Marriage, Relationships and Couples Counselling Brisbane

Let’s face it, relationships can be difficult and challenging to navigate. Likewise, they can be exciting, invigorating and life changing. If you are struggling with a relationship, it’s helpful to chat with a professional.

It can be tricky to work out how you can best function together and thrive within a connection. When two, or sometimes more people come together in a relationship, be that romantic, a marriage, sexual relationship, friendship, or family situation there are going to be differences that require compromise and give and take. If you are struggling within a relationship, talking to a neutral third person who is a professional trained in relationships is a worthwhile investment, to lead you on a path towards being in a relationship or friendship you can see yourself growing in. Psychologists and counsellors attending Brisbane Counselling Centre care about you and understand the complexities of relationship dynamics. Relationship counselling can provide a neutral environment for you to discuss challenging topics.

Couples and marriage counselling can assist people to adjust to changes in their relationship like for example, when moving in together, getting married, recovering from an affair, having a baby, going through IVF, experiencing postpartum depression or when one person works in a fly in/fly out situation. These examples, amongst others, can pose challenges and stress in a relationship. Being proactive and seeking professional assistance with a psychologist or counsellor can help to minimise the impact of such changes in your relationship.

Pre-marriage counselling

Chatting with a trained professional before you embark on marriage is a wise idea. Pre-marriage counselling with a psychologist or counsellor provides an opportunity for you to iron out some differences before you make such a significant commitment to one another. It also provides an opportunity for you both to develop your communication and interpersonal skills, with feedback from the therapist about where improvements can be made.

Healthy relationships typically require some hard work, however, many people don’t think of them in this way, often believing instead that harmonious relationships occur automatically.

Most relationships begin in the same way – generally a person falls madly in love with another and then can see no wrong in the person with whom they have fallen in love. As the saying goes “Love is blind”! More often, however beautifully a relationship begins, cracks frequently start to emerge and the person who was once thought of as being able to do no wrong, now begins to let their partner down and disappoint them.

Difficulties eventually emerge in the relationship, some of which are easily resolved but others can become problematic. Unhelpful patterns can then develop in the areas of communication, interactions, and conflict resolution. These relationship issues can frequently result in keeping a couple stuck in an unhealthy way of being together.

The same old arguments and discussions are had on a recurring basis, as on a merry-go-round with no clear way to get off the unpleasant ride. Many people consider separating at this point when an alternative would be to find professional help and engage in couples therapy or marriage counselling services to gain some expert help in working through these challenging times in their relationship.

Looking for pre-marriage counselling?

Pre-marriage counselling can incorporate emotionally focused therapy to help identify differences in values, behaviour patterns & habits, financial management and cultural & ethical issues in an open, safe, and unbiased environment.

It aims to provide couples with a deeper understanding of communication, conciliation, and resolution skill-sets optimal to transitioning into a healthy and long-lasting marriage partnership. For some, it can also illuminate the difficult subject of marriage readiness.

Appointments with a couple’s therapist can be made on a session-by-session basis, with many couples satisfied with 1-2 one-hour sessions and others choosing more in-depth therapy or to pursue individual counselling around identified, usually past issues.

When do we get help for our relationship?

All relationships face difficulties that are often resolved over time.

However, if unhelpful patterns of communicating, interacting and behaving become entrenched, it is time to seek professional support through a counsellor for relationships. It is better if possible, to seek couples therapy or marriage counselling therapy before any maladaptive patterns can take hold.

Many relationship problems can be resolved through actively participating in marriage therapy or relationship counselling. Sadly, many people wait until they feel desperate in their relationship before they seek relationship counselling or individual therapy.

Early intervention with relationship therapy and seeking a relationship therapist is most beneficial to overcome relationship difficulties that may present themselves.

If you can solve the problems that arise in your relationship by yourselves that is fantastic. However, if you have tried and your attempts have been unsuccessful, then engaging a psychologist in couples counselling can be of great assistance in moving your relationship forward and freeing yourselves from the confines of the negative patterns that have formed in your relationship.

In an ideal world, both people in the relationship would be willing to seek assistance through relationship counselling. However, sometimes one partner is not open to the idea. Surprisingly, even if only one person within the relationship is willing to attend counselling, it is possible for that person to work with the therapist on ways to achieve positive change within the relationship.

Nurturing relationships

To have a healthy relationship one needs to care for and nurture it. Harmonious relationships don’t just happen by themselves. Relationships and friendships take time, energy, focus and commitment. When a person doesn’t look after their partner or friendship, the connection generally starts to deteriorate. As much as possible we need to fully engage when we are with our partner or friends, rather than half listening to them or paying attention to something else.

Neglecting a relationship is a sure way to create problems in the partnership or marriage. It doesn’t matter the age of the people in the relationship, everyone needs their partner to care for them and receive the message loud and clear,

“I love you and you are important in my life.”

Constructive communication

Conflict happens in almost every relationship. Whilst it is present in most relationships, resolution of the conflict can be difficult to achieve without adequate skills. Conflict doesn’t necessarily mean fighting. With the right skill set and ability to communicate effectively, people in relationships can have constructive, robust conversations without destroying their relationship or leaving one person feeling unheard, hurt or misunderstood.

Typically, people disagree about issues, become hurt, frustrated and disappointed. They often fail to talk about it, or they may say things that are hurtful, which takes them further away from finding a solution. When this happens people often participate in what is referred to as the “blame game” and believe that if only their partner would change then the relationship would be so much better.

Criticism of one’s partner often becomes a pattern of behaviour that is most destructive and unhelpful. When one is criticised, a common human reaction is to become defensive and/or critical of the other person. Often at this point people can do and say things that they later regret, which leaves the other person feeling hurt, rejected and misunderstood.

A psychologist or counsellor trained in relationships can help people to identify and rectify these destructive patterns of communicating and assist the couple or individual in achieving more harmonious interactions. Counselling regarding a relationship, friendship, work colleague or family situation often involves exploring what is happening for you as an individual in that situation, to focus on what you can manage and change, as well as holding yourself accountable for your own actions.

Realistic expectations

Another area where problems can occur in relationships is where people hold expectations of their partner or friend that are unrealistic or unachievable. If one person thinks that something needs to be done a certain way and the other person’s view is different from theirs, conflict and tension can arise.

Some people have the expectation their partner is going to meet all their needs. This expectation is not realistic and puts a lot of pressure on the person and the relationship. It’s important to determine what needs can be met within your relationship and what else you must do to have needs met in other ways outside of the relationship or friendship. It’s also important for the success of a relationship to maintain your own sense of self and individuality. Maintaining your autonomy can really breath oxygen into your relationship.

Partners can also experience conflict around expectations regarding aspects of life such as caring for children, parenting style, sexual interests, financial management, choice of school, household tasks, holiday destinations, values and beliefs, to name a few. It is important to keep communication open and respectful about these aspects of life rather than assuming that both of you will agree regarding such issues.

It is recommended that when in a relationship you share and develop a deep understanding with your partner of each other’s expectations and develop ways in which you can work together as a team, using healthy conflict resolution skills and communication skills that you can obtain through relationship counselling with a caring psychologist or counsellor.

Life after infidelity or betrayal

When a partner chooses to connect with another person outside of their relationship, a great deal of pain is usually caused within the relationship or marriage. The betrayed partner often feels shocked, angry, sad, devastated, hurt and confused. After an affair, it’s best to seek help from a professional who understands what you are going through as soon as possible. It’s also best not to rush into making any life changing decisions when you are in a fog of emotional pain and chaos. If your partner who has betrayed you doesn’t wish to seek counselling, it will be helpful for you to speak with a psychologist or counsellor at Brisbane Counselling Centre to assist you in making sense of what has happened and working through the emotional trauma you are experiencing.

Although it may surprise you, it is possible to recover from an affair and for your relationship to improve and become healthier than it was before the infidelity.

Sexual difficulties

Every relationship has its ups and downs and invariably people may experience difficulties in sexual interactions at varying stages throughout their life. Things such as our family background, religion, personal experiences and the portrayal of sex in the media can have an impact upon our view of sexual interactions and how we believe they ‘should’ be.

Common sexual issues people can experience that can have a negative impact on their relationships are porn addiction, erectile issues, desire issues, premature ejaculation, orgasmic difficulties and vaginismus. Seeking help as soon as you recognise such problems can make a drastic difference to the quality and connection within your relationship.

Relationship has come to an end

Some relationships, despite seeking help, come to an end. Even if you wanted the relationship to end or it was a mutual agreement to move on, it is usually difficult when a relationship or friendship ends and poses some challenges. Particularly, the human brain isn’t keen on people being single, so you may go into some kind of withdrawal state after the relationship ends. When this happens, we have a tendency to fantasise about how good the relationship was and experience amnesia about the not-so-great bits about the relationship or an inability to remember how you even came to make the decision to end the relationship in the first place. Likewise, people think they must endure poor treatment from their family members just because they are family. Nobody needs to put up with poor behaviour in any relationship.

Therapy can help!

Speaking with a trained professional who cares from Brisbane Counselling Centre can assist you to work through the many relationship challenges to determine more effective ways of functioning within your life and to take you closer to the life you want to be living. Even if you are not struggling, but rather would like to personally grow and develop, psychologists and counsellors at Brisbane Counselling Centre can help.