Relationship counselling, including couple and marital counselling, is a major specialist area of our practice.
I was interviewed on Cape Talk on 5 September: How infidelity affects marriage and families.
Is couple counselling only for people who are involved in intimate relationships? When are two people regarded as being a couple? No, you don’t necessarily need to be in an intimate relationship or a marriage to benefit from couples counselling. Couple counselling can be of help to individuals who are involved in any type of relationship, such as two siblings, friends, a parent and a child, or even a boss and an employee.
What happens in couple counselling?
The psychologist’s role is that of an objective and impartial facilitator, whose goal is to help the couples work towards resolving their relationship problems or issues. In couples counselling the psychotherapist therefore tends to shift the focus from the individuals in the partnership to the couple’s relationship.
Relationship and Marriage Counselling
We have found that clients who approach us for relationship and marriage counselling are in many cases:
- wishing to improve or revitalize a relationship which has become unexciting and staid
- feeling unhappy or frustrated about the state of their relationship or their marriage
- experiencing problems with communicating effectively with their partner
- finding that they are feeling constantly angry or irritable with their partner or that they seem to be living past each other
- seeking help in resolving intractable areas of conflict, such as finances, children, sex or religion
- concerned that their partner may be involved in clandestine activities such as having an affair
- wanting to reach a decision about the future of the relationship
In our experience, when there are problems in a relationship, one partner tends to be more motivated to seek help whilst their spouse is often less enthusiastic to come along for counselling. We find there are a number of reasons for this. Sometimes partners feel that they should be able to solve their own problems without the help of a professional. In some cases they may even deny that any serious problem exists at all! Research has found that, in general, the more willing a partner is to go for help, the more likely it is that the relationship can be improved and even saved! Is there a good time for going for couple counselling?
People who find themselves trapped in a cycle of negativity and conflict in their relationship and who find it increasingly difficult or even impossible to change this pattern should in our opinion seek help without delay. It is our experience that many couples wait to long before going for counselling. Why do we say that? There seems to be a “window of opportunity” to save a relationship that is in trouble – when there is still enough commitment and goodwill between the partners and both are motivated to work at improving things between them. If you wait too long, you run the risk that one or both of you may lose the momentum to change the relationship for the better and the spark will be no longer there to reignite.
What can you do if your partner refuses to come for counselling?
Apart from stressing that your relationship is extremely important to you and that you hope your partner feels the same way, you could suggest that you both come along for a free, no obligation, 20 minute introductory session to meet with one of the psychologists. This often serves to break the ice and would give us the opportunity to explain the process and address any reservations and concerns that your partner may have.
If my partner refuses to come for counselling, is there any point to my coming alone?
Of course it is ideal if both partners agree to come along together for counselling. However, it can still be useful and beneficial for one of the couple to come for individual sessions. They can often gain a new perspective on their relationship through therapy, and can also gain new ideas and skills to help in improving their relationship. A relationship has been likened to performing a ballroom dance . If one member of the duo changes his or her steps, the other partner will have not option but to alter their steps in response – and in this way a whole new dance will be initiated!
How long are couple sessions?
We usually schedule 90 minutes when we are seeing a couple, as it usually takes considerable time hear both sides of a relationship story. There is of course also a constant three way communication happening in these sessions, which is in itself time-consuming.
Fees for Sessions
Fees for couple and marital counselling are based on the same hourly rate as individual psychotherapy. Medical aid rates usually apply (We suggest that you consult your medical aid in order to confirm your benefits)
Special discounted rates apply for immediate payment (cash, EFT and card).
For March and April we are offering a 90 minute session for the same fee as for 60 minutes for clients who locate us on the web!
Please contact us by phone or e-mail for details.
Online sessions via Skype can be arranged.