Do you and your partner talk constantly but don’t see eye to eye? Does it feel like you spend time together, but something’s still missing? Maybe what you need in your relationship is not just companionship, but connection.
Although some misunderstandings and conflicts between partners are inevitable, couples therapy can help you and your romantic partner work through your issues and find your way back to a loving relationship.
In this article, you'll discover the transformative benefits of couples therapy in London, and learn:
- What is couples therapy? Why do you need it? How can it transform your relationship?
- Expert tips to find the best therapist who gets you and your partner
- Why it's better to seek relationship advice sooner rather than later
- What to do if your partner's on the fence about therapy
- How to kickstart your couples therapy journey with a free consultation
What is couples therapy?
Couples therapy addresses challenges in relationships, helping partners bridge emotional distances that arise from conflicts and misunderstandings. It's not uncommon for couples to face moments where they might argue, blame, or even avoid confronting their issues. These are signs of tension, and it's natural to feel lost or overwhelmed during such times. While individual counselling dives deep into your personal experiences, couples therapy is like a dance lesson for both partners.
Couples therapy is a safe space where you and your partner learn to communicate more effectively. For instance, if you find yourselves constantly arguing about chores or feeling distant after a disagreement, a therapist can help pinpoint these patterns. The therapist isn't there to take sides or place blame. Instead, they'll provide feedback on how you both interact, like why a casual conversation might turn into an argument or how certain habits might be pushing you apart.
The ultimate goal? To help you both connect emotionally. By truly listening to your partner and learning new ways to communicate, you're taking steps towards a more understanding, happier, and healthier relationship.
Why choose relationship counselling?
Every couple faces challenges. Sometimes, it feels like you're speaking different languages, leading to misunderstandings and hurt feelings. A couples therapist can help you reconnect with your partner, so you both feel safe and secure in your relationship, knowing the other person will be there for you, even when you disagree.
But relationship counselling isn't just a space to vent. It addresses real, everyday challenges that many couples face:
- Communication breakdowns – ever feel like a simple conversation turns into a shouting match? Or worse, it becomes a cold silence?
- Trust issues – Whether it's past mistakes, infidelity, or feeling constantly criticised, rebuilding trust is crucial for a relationship's health.
- Intimacy concerns – from mismatched libidos to navigating the complexities of orgasms, talking about sex can feel uncomfortable for any couple.
- Life's big changes – welcoming a new baby, grappling with infertility, facing health challenges, or mourning a loss can strain even the strongest bonds.
- Financial and work stress – money worries or work-related stress can seep into your relationship.
- Parenting hurdles – from sleepless nights with a newborn to navigating the teenage years, parenting is rewarding but challenging.
- Mental health and addiction – mental health issues like depression or anxiety, as well as battles with addiction, can place immense strain on a relationship.
- Emotional management – whether it’s feelings of jealousy, unresolved anger, or even periods of boredom, these emotions can erode the foundation of trust and intimacy.
Remember, seeking help is a sign of strength. It shows commitment to each other and a desire for a happier, healthier relationship.
Does couples therapy work?
Couples counselling can teach you to understand the behaviour patterns in your relationship, see issues from your partner’s point of view, heal old wounds and rebuild trust. Once you can see what’s happening, you can develop the skills and techniques to negotiate disagreements, find a compromise, and support each other despite your differences.
Research shows that couples often wait seven or eight years before they seek help from a therapist. During that time, each partner develops strategies to protect themselves from the pain and frustration of their unhappiness, such as defensiveness, criticism or stonewalling, which can quickly become embedded in the relationship. The longer couples engage in these negative patterns, the harder it is to break them.
What does a couples therapist do?
Think of a couple’s therapist as your relationship's personal trainer. They've got the expertise to help you and your partner work through challenges, big or small. Whether it's rebuilding trust or improving communication, they're on your side, cheering you on every step of the way.
The goal of a couples counsellor is to help you and your partner learn how to resolve relationship issues together. Using different methods and approaches, a relationship therapist will help you learn to communicate so you listen and respect each other’s needs. A couples therapist can help you and your partner untangle the miscommunication in your relationship and start working together.
Marriage counselling vs. couples therapy
Navigating the world of relationship support can be confusing, especially when terms like "marriage counselling" and "couples therapy" are often used interchangeably. However, there are subtle differences between the two:
What Marriage Counselling is for:
Imagine you're on a boat, and you've hit some rough waters recently. Marriage counselling is like learning to steer the boat in the present storm. It's about addressing the here and now. For instance, if you and your partner are newlyweds, a marriage counsellor might discuss topics like managing finances or preparing for the joys and challenges of parenthood. The aim? To ensure you both are on the same page and strengthen your bond for the journey ahead.
What Couples Therapy is for:
Now, imagine that your boat has some old, unrepaired damages from past storms. Couples therapy dives deep to fix those. It's about understanding the history of your relationship, from past misunderstandings to patterns that keep repeating. Whether you've been together for months or decades, this therapy helps identify the root causes of your challenges. A couples therapist will guide you both in understanding past issues, offering tools and strategies to heal and grow stronger together.
What makes a good couples therapist?
Choosing the right therapist is crucial, so here are some key qualities to look for:
- Professional qualifications - in the UK, a qualified couples therapist typically holds a postgraduate degree, backed by at least 450 hours of hands-on practice. Some couples therapists are trained in Family and Systemic Therapy, which is a special kind of therapy focused on relationships. Additionally, they should be registered with reputable associations like the UK Council for Psychotherapy, the Association for Family Therapy, or the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy.
- Empathy and compassion – they create a safe space where both of you feel heard and understood. They won’t force their views on you or tell you what to do. Instead, they’ll listen intently, helping you both see how certain issues impact your relationship. It's like holding up a mirror, gently allowing you to see the dynamics between you and your partner.
- Equips you with tools – their goal isn't just to identify challenges but to empower you with the tools and strategies to overcome them. Whether it's improving communication or changing unhelpful patterns, they guide you in building stronger connections.
Remember, the right therapist is someone who supports, guides and walks alongside you, helping you and your partner navigate challenges and strengthen your bond.
How to find the best couples therapist
If you’re looking for relationship counselling to help resolve the issues between you and your partner, you want to find the best couples therapist. Here are a few tips to help you find a qualified and effective therapist who can guide you through your relationship challenges and help you get back on course.
- Choose a therapist who suits you. Whether it's their communication style or area of specialisation, ensure you feel comfortable and resonate with their approach.
- Always check for professional registrations. Our therapists are registered with bodies like the UK Council for Psychotherapy, the Association for Family Therapy, and the Health and Care Professions Council. This ensures they adhere to professional standards.
- Look at how much experience they have. A seasoned therapist brings a wealth of insights from their years of practice.
- Consider whether they will be understanding of your culture and sexual orientation. Especially if these areas are crucial for you, ensure the therapist is trained and sensitive to cultural, gender, and LGBTQI+ issues.
- Look for additional qualifications. If you or your partner is struggling with a mental health condition, addiction, or trauma, consider choosing a psychologist with training in these areas.
- Before committing, consider having an initial consultation. This gives you a feel for the therapist's style and approach, ensuring it aligns with your needs. We offer free consultations with a therapist of your choice to help you feel comfortable before booking your first appointment.
At the London Psychiatry Clinic, we pride ourselves on our team of highly qualified and diverse relationship specialists:
Systemic and Family Psychotherapist | Over 15 years of experience
Specialises in: Systemic therapy for couples, life changes & crisis support.
Registered with: UK Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP); Association for Family Therapy (AFT).
Qualifications: Advanced Diploma in Supervision of Family and Systemic Psychotherapy; MSc in Systemic Psychotherapy from Kings College London.
Systemic and Family Psychotherapist | Over 10 years of experience
Specialises in: Systemic therapy for couples and LGBTQI+ relationships
Registered with: UK Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP); Association for Family Therapy (AFT).
Qualifications: MSc in Systemic Family Therapy from King’s College London; Foundation Level LGBTQ+ Centred Emotionally Focused Therapy.
Consultant Clinical Psychologist | Over 15 years of experience
Specialises in: Wide range of psychotherapy approaches for relationship difficulties and mental health conditions.
Registered with: Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC).
Qualifications: Doctorate in Clinical Psychology; MSc in Clinical Psychology.
Addiction and Trauma Therapist | Over 4 years of experience
Specialises in: Psychotherapy for conflict resolution, communication, boundaries, addiction and trauma.
Registered with: British Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy (BACP).
Qualifications: MSc in Counselling and Psychotherapy; Postgraduate Certificate in Counselling.
The importance of seeking early marriage and relationship guidance
The earlier you seek guidance, the better. Think of it like catching a cold. The sooner you address it, the quicker you'll recover. The same goes for relationships. Early intervention can prevent small issues from becoming big problems. So, if you feel something's off, don't hesitate. Reach out.
Many people see relationship counselling as a last resort and put off seeking help from a marriage guidance counsellor until things are terrible or they’ve stopped talking to each other altogether. Others may see couples counselling as something only for couples in crisis.
The best way to get your relationship on track is to get help early before hurtful and harmful behaviours become part of your life. Whether you and your partner are trying to cope with a lack of communication, constant arguments without resolution, or you’ve lost that spark, marriage guidance counselling can help to prevent issues from escalating and get your marriage back on track. Even if you’re not experiencing any specific problems, couples therapy can give you the skills you need to improve your relationship as you grow together.
What if my partner doesn't want to attend?
If your partner doesn’t want to attend couples counselling with you, therapy can still be enormously helpful for you on your own. Couples therapy can help individuals learn, grow and develop the right approach to handling relationship difficulties. In some cases, you may feel more comfortable talking about your situation alone with your therapist. You may also discover how you may be contributing to the problems in your relationship.
Your partner may be reluctant to start relationship counselling for various reasons. Sometimes, the suggestion of therapy leads to an argument. In other cases, your partner may feel blamed for your problems. Perhaps they’re afraid of the negative reactions they’ll receive if their friends or family find out they’re getting therapy. For some people, they might have already given up on the relationship.
Trying to pressure your partner to get couples counselling will likely worsen the situation. If you go on your own, your therapist can help you find more effective ways of talking to your partner about your difficulties and how couples therapy can help your relationship. Your partner may appreciate your efforts to improve the relationship, see the changes you’re making yourself, and feel more inspired to start the journey with you.
Kickstart your couples therapy journey with a free consultation
We understand that taking that first step towards couples therapy can feel daunting. To ease you into this transformative journey, we offer a brief complimentary phone chat with one of our expert therapists. This is your opportunity to:
- Chat with a therapist of your choice before booking an appointment
- Get a feel for their approach and see if it resonates with you
- Ask any questions you might have about the process
There's absolutely no pressure if it doesn’t feel like the right fit for you. It's all about ensuring you're comfortable and confident in your choice.
Book your free couples therapy consultation now. Speak with us today.