What is relationship therapy and how does it work?

What is Relationship Counselling?

Relationship counselling has been seen to be beneficial to most couple regardless of the intensity or nature of the problem they are facing. Among the major benefits that counselling can bring to the couple are:-

  • Improvement in communication
  • Re-negotiating commitments and revitalizing emotional connection

Couples choose therapy when they sense some trouble spots in their relationship. At times these can be significant problems that remained submerged for long leading up to a more pronounced crack developing in the relationship. In other instances, the couple realizes that they do have some problems and external help is needed to resolve them and save the relationship.

Marriage Certificate Cut with Orange Scissor

It is important to remember that most relationships do encounter trouble spots across the tenure and a fewer couple can compromise and carry on. Therapists at The Three Seas Psychology says that relationship counselling can help if you are having relationship problems like feeling unhappy or being in an abusive relationship. In some relationships these problems can be present right from the start or could be the result of some unexpected stress, Whatever be the cause of the trouble or its severity, what is important is that there has been a dent in the relationship, and professional counseling is the best way to alleviate the suffering, potentially paving the way to build it up all over again on a stronger footing perhaps.

How does relationship counselling work

There is a possible misconception that relationship counselling is always in the context of romance. However, while most relationship counselling do revolve around romance, there can be other instances where relationship counselling can help in other instances like work relationships, family relationships and friendships too.

In some instances, the issues brought before the relationship counsellor can be substantial such as constant or chronic fighting or struggle about sexual aspects or differences in sexual expectations. Another scenario can be couple seeking relationship counselling to help them on one or more specific aspect in their relationship such as choice of place to live, when and whether to have a baby, where to get married etc. In other situations, couples may choose relationship counselling to gain a better understanding of each other to help a more informed decision-making towards a long-term commitment. But, irrespective of what brings them before a relationship counsellor, many couples see that as a means to tide over difficult phases in the relationship when they are experiencing a rough patch during the development phase of expansion or contraction and the manner in which they relate to each other changing and shifting may be.

How relationship counselling helps

Relationship counselling primarily helps in improving communication between the two estranged parties, couples, friends or relatives, while enhancing the understanding between the affected individuals and comprehending the reactions and needs of each other. Further, it revitalizes the lost intimacy and restores a sense of affable connection in the relationship. It further helps in negotiating and re-negotiating commitments.

Let us now consider some of these benefits in greater detail:-

Couple Talking While Having Coffee

Individuals are at the core of any relationship and individuals have their personality, personal history, hopes, needs and desires governing the relationship. Consequently, it is unlikely that even the best of relationships can see eye to eye on every single issue. Negotiation, compromise, and discussion are essential for humans to come together and share their lives with another human. Our ability to share our fears and needs, communicate with the partner are essential for maintaining a healthy relationship. A competent relationship counsellor with appropriate qualifications has the training to recognize as well as challenge the communication habits currently practised by the couple presenting themselves for counselling. Your counsellor can teach you ways of communicating more effectively with each other, often by encouraging you to talk more honestly and openly and set you on a path towards more calm and open communication. With strong skills in listening and talking, you will be able to solve problems of varying magnitude and description and help maintain stronger relationships even when you are experiencing severe stress.

Restore lost intimacy and rejuvenate emotional connection

Man Kissing Woman's Hand

The early days of a relationship are full of emotional intensity, strong sexual attraction and feelings of generosity and warmth for each other. The couples often look to spend the maximum time together trying to bond with each other. They are amazed at the strong attraction they have for each other and how they became so close to each other. But, with the passage of time, there is more familiarity in the relationship, and the daily grind interferes with romance leading to a situation where the couple tends to lose connectedness and feelings. This situation can be further challenged when priorities in life make a quantum shift such as raising a family, career challenges, relocation, financial instability and the like give little or no room for romance which was perhaps the all-pervading force until a few years ago. At this point, the sexual relationship also tends to take the back seat either because one, or both the partners are too tired or too pre-occupied with other overwhelming thoughts. The stage thus gets set for agitation to creep into the relationship.

Your counsellor can help to restore this lost intimacy and rejuvenate your emotional connection. You must believe that it is a lot easier to renew a relationship than establishing a new one except perhaps in very exceptional circumstances. Perhaps, there has been a substantial reduction in the amount of quality time that the couple could find to spend with each other or minor irritants have been allowed to be blown out of proportion and consequently impact deeper feelings. Irrespective of the cause, lost intimacy or feeling of agitation towards the other do surface even among couples who have lived together for several decades.

Close Up of Couple on Bed

Indeed, long-term couples often find that they need to spend less time together to restore their sense of themselves as individuals again. This process commonly recurs from time to time during a relationship – a couple may go through many different periods where they come together and then pull apart to become individuals again. This process of separation may take the form of an emotional separation, or it might be more practical – one member of the couple might decide to study again, embark on a new career, or pursue a new interest. One way to think of this is a pulsating circle. As the circle of the couple comes together and intensifies, the pulse becomes brighter. But from time to time, the couple needs a breather and pulls apart to recharge and reconnect with them, only to be drawn back together again.

Whilst this process of coming together and then pulling apart to individuate is a normal developmental phase of any relationship it can place enormous pressure on the relationship. A qualified relationship or couples counsellors can help a couple understand each other through this process and also help restore lost emotional and physical closeness.


One of the most problematic areas for couples can be focused on commitment. Commitments can take many shapes and forms, including a commitment to the relationship itself, a commitment to having children or a commitment to supporting a particular career choice or life path. We all have fears and concerns about making commitments on some level. Working with a relationship or couples counsellor can assist both members of the coupled voice their concerns and fears about what the commitment will mean to them and how it may change their relationship.

One of how a counsellor or psychologist can be of assistance is to not only help with airing concerns and fears but also in negotiating responsibilities that may arise as a result of making a new commitment within the relationship. For example, if a couple decides together that one of them will begin new studies to pursue a new career path, that may change family and home maintenance responsibilities for both of them. Working with a professional relationship counsellor can help the couple to reach clear and workable agreements.