Individual and relationship counselling is as much about learning who we are as individuals as it is learning who we are as partners in relationship. Issues often result from not understanding what we want, then not clearly communicating our expectations to others. It’s no surprise: muddy self-awareness + muddy communications = relationship chaos.
For many people, developing healthy communications in relationships is an uphill struggle against a lifetime of inherited family values and examples, our own bad habits, and shortcuts based in assumptions. Where counselling often helps most is in the intersection of learning to identify our own needs and wants, then learning to authentically discuss those needs and wants. Counselling is also helpful in learning how to listen when others are expressing their needs.
When exploring all of the factors that influence our development, therapists and clients find a rich mix of stories, characters, and (perhaps most importantly) resources that clients in crisis have sometimes simply forgotten. The work of good therapy is to reconnect clients with a sense of their own skills and successes, to help them build — individually or as a relationship — better skills for managing both daily and lifelong challenges.
A key tenet of counselling is this: “Change only occurs once the need to change exceeds the pain of staying the same.”
Photo Credit: Ange Clayfield