to see a counsellor/coach is reached you are enabling the relationship to grow. This is because you are taking an active role in improving the relationship, and the decision alone already shows the commitment and love the relationship provides. A counsellor will be able to see your issues, issues with each other and how your problems affect the core functioning of the relationship. This means you are being coached and counselled on your issues but in front of the other members of your relationship. This creates a circle of trust with you both being vulnerable with each other and the practitioner. This already brings you closer, on top of that you can see what work you need to do whilst understanding any toxic behaviours that are rising due to unprocessed emotions.
When both parties can understand how they are getting in the way of themselves and the relationship you help the relationship grow. Both people are understanding of each other, they understand why they both are the way they are and how it is not personal to them. This is a large step in being able to let each other be who they are.
You can begin supporting each other, and your journey of growth by confiding in each other when you display some of your old behaviours rather than lashing out. Communicating may also become easier as you have already been vulnerable with each other.
Tip #3 – Improve communication between relationship members
Communication is essential to all relationships. Whether it is a mother-son, father-daughter, brother-sister, grandfather-grandchild, colleague-colleague or friend-friend etc. communication is a pillar for a great relationship. Often when people are disagreeing there would be some form of miscommunication. This could be known or unknown to the pair.
When you enlist into a form of relationship counselling, a practitioner is initially trying to understand what troubles the pair are having. This is enhanced by the space provided in counselling or coaching. This metaphorical ‘space’ refers to the time and location where two people in any given relationship can communicate their feelings via an intermediary (counsellor or coach). Having this common area to speak candidly about how each member in the relationship feels is alone a major healing factor. It requires each member of the relationship to be vulnerable with one another which leads to greater understanding between the pair and better communication.
A counsellor or coach will then help bridge the gaps in communication so that both parties can understand what is being said. This bridge helps facilitate listening between both parties, as we can often shut down when we are hearing negative criticism. Additionally, the counsellor or coach will help reshape the negative comments so that they can be heard better. In time the benefits of better communication will be seen with calmer confrontations with the hope of more accountability and less time spent blaming one another.
Tip #4 – Give a voice to those who find it difficult to express their feelings
Everyone has a unique form of expression; some people can be extroverted and others can be introverted. This can lead to some people being loud and others being quiet. To mistake someone’s silence for the submission is a mistake that occurs often in a relationship. Often those who are quiet can find it extremely hard to share their feelings via words. In times of quarrel, they find their minds go quiet and thus are unable to express how they feel. A relationship counsellor or coach can be of huge benefit in situations like this.
In a counselling or coaching space, the quieter person in the relationship is given a chance to share their feelings. The counsellor or coach is more likely to ask a question and give the person more time to respond so they can gather their thoughts. Additionally, the practitioner can ask the louder person in the relationship to remain patient whilst the other responds. The practitioner is also likely to ask questions more subtly to avoid overwhelming the quieter client. Thus providing a comforting space where the introverted individual knows their voice is valued and they are being heard.
As the louder of the two can hear their partner (of any relationship), they can begin to understand their partner. As the therapy sessions continue, this understanding will deepen and there a new form of communication would develop with the quieter individual sharing some of their non-verbal cues, which their partner can more easily understand when they are lost for words. A broad range of exercises may also be given for the louder and quieter individual – exercises that aid understanding of one another. For example, the quieter individual could find it’s easier to test how they feel rather than use spoken words and the louder individual may learn to give the quieter individual space to process their emotions.
Tip #5 – Help through life transition periods and process its effect on a relationship
Change is inevitable in life. It could be down to a wide range of reasons i.e. change in schooling, moving homes, change in job or even relationship status. Changes like this can be referred to as transition periods within a relationship. Transition periods can affect the dynamics within a relationship. If one or both members are going through significant transitions their behaviours can be affected, thus the other person could notice that change and it may make the feel uncomfortable. In a relationship, we have certain expectations of our close relationships and a transition period could result in those expectations not being met. Resulting in frustration, upset or even disappointment.
Seeing a counsellor or coach during a transition period can be especially rewarding. You can begin these sessions by sharing the type of transition you are going through and then start to share how this affected the dynamics within your relationship. It could lead to the introspection of your previous expectations and understanding if they are still needed or how they can be adjusted to make the transition into account. During the sessions, you will be able to share, honestly, how the incoming change or transition has affected your lives.
This should lead nicely to the compromise part of relationship therapy. In this part of the session, both parties reflect on what changes either person can make within themselves to cope with the transition better. The opposite parties can then begin to understand how the transition has affected their relationship partner which ideally should shift blame from each other to greater understanding and accountability. All in all, the transition can provide a springboard for growth therefore it requires an honest assessment of how it may affect your relationship followed by check-ins – to see whether you need to revaluate previous expectations.
Tip #6 – Balancing power dynamics
Power dynamics are important in relationships and group settings. They indicate who likes to control more and who prefers to be more submissive. If this power dynamic is distorted it can create real imbalances within a relationship. Power imbalances can be common in relationships, marriages, and even families. It usually looks like one person is taking the charge and the other follows along even when they do not want to and would prefer to speak out.
A coach or a counsellor can help show the power dynamics within a relationship. They can ask the members of the relationship or family if they are happy with that dynamics. This may shed light on whether the members of the relationship feel any type of way about their dynamic. By going to see a coach or counsellor, one can decide whether the power imbalance is suited to them. Which should lead to individual realisations on whether they have been enabling a power imbalance; either by being too submissive or too controlling. Once all parties are aware of the power imbalance a coach or counsellor can help facilitate the relationship towards equilibrium. Initially, the results may be small, but over time the members of the family or relationship will become more proactive in this process – being able to see the benefits of a balanced relationship.
For a relationship to blossom sustainably the power dynamics should be balanced and this will lead to both parties having a maximum benefit from the relationship. In certain cases, some individuals can become power-hungry and use relationships to feel a sense of control. With counselling and coaching, these individuals can become aware of their behaviours and work through their controlling tendencies and eventually let go of them.
Relationship (family or marriage) counselling can make us feel uneasy. There are a lot of stereotypes within this industry about how it is a signal of the end of the relationship, or how only people who have very difficult relationships would even bother with this. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Counselling or coaching of relationships is there to provide a different space for the relationship. A space where you can express how you feel, how the other member of the relationship makes you feel. More importantly, it is a place for listening. So many of the issues in relationships come down to not listening to each other. You are hearing what the other person says, but you are just thinking about what you are going to say in response to defend yourself. This is not listening and results in a contest of who is more right. As we have read, communication, compromises, evolution and space play a large part in a relationship. A coach or counsellor in this field can help facilitate these things and for this, both parties of the relationship need to be willing to work on a better outcome for them both. Humility is essential, before undergoing counselling or coaching as a whole – this is because you are accepting there are areas you can work and improve on and that you are not perfect. Ultimately, by committing to the process of any relationship counselling and coaching you are taking a proactive role in the future of your relationship whilst providing real stability for your relationship at the moment. Let the past be the past, and move forward together.
Have you ever thought about relationship counselling? Marriage counselling?
What prevented you from taking those steps?
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