I've worked with hundreds of individuals and couples, who have brought a wide range of relationship and personal issues, including:
- not getting on
- communicating poorly / arguing
- sexual problems / losing interest in partner
- separation / divorce & impact on children
- family / step-family problems / young children
- retirement and other life transitions
- health and mental problems
- low mood, anxiety, panic attacks, and depression
- low self-esteem and loss of confidence
- impact of financial difficulties
- addictions, including internet porn, alcohol, gambling
- stress at work
- abuse, including verbal / sexual / violence, either in the relationship or past experience
- difficulty forming or staying in relationships
All of these issues can be helped by receiving suitable professional support. Some may require specialised practitioners, and should I not feel I am suitably qualified to help I will assist you in finding someone better able to provide the support you need.
Counselling is essentially a talking therapeutic process. As a counsellor I will use my skills and experience to create a safe environment where you are able to talk and explore your concerns, and in the case of working with couples, share thoughts and insights together in a way that is very difficult to do at home. You can expect me to be a good listener, non-judgemental, supportive and neutral. Counsellors will rarely offer advice, except in situations where information may be helpful, such as ideas for mitigating the impact of relationship problems on children.
Yes, there is plenty of research evidence out there that engaging in a therapeutic process can make a real difference to the way that problems are experienced. Relationships can benefit immensely, and problems that appear insurmountable can often be addressed such that couples are able to get on together again - often better than at any time previously.
Of course with any therapeutic process a particular outcome cannot be guaranteed. That depends crucially on the commitment that you are prepared to make. It is also the case that sometimes the best outcome for couples is not to stay together. Counselling can help in achieving that realisation, and then can often be beneficial to help make a separation easier, especially where there are children involved.
You are not alone. Some people are worried that there are fundamental things wrong with them that can't be fixed. Others feel either too ashamed to discuss their concerns at all, especially with a stranger, or have become so used to sorting out their own problems that they feel "it is not in their nature" to seek help. Yet others are worried about dealing with the emotions that they fear will be released.
All of these reactions, and many others, are perfectly natural, and I have met and worked with them all.