Many clients come to see me after years of couple communication problems and in some circumstances it is difficult to save the relationship. The best results from couples counselling are achieved if partners seek counselling early. Constant bickering is the first sign that something is amiss and needs sorting out. It is time for partners to confront themselves, to change behaviour and to allow the relationship to grow in another more healthy direction.

Seeking counselling often gets left out due to; the expense, the time it takes, the feeling that you can sort this out yourselves and nervousness about revealing personal information to a complete stranger. (Mind you some of us have done the latter easily on long haul flights). I truly understand these concerns, however is it not worth it to invest in counselling to find a safe place to confront your self and the relationship? Is it not worth it to take a risk and seek greater happiness by confronting life matters?

When you think about it confronting ourselves is a very healthy thing to do but we rarely get the freedom to do it with hectic work and domestic lives. However when we do have a major event like a traumatic separation, job loss or other crisis we are then forced to confront ourselves. If we go on a holiday on our own then we are forced to confront ourselves. When we face a blank canvas in life we are forced into confronting ourselves – it is a very healthy, sometimes uncomfortable, thing to do.

Confronting ourselves is a lonely experience (you have to do it alone) but it gives us the opportunity to find out who we really are. By confronting ourselves we are challenging what we are actually doing, what we want and what we truly find important in life. Carl Yung suggested knowing who we are should be our life ambition.

Having a close relationship with a lover gives us enormous potential to explore by confronting life. Couples can however decide not to confront matters and to just gloss over difficulties that may disturb the day-to-day order. It is their call.

However, imagine the growth possible if partners seek a safe place to challenge the very unspoken things that makes them unhappy or unsure.

Individuals also need a safe place to challenge loneliness, sex issues, family concerns, work problems, depression, anxiety, lack of direction or self-esteem matters.

You might just decide to go away alone to confront life and I support your pilgrimage to find out more about yourself. I went away around Australia alone in 1992 and grew enormously. Maybe counselling is a more practical solution at the moment where you and another can explore life growth. Finally, couples come early to counselling, it is a very worthwhile investment for a better life.

Gerry North is a qualified couples counsellor and can be contacted at [email protected].

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