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Has anyone been to Relate? I have a few questions

(23 Posts)
LarryMcNue Thu 01-Aug-13 20:54:44

About the initial consultation

I've made an appointment for dp and me

I keep running through scenarios and questions in my head and imagining how I'd respond

It's driving me to distraction and I've realised i'm totally unable to pinpoint or give examples of what's making me / us unhappy

What sort of things will they ask us? sad

Ellisisland Thu 01-Aug-13 20:56:54

I went a few years ago but don't imagine much has changed. The first appointment was basically just them wanting to know why we were there and what we wanted help with. It was really a session as such. Not too in depth.

LarryMcNue Thu 01-Aug-13 21:01:13

So are we going to need to be able to articulate our reasons for being unhappy?

I don't think this is going to work

deliasmithy Thu 01-Aug-13 21:05:19

It can be more general than that.
Like what do u want from it?
They would ask a bit of detail like current situ, how long together, how did things used to be, how are they now, how would you like things to be etc.
They just need an idea of the direction the sessions will go in.

deliasmithy Thu 01-Aug-13 21:07:30

Btw I bet a lot of peeps either think they know what tje problem is but then realise it's something else, or can't name it. That's why it's useful to think more in terms of were you always unhappy together or have things been better and when, and how would you like it to be.

LarryMcNue Thu 01-Aug-13 21:14:15

Thanks delia

Did it help you?

Glenshee Thu 01-Aug-13 21:46:25

I've done initial assessment, and two sessions, recently, going to the third one next week. I went individually, i.e. without a partner, at this stage, because I wanted to make sure it's worthwhile before involving DH who is very busy at work, and because we reached a crisis where I found extremely difficult to talk about our problems without heaving a meltdown. Individual sessions helped me to restore my strength. We are planning to go together as soon as I'm ready.

I have already posted in a different thread questions which you may want to go through in preparation for the initial assessment. They are:

Why am I here?
Am I angry, unhappy, distressed, afraid....?
How do other people in my life impact the situation I'm in now?
How do I normally feel on a typical day of my life? Sad, frustrated, afraid, trapped....?
What changes do I want to make for the future?

I couldn't answer these questions clearly either. So don't worry about it.

Prior to initial assessment I had an overwhelming feeling of fear, despair and disappointment which made it difficult for me to see things clearly. Things are improving; slowly...

All the best with your appointment. Hope it helps you to mend your relationship flowers

Doozle06 Thu 01-Aug-13 21:46:54

that's what they're there for...to help you find the problem, and articulate it. They don't tell you what to do, they help you see it for yourself.
I found them very valuable.

LarryMcNue Thu 01-Aug-13 21:53:59

Thank you glenshee that's so helpful. You too Doozle

God I don't know

I'll have a look at that thread

liquidstate Thu 01-Aug-13 21:58:10

It certainly helped me a lot! Things just come up in conversation. The counselor will get you do exercises like write the most important thing in the relationship etc. The first session will be just exploring issues and the following sessions will lead off from that. DH and I also had solo sessions which is good if there are things you don't want to say in front of your partner.

deliasmithy Fri 02-Aug-13 08:45:45

Usefulness I think is down to 3 things:
1. Preparedness by people attending to explore issues and change thinking and behaviour
2. Style of counselling
3. Quality of and whether you warm to the counsellor.

I have been to relate, fortunately had a brilliant no nonsense counsellor who didn't just sit there in silence but challenged our thinking in a supportive way. Best thing we ever did as a couple, aside from meet and get married. But I can't say this will be your experience because of the above.

We ended up keeping notes of some of the learning points for reference for when either of us revert to old behaviour.

SuburbanCrofter Fri 02-Aug-13 09:01:00

LarryMcNue I have not attended, but I know some Relate counsellors.

Don't worry about coming in with a pre-prepared 'statement' - the counsellor is there to help guide you through the process, even if you just start by saying 'ermm I think there's a problem but I can't put my finger on it'.

Good luck.

PatTheHammer Fri 02-Aug-13 09:01:59

I would agree with Delia on the usefulness thing.
Certainly if either of you go in sceptical or like a closed book you will not get much out of it. If you don't get on with your counsellor then ask to change, they are more than happy to do that.
Ours was a while ago but it certainly helped our marriage. I can't remember lots about the questions but there were certain exercises she did with us that were really helpful. There was one set of drawings of stick people and we had to choose pictures which represented our relationship in its current state and also where we wanted it to be. It sounds shit now but we found it incredibly helpful and kept the diagram for ages.

PatTheHammer Fri 02-Aug-13 09:04:10

Oh yes, good luck. And don't worry about what is the right 'thing' to say. Relate are trained to help you say what you feel and help you verbalise problems.

Crunchymunchyhoneycakes Fri 02-Aug-13 10:02:13

Me and my dh have been attending sessions for a couple of months now, initially weekly and now fortnightly (as one of the things that came out of it was that we need some time just the two of us which we rarely get so we are going to use the childcare we have to do that every second week).

Counselling generally and certainly in my experience of relationship counselling is about the counsellor providing a safe enough space for us/you/one to explore any issues that are there. It gives us a neutral space to work on our communication and also demonstrates our commitment to working on solving the problems we have. Both parties being willing to recognise their part in things and willing to change is helpful of course! Our counsellor has been helpful as a neutral third party who can make suggestions and reflect back to us what she sees us bringing.

We have also been working on our communication at home and have had good success doing this exercise which was a free resource we found.

decisionquiz.com/articles/we-can-communicate-better-an-exercise-designed-to-give-couples-a-satisfying-experience-of-communicating/

LarryMcNue Fri 02-Aug-13 12:55:50

Thank you all

Glenshee Fri 02-Aug-13 14:19:13

In response to your "God I don't know" - I don't think Relate sessions will make your situation any worse than it already is.

They will likely make you feel better because you will be acting on your problems instead of hiding from them. You will be in control.

Clarity is also likely to improve with counseling, and I bet you would prefer clarity (however painful) to uncertainty any day.

Go for it!

LarryMcNue Fri 02-Aug-13 15:19:26

You're probably right Glenshee

part of our problem is my Dps inability to open up, relax, not be self concious, asserting himself, we've been together 15 years. these are still problems

i don't know if he will respond. i think it likely he will sit there feeling shamed and persecuted, nod in the right places, get the hell out as soon as he can and nothing will change

also we cannot afford it - another of our issues is lack of money and the constraints it places on us. he will not agree that this is a good use of limited resources, so will be hostile to the process before we've even begun

issynoho Fri 02-Aug-13 17:49:49

Just offering you a hand to hold Larry as I'm feeling much the same as you. We have our first appt tomorrow morning (waited an agonising 6 weeks) and I am so anxious. The atmosphere in the house is horrible and there is so much being pinned on the sessions.

And we can't afford it either. But we can't afford not to, is how I'm trying to look at it.

Glenshee Mon 05-Aug-13 11:04:26

How did your appointments go, Larry, issynoho? I'm going to mine today.

Glenshee Mon 05-Aug-13 11:40:43

On the subject of fees, I do think Relate fees are unreasonable. I've been quoted £65 per session which is just crazy whatever your income. How could this possibly be justified if they're claiming to be a charity? How many specialists charge £65 an hour (even in commercial environment)? My only thinking is that paying customers are effectively subsidising those in need.

I havent been to relate, but have just started sessions with a local counsellor I found online (£40ph) so if cost is a problem then there may be alternatives. I sat down with a notebook beforehand and tried to articulate what I wanted to discuss. That helped but tbh I didn't really need it as the counsellor was so gentle and welcoming anyway. Dh was cynical beforehand but opened up more than I expected him to. Good luck with It.

rubyrubywoo Mon 05-Aug-13 14:14:35

Going to Relate was one of the best decisions I ever made. My therapist helped me realise that HE was the problem (not me!) and she was my absolute rock for a very long time. It was a real eye-opener. IME, they were reasonable with fees in that they understood my financial situation and allowed me to pay the fees when I could - I was a 'concern' case at the time though, not sure if that makes any difference. Try to be open with your counsellor - they can't help you with something they don't know smile good luck!

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