What is communication counselling for couples, and is it ideal for you?
Good communication is the cornerstone of any solid relationship, so breakdowns in communication can ultimately lead to the breakdown of a marriage. Couples counselling can help to prevent a relationship from imploding. Communication counselling is a form of couples therapy designed to help couples communicate more clearly and appropriately. With the aid of a qualified therapist, couples undergo counselling to get to the root of why they are struggling to communicate and find ways of addressing those underlying issues.
Here, we discuss how poor communication can impact a relationship and explain whether couples counselling may be ideal for you.
We answer frequently asked questions on finding couples therapy for communication.
What impact can poor communication have on a relationship?
Poor communication between partners in a relationship can eventually threaten the relationship’s very existence. The signs of a communication breakdown in a relationship are not always immediately apparent to the couple affected by them, especially in long-term relationships. In fact, communication problems often develop slowly and take time to reach a tipping point.
Communication issues create frustration when neither person can make the other understand their perspective. Inevitably, both people start acting more defensively, and their self-esteem and self-confidence suffer.
Strong and healthy relationships require trust, honesty, openness, and respect to survive. All of these require partners to nurture their listening skills. Effective communication is as much about listening as speaking. Learning to listen with empathy means learning to hear what the other person is saying and understand their perspective.
How can couples counselling help you to improve communication?
Communication counselling is a specific form of couples counselling that focuses on the communication aspect of the relationship. However, all couples counselling can potentially help to improve communication between partners. There are numerous benefits to couples counselling compared to other types of therapy available to help people address their relationship issues. By bringing both partners together to discuss their problems with the therapist, the risk of misunderstandings is reduced. The therapist will always hear both sides of the story; so they won’t be relying solely on either partner for their account of events and issues.
Many couples find it easier to communicate calmly in the safety of the therapists’ office, or through online platforms such as skype. Should an argument develop, the therapist can suggest steps for deescalating the situation and resolving differences without arguing.
Perhaps the most important benefit of couples counselling is the opportunity for both partners to seek advice from someone impartial outside of the relationship. The same advice can sound very different coming from a therapist compared to an angry spouse. As well as guidance on specific issues, couples therapists also provide toolkits for settling future disagreements.
Do you need couples therapy to improve communication?
Couples therapy is not the only solution for addressing communication problems. However, therapy is the most worthwhile option for certain situations and delivers a higher success rate than other ‘DIY’ self-help solutions.
For example, if you and your partner find it difficult to communicate with one another without devolving into an argument, you should consider seeing a couples therapist. Of course, we all have bad days, and there will be blips in even the healthiest relationships. It’s when these arguments become part of a seemingly inescapable cycle that the problems start.
Another good reason to seek the help of a couples therapist is that both partners may struggle to comprehend or empathise with the other’s perspective. When we don’t receive empathy from our significant others, it makes us feel ignored, dismissed, and rejected. Empathy comes naturally in most relationships; however it can be lost when both partners fail to listen and try and understand the other partner.
Finally, if you find it difficult to communicate calmly with your partner or don’t feel like you can be honest with them; a couples therapist can help. Small white lies and lies of convenience can create a slippery slope.
Are you struggling to communicate with your partner after an affair? Find out how couples counselling can help improve a relationship after an affair.
What methods of therapy are commonly used in couples therapy to improve communication?
Behavioural couples therapy: This therapy is built on the same principles as CBT for individuals but applied to couples. Partners learn to identify and correct problematic thoughts and behaviours.
Cognitive behavioural therapy: CBT focuses on the interplay between thoughts, behaviours, and feelings so participants can correct problematic habits.
Emotionally focused: An approach designed to repair emotional distance by helping partners express their feelings to one another.
Gottman: A couples therapy based on the Sound Relationship House Theory. Essentially, this method involves improving certain skills in a particular order to encourage intimacy and remove barriers.
Narrative: Focuses on the internal dialogues of each partner and how these affect their relationship.
Positive psychology: Therapy based on identifying the strengths of each partner and reinforcing the positive aspects of the relationship.
Finding couples therapy
The British Counselling Service is an organisation that can help couples who are struggling with issues such as communication problems. Offering a wide range of therapies, all services are administered by experienced and qualified psychologists and psychotherapists. We also support online therapy, enabling patients to receive counselling over skype calls, telephone calls, or other platforms.
Are you experiencing communication problems with your partner? Contact The British Counselling Service today to find out more about the available therapies and which is best for your situation.
Frequently asked questions – couples counselling for financial issues
When is couples counselling recommended?
Any couple who feels their relationship is suffering because of communication troubles and cannot fix it on their own should consider couples counselling.
What training and qualifications should a couples therapist have?
Both general counsellors (who don’t possess qualifications held by psychologists) and qualified psychologists are licensed to work with clients, and general counsellors will have passed examinations and had a number of supervised training hours qualifying them to work with clients. However, psychologists and psychotherapists hold more formal education and will have undergone further training before qualifying to work in their field. A psychologist will be trained as both a therapeutic practitioner (someone who delivers treatment for psychological and emotional disorders such as anxiety and depression) and a scientific researcher (someone who explores and expands the field of psychology through scientific research). In the UK, psychologists must complete a doctorate (a total of 8 years training from undergraduate to post-graduate) and are registered with the Health Professional Council (HPC), which is the professional body responsible for regulating the practice of psychologists. They will have also done an extensive amount of in-depth research into human psychology. You can find out more about what qualifications psychologists should hold here.
Our psychologists have spent between seven and nine years training to enable people to overcome their emotional difficulties, and many hold senior positions in the NHS. Find out more about our team here.
How do you rebuild communication in a relationship?
Working with a couples therapist is the best way of rebuilding communication with your partner.
What are the best relationship activities for couples?
Every couple is different, and your therapist will likely recommend activities that can help strengthen your relationship.
How does online relationship counselling help?
Online relationship counselling is like regular counselling, except you communicate with your therapist via apps such as Zoom or Skype, or on the phone.
How much communication is normal in a relationship?
It varies from couple to couple, but usually, the more you communicate, the better – as long as the communication is healthy.
How does communication affect relationships?
Good communication is vital for any healthy relationship. It ensures both partners can share their thoughts and emotions freely.
How do you ask your partner to communicate better?
If you feel your partner isn’t communicating properly with you, be honest with them about it. But make it clear that you are concerned for the relationship, not being critical of them as a partner or person. Contact us if you feel your relationship is struggling due to poor communication.