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Relate councelling - what to expect?

(6 Posts)
choceyes Fri 15-Jul-11 13:00:09

Me and DH are having real difficulties in our relationship. Mostly due to having 2 young DCs I think. We argue a lot and because we are always with the children (when not working), these arguments tend to in front of them, so something must be done and we've agreed we will go for councelling and I am going to book an appointment soon at Relate.

Just wanted to know what to expect? I guess they don't really offer solutions, do they just listen? Was it helpful to anyone?

toomanyeasterbunnies Fri 15-Jul-11 13:40:16

I have just had my 8th session with Relate (the first 6 sessions with my H and the last 2 on my own as I need some counselling of my own). This followed the discovery of my H's affair.

The first session is just to find out the background of your problem so they can identify what type of counselling you need. They also tell you a bit about Relate and what you can expect. We then had to wait about 6 weeks for the next appointment.

As you said, they do not offer solutions but can help guide the conversation. They will help you identify the problems and come up with your own solutions making sure that both of you get heard. In my case our counsellor also made sure that my H wasn't shifting any of the blame onto me.

I just wish we went to Relate before the affair! sad

Butterbur Fri 15-Jul-11 14:31:18

DH and I have had our initial session this week, and are now waiting for a convenient slot for counselling.

We were both very apprehensive, but I feel much more positive since the session, and DH has already been trying to change some of the behaviour that has made my life with him hell for the last 13 or so years.

Why it took the presence of a third party to make him listen to how I felt, instead of shutting me down, I don't know. Maybe it was the very fact that going to Relate is the Last Chance Saloon before divorce that made him take notice.

I wish we had gone years ago.

StableButDeluded Fri 15-Jul-11 19:00:37

DH and I did Relate last year, and I thought they were fantastic. Up till then it felt like I was talking to a brick wall with Dh whenever i tried to talk about problems, and so I'd end up getting frustrated and shouting, then he'd just walk away, which infuriated me even more. As soon as we talked to our counsellor I felt she instantly could see the problems between us that I could see, but DH couldn't.

As the others have said, the first session is just to set out what to expect, try to identify what they can do for you, and if you want to go ahead. It's much better than just basic counselling (where in the past i've just felt they just listen and then just say 'well, what do you want to do?) because although the Relate counsellor is neutral, they will ask questions, advise on where you maybe going wrong, guide the conversation to keep it on track and they will if necessary give you little exercises to do at home, depending on what your problem is.

For example, because we had trouble 'hearing' what each other had to say, one of our tasks every week was what we called the 'tissue box thing'. Basically, we had to take turns to hold an object-could be anything, in our case the tissues were the nearest thing. Whoever is holding the object gets to talk to the other person for up to 5 minutes, telling them how they feel, etc and the other person HAS to listen without interrupting or contradicting etc. Then when they've finished talking, the listening partner relates back to them what they have said-to show that they have understood. Then you swap the tissue box over and do it again.

One of the rules with this task is that once it's finished, it's done, that's it. You must'nt mull over or argue about what's been said, or even talk about it, you just put the object down (tissue box) and carry on doing whatever you want to do. It's just a basic exercise to get you into the habit of talking regularly and really listening to each other.

I totally agree with butterbur in that I have no idea why DH did so well from having a third party there. He's always been the type to think counselling is a load of rubbish. But he responded to it and it really helped. We went for about 6 sessions, but you can do as many or as few as they think you need. Our counsellor told me that some people even go back for one session every few months, just to keep themselves 'on track' so to speak.

Good luck, I really hope it goes well for you.

Onemorning Fri 15-Jul-11 20:59:09

Me and DH went to Relate earlier this year. I'm a big fan. I think it helped us to see the other's point of view, and not to immediately think the worst about any discussions we had.

Best of luck. xx

UnhappyLizzie Fri 15-Jul-11 21:17:21

I went with my dh and it wasn't that much help. But that was because he is so incapable of self blame that when the (neutral) Relate woman tried to make him face up to his behaviour he just convinced himself she was biased and 'only on my side'.

Good luck with yours.

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