Couples Counselling


Sometimes individuals seek counselling or therapy as a couple or family unit rather than on an individual basis. Attending a therapist is not usually the first option when there are difficulties in a relationship. Arriving at the consulting room may seem like the final resort after extended family, friends, doctor, a self-help book or even a human resources professional has been consulted.

It may be that a current relationship is at an impasse as a result of a traumatic life-event, such as bereavement. Working through the effects of the loss in a calm atmosphere with the therapist may be all that is needed to move on. Other reasons why people seek relationship counselling or couples therapy include: a life-threatening diagnosis, loss of intimacy, an extra-marital affair, a devastating change in fortune or financial circumstances, an inarticulable dilemma, loneliness and the inability to cope and deal with change.

Working with families, couples and other groups is based upon the principles of Systemic Psychotherapy, which aims at treating the relation between individuals not the individuals as separate entities. Sometimes when individuals are not prepared to work together then what is required is individual psychotherapy and not relationship counselling, couples counselling or family therapy.

The consultation offers a space in which feelings may be expressed in a safe way and where options may be explored which might be impossible to discuss without the therapist's assurance of neutrality. The first goal of the therapy is to arrive at an articulation of the present difficulty. Strong emotions sometimes come to the fore during sessions and every attempt is made to structure the sessions so that they do not become intolerable to the parties involved. In the presence of a trained therapist, words may be found to resolve the situation so that the relationship can survive and grow. 

Often, relationships require only a brief intervention to resolve issues.   

Marie Walshe specialises in couples counselling.