Having difficulty as a couple? Therapy can help with issues like arguments, infidelity, jealousy, sex and anger. Couples Counselling, previously known as marital therapy or marriage guidance, addresses the problems arising from adult sexual or intimate relationships. The relationship, rather than the two individuals, is the ‘client’. This article explore how couples therapy and LGBTQ+ couples counselling can be helpful.
The purpose of couples therapy is to help you rebuild your relationship and stay together. However, if you expressly wish to separate, then couples counselling can also help you to do that more amicably. In most cases there is a way forward with couples counselling but it requires an effort from both parts and an acceptance that it can be a long and difficult process.
Family Marriage Counselling and Couples Therapy
These difficulties can improve in a counselling environment by having a skilled counsellor supportive and understanding. Counselling helps people to express their feelings and needs and to take on board some fresh perspectives, regain confidence and come through to a deeply caring and loving place. I have seen this happen many times over.
Individual or Couples Counselling? Shall I go on my own or with my partner?
Family, marriage, relationship counselling works for individuals as well as couples.You might want to come on your own if your partner is not comforable with counselling or if you have identified an unsatisfactory pattern in your personal relationships and want to make changes for future relationships.
Additionally, you may want to explore a relationship with a parent or sibling. Individual clients benefit from relationship counselling because they have the dedicated time to focus on their personal dilemmas, it helps understand their own strengths and weaknesses and to look at their own hopes and wishes and find ways to make them happen.
LGBTQ+ couples counselling
Couples counselling for gay couples shares many similarities with traditional couples counselling, but there are specific considerations and sensitivities that make it distinct. Here are some of the specificities of LGBTQ+ couple counselling:
- Understanding Unique Challenges: Therapists working with gay couples should have an understanding of the unique challenges and issues that LGBTQ+ individuals and couples may face. These challenges can include societal discrimination, coming out processes, family dynamics, and internalized homophobia.
- Communication and Relationship Issues: Just like in any relationship, communication problems and conflicts can arise. Therapists help couples develop effective communication skills and navigate relationship issues, including those related to their LGBTQ+ identity.
- Identity Exploration: For some LGBTQ+ couples, therapy may involve discussions around individual and shared identities. Couples may explore how their sexual orientation and gender identity impact their relationship dynamics and self-perception.
- Coming Out and Family Dynamics: Therapists may work with couples on issues related to coming out to family members and how family dynamics may affect their relationship. This can be particularly important for couples dealing with unsupportive or unaccepting families.
- Sexual Health and Intimacy: Discussions around sexual health, intimacy, and sexual satisfaction are common in gay couples counselling. Therapists can address issues related to sexual identity, desire discrepancies, and sexual function.
- Parenting and Family Planning: For LGBTQ+ couples considering or raising children, counselling can help navigate the unique challenges and decisions related to parenting, adoption, surrogacy, or co-parenting.
- Community Support: Therapists may connect gay couples with LGBTQ+ community resources and support networks, as these can be valuable sources of support and understanding.
- Legal and Relationship Recognition: Depending on the jurisdiction, therapists may provide guidance on legal aspects of the relationship, such as marriage, civil partnerships, or domestic partnerships.
- Conflict Resolution and Problem-Solving: Like any couples counselling, therapy may involve helping gay couples develop strategies for resolving conflicts and making decisions collaboratively.
- Cultural Sensitivity: Therapists should be culturally sensitive and aware of the diversity within the LGBTQ+ community, recognizing that experiences can vary based on factors like race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status.
- Non-Discrimination: It’s crucial that therapists providing gay couples counselling adhere to ethical guidelines and non-discrimination policies, ensuring that clients receive fair and respectful treatment.