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Couples counselling

(10 Posts)
SoniaShoe Sun 03-Apr-16 08:15:54

Has anyone got any experience with couples counselling and can you recommend any providers? Does anyone have any experience with relate? I'm looking into a course of counselling for me and my partner so we can work through some unresolved issues. It's a lot of money to spend so I want to get it right.

RiceCrispieTreats Sun 03-Apr-16 08:54:56

What are your goals for counselling?

Are you both behind the decision to seek counselling?

SoniaShoe Sun 03-Apr-16 09:41:59

We have a lot of under the surface anger towards each other from years of unresolved arguments and issues (nothing too major but its enough that we arent letting this stuff go). We generally have a good relationship and happy family but things can get nasty between us very quickly these days and that's what we want to stop.

We think if we can have a few sessions discussing the past we can put that to bed and move on fresh. Wishful thinking maybe?

We're also having our 2nd baby at the end of June so it's good timing to resolve this stuff. And I'm worried about having him as a birth partner when he can get angry with me so quickly. I'm worried we'll argue during the labour which will jeopardise the hypnobirthing I'm working towards (although I'm fully realistic this might not work out for other reasons, I don't want us arguing to be the reason). Plus obviously we want the baby to arrive into a happier home, and for our current DC too.

We're both behind doing this. But money is tight this year and I want to spend it well.

Thanks for your response. Any help would be great.

RiceCrispieTreats Sun 03-Apr-16 10:11:28

Couples' counselling provides a safe environment to open communication in a couple, to get them to express, and take on board, each others' needs.

It does not provide an arbiter of who's right and who's wrong, and the counsellor does not hand down guidelines for future behaviour. You develop those yourselves.

It is not recommended in situations where there is a power imbalance in the couple, as the premise is that each person's wants are valid - so it can entrench an imbalance by making it "valid" for the dominating person to dominate. Iyswim.

If all of that sounds good to you - you want to open communication with your spouse, and you're happy to see their needs as completely valid, and they are willing to do the same for you - then couples counselling is a good choice for you.

ohforfoxsake Sun 03-Apr-16 10:25:58

I've used Relate three times. Aside from the second time when I used their telephone counselling service as we were at crisis point, it wasn't great. I felt judged not supported and the advice was poor. (For example, as the one with a grain of Emotional Intelligence I was told that I should sort out the problems as I was the one who had EI and therefore knew what to do). Relate is the brand we know so it's generally a first port of call, but I think it's worth investigating other options.

SoniaShoe Mon 04-Apr-16 08:24:00

Thanks for all that information ricekrispietreats it does sounds from that it would be useful to us. we do have a bit of power struggle at times as we are both quite strong people but not a power inbalance. Although my partner is much better at arguing than me as he is very smart and able to think on his feet and articulate his argument. I just get emotional and think of things I should have said after the event. So I think this should provide a more balanced way for us to discuss things.

I just need to find the right place. Relate are saying £60 a session and up to 6 sessions which is way more than we can afford at the moment. Or at least if we are going to spend that kind of money it needs to be worthwhile. That's interesting ohforfoxsake it makes me wary or related. I suppose other places are all different locally. I suppose it's just down to the actual counsellor you get?

BG2015 Mon 04-Apr-16 12:04:40

I used Relate years ago with my now ex husband. I didn't find it especially good, we actually only attended 3 times as he refused to go after the third appointment.

His heart wasn't in it really and he was biding his time to leave, I believe he only went for my benefit.

I've since had counselling as an individual (twice) and they were independent counsellors I found through searching online. Both were helpful. I'd look beyond Relate.

ethelb Mon 04-Apr-16 12:06:59

I have used Relate once and would second the suggestion that you look at what is available elsewhere before considering them. £60 a session isn't really that significant a discount on what you could get privately, and you would at least get a bit more choice in your therapist. Try here: www.bacp.co.uk/seeking_therapist/right_therapist.php

Our couple's counselling is not something I regret, and it sounds like we went for similar reasons to you: resentments about his parents that were causing lots of quite nasty rows which was not normal for us, and not what either of us wanted.

It wasn't an instant fix, a lot of the positive outcomes came gradually after we stopped going (and decided to ignore some of our counsellor's advice!) and I resented spending a couple of hundred pounds basically to pay a professional to tell my DH that he was being unreasonable in his expectations which I had been telling him for free wink

If I were to do relationship counselling again I would push for some individual counselling (some suggest you do some appointments together and some individually rather than all of them together). I would also walk away quicker from our slightly rubbish counsellor and not let them try to 'blame' me, which is how I felt during the counselling.

Hope you find someone good!

WestYorkshireGirl Mon 04-Apr-16 16:21:42

We had our first appointment at Relate last week and it was really positive. We are waiting for an evening slot to become available now to start. Re the cost, they do have a sliding scale and told me ideally they wanted to charge £50 for the assessment but when I said money was tight they reduced it to £30. At the assessment we were asked if we were able to pay the £65 per session fee (what it actually costs) and we said we couldn't so we settled on £25. It might be worth asking them if they have any flexibility on the rates? We felt we really needed an external perspective but money is tight so it was great there is some flexibility. We both felt a difference just getting it all out in the open so maybe go and give it a try?

WestYorkshireGirl Mon 04-Apr-16 16:22:41

Forgot to say I tried to find a slightly more local private counsellor via the website a previous poster mentioned but none of them were doing couples work

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