Relationship counselling is a kind of psychotherapy that can help couples in all types of intimate relationships - heterosexual, homosexual, lesbian, married or single.   Some couples seek counselling in order to strengthen their bonds and gain a better understanding of each other.  In other cases, couples seek counselling to improve or end a troubled relationship.  Whatever the issues, counselling provides couples with time away from home and work to explore difficulties in a safe environment.  This allows each partner to clarify how they think, feel and react. 

Typically, this type of therapy is a highly intimate process and it is recommended only if:

  1. Both partners are in agreement that there are problems that they would like to work through
  2. Both partners are willing to explore these problems, expressing their thoughts and feelings about the relationship to each other and in the presence of a therapist

Once we begin our work together therapy typically includes both partners in the room although occasionally I will schedule sessions with each partner individually.  Sometimes, one partner chooses to work with a therapist alone. The specific treatment plan depends on the situation.

In general, relationship counselling can help you to:

  • Understand how fundamental values such as family, religion, culture, goals and life expectations affect the relationship.
  • Reflect on how the past operates in the present.
  • Explore how arguments and rows seem to escalate in the same way each time.

Problems can arise at any time in a relationship!  Current conflicts can all have their roots in deeper issues, including:

  • Differences in communication
  • Differences in sexual desires
  • Different attitudes about child rearing or blended families
  • Issues with sexuality and expression of emotion
  • Financial problems
  • Different needs for intimacy 
  • Infidelity
  • Differences in expectations and goals 
  • Changes in one or both partners over time

In working with couples, my focus is generally to work towards an improved functioning of the relationship so that it can start to accommodate some of the differences between the two people.  As such, we can examine current conflicts that may express fundamental values, beliefs and outlooks that define your current relationship.  The challenge will be for the three of us to explore how you relate to each other and to clarify any problematic themes or concerns that are perceived as a threat to the relationship.  Over time this may bring about an end to the existing relationship and either paves the way for a new, stronger bond or alternatively helps you move towards an end to the relationship.


Relationship counselling may also be helpful in cases of domestic abuse. If violence has escalated to the point that you're afraid, however, counselling isn't adequate. Contact the police or a local shelter or crisis centre for emergency support.