If your relationship isn’t going well, or you are having lots of arguments, relationship or couples counselling may be beneficial.
It may have taken a long time for your relationship to arrive at its current state, but it is likely that both of you will have settled into patterns of behaviour that mean you are both stuck in your positions. Whatever the issue, a third party should be able to help you discover new ways of relating and new ways of communicating. This will help you to become unstuck and to begin behaving in new patterns that will have a positive effect on your relationship.
If both of you are committed to the relationship and are willing to change your behaviour, no issue is too difficult to be worked through. It does, however, take effort and commitment.
Communication is very often a problem. Perhaps one person doesn’t feel they are being heard. However, if active listening is put into place then this can change the situation.
Active listening occurs when the person listening to what is being said actually listens properly. This means that when the speaker pauses or stops, the listener reflects back what has just been said. This is especially important with regard to emotions. For example, an active listener may respond by saying, “You feel upset when x situation happens,” or, “ You are hurt because of x situation.”
Sometimes just stating the emotion is enough. The speaker then gets the message that they have been heard and understood, and is then able to move on in how they think and feel about the issue.
No matter the type of relationship, it will be affected by what is called the Losada Ratio (Seligman, 2011). This is the ratio of negative statements to positive statements that are made in a relationship. If the ratio is 5:1, then the relationship is in a really bad way. If it is 1:3, then the relationship is probably not too bad. However, if it is 1:5, then the relationship will be great.
Therefore, your aim should always be to say a greater number of positive things to your partner, child, or whoever you are in conflict with. You might want to give more compliments, to make positive comments about aspects of their behaviour you’ve noticed, or to praise their qualities. The more positive sentences you are able to say to them, the better. So start this today and you will be rewarded.
To find the right relationship counsellor, do your research and find a few counsellors with whom you think you might be able to engage. Get in touch and ask questions, as the answers will indicate whether a prospective couples counsellor will be right for you or not.
If you are in Adelaide, then you should consider meeting with relationship counsellor Diana Hutchison. Please phone her on 0417 295100 to make a start today.