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Tell me about Relate

(15 Posts)
GingerPCatt Tue 09-Oct-12 08:47:15

DH and I are going through I rough patch and I suggested counciling. One of the underlying problems is a lack of communication. I was thinking of contacting Relate. Has any one dealt with them? Helpful or not? Are there any other counciling options? DH and I arent religious so church counciling is out. Thanks!

CogitoErgoSometimes Tue 09-Oct-12 10:01:32

Any counselling service is only as good as the individual counsellor and - possibly more important - the commitment and enthusiasm of the people taking part. If you are both committed to the marriage, both accept that communication is a problem and are both willing to learn how to improve and apply what you learn consistently then it can work. Anyone going into counselling half-heartedly or planning to simply pay lipservice won't get much out of it.

Do you have an example of lack of communication?

Shakey1500 Tue 09-Oct-12 10:11:37

As cogito says, so much of it depends on the counsellor. For my part, the counsellor we had through Relate was terrible. She immediately appeared to take my ex's "side" didn't seem impartial at all. Fortunately I was strong enough to recognise this but perhaps someone less strong would have been convinced they were entirely at fault,which is worrying.

PermanentlyDieting Tue 09-Oct-12 11:45:20

Hi, we did try Relate and it was good - it really broke the ice for us to face that there was a problem and that we both wanted to fix it.
For various reasons we could not commit to the weekly sessions over the school holidays, so we bought a book and worked through it together. Communication was a problem for us (but not our biggest problem) and this has improved massively.
If timing and finances are tight - I would recommend the book. If not, I personally recommend Relate. (or like us, do both)! We are now back on track and very happy again - a few monthe ago I could never have imangined us being in such a good place. Hope this helps.
I will PM you the book details.

Name7 Tue 09-Oct-12 14:58:05

Could you pm the book details to me please? Just booked Relate via the telephone, anyone else tried phone counselling?

Charbon Tue 09-Oct-12 15:20:32

The thing to bear in mind with Relate is that not all of their counsellors are academically qualified and are volunteers from the old Marriage Council days, they pay their counsellors a very small hourly fee (or nothing at all) and training in specific relationship problems (especially infidelity or more recent threats such as dating sites/paying for sex) is often very poor or non-existent. Each centre is also a federation (like a franchise) and how each is run depends greatly on the skills and experience of the centre manager. Compared with a private practitioner, their services are often expensive, because of their overheads.

However I think that in general, Relate are best for more generalised and everyday problems in relationships, such as the ubiquitous 'communication difficulties' but much depends on the counsellor you get. If he or she isn't a good fit, it's perfectly acceptable to ask for another, or go elsewhere. It's also likely that in your initial appointment, you will be seen by one counsellor who will 'screen' the issues and appoint another colleague to take on the case. The wait between the first and second appointment can in some areas, take a long time.

riamay2011 Tue 09-Oct-12 15:28:15

Rubbish ! Well mine was sad

Ambivalence Tue 09-Oct-12 16:22:22

Been to relate twice with DF - once 8 years ago - the counsellor was rubbish, more recently this year, she counsellor is very good, have been for 4 sessions. ( in islington if anyone wants details)

i'd recommend also workingn through some of their books ( all on the relate website)

AnAngelWithin Tue 09-Oct-12 16:26:12

for us it was utter crap. they focussed on another event in my life rather than the fact DH had an emotional affair and that was why we were there.... they tried to blame it all on the even that happened earlier to me!! sad I have heard a lot of people find it useful though, so good luck and give it your best shot!

Callmecordelia Tue 09-Oct-12 17:06:37

I'm not sure it worked that well for us either. A lot got blamed on my (very happy, and quite standard) childhood, looking for problems that didn't exist. My DH was quite good at turning the counsellor's attention towards me, and away from himself. I should have realised at the time.

Charbon Tue 09-Oct-12 17:10:48

Talking about events outside the relationship and avoiding what's happening within it is unfortunately a frequent occurrence with a poor counsellor. The external stuff is 'safer' for the counsellor, but it isn't necessarily 'safe' for the client and can do more harm than good in unskilled hands.

Callmecordelia Tue 09-Oct-12 21:21:54

Really? That's interesting Charbon. By making my parents the villains, my husband got away with not talking about his extremely damaging upbringing. The fallout nearly killed my relationship with my Mum and Dad, but fortunately all is back on track now. The counsellor kept on asking me "why I felt that..." and looked for reasons in my childhood, rather than my DH's behaviour. Really very, very odd.

GingerPCatt Wed 10-Oct-12 07:51:28

Thanks for the advise! I had a really bad councilor for my pnd so I know how damaging they can be. Horrible cow angry.
I'll try the books but if DH can't commit to working through them with me, I'll make an appt and see if it's any good.
Many thanks PP for the book rec. I'll look into it. smile

Wiggy29 Wed 10-Oct-12 08:14:40

I went twice, the first counsellor was terrible but the second was fantastic! In the end, helped me see that I should separate from (now ex) partner and allowed me to walk away (and stay away) from a very destructive/ manipulative relationship that, in the past, I'd always went back to. She did say at the start that it was about finding out what was best for both of us and looking back there was no way the relationship would have worked but it really helped me see the light. Not only that, I feel it helped me learn so much about myself/ relationships in general that I still apply lots of what I learnt today.

The best of luck.

deliasmithy Thu 11-Oct-12 02:06:45

I think it's what someone earlier said, you could have a great counsellor or terrible one, but I feel there is equal chance of that any where. A few years ago I attempted a short stint of individual counselling and hated it, the woman was awful, looked down her nose at me, I felt intimidated, and I found her details on an official website.

I think there is nothing to lose with giving it a go. It will be quickly apparent whetheryou gel with that person or not.

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