G. R. & L. M. Hill Counselling
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Why do people seek counselling?

The catalyst is almost always relationship problems. Living in this modern world can be difficult. Pressures impose upon us from so many sources and we do our best to cope. We push on. We try to push through. But when our main relationship is threatened we decide it is time to take action and seek help because losing a partner is a tangible event: they were here, sharing our life with us, and now they’re not. Other issues we’ve never overcome such as stress, financial difficulties, infidelity, ill-health, anger, depression, abuse, addictions etc rarely get the attention they deserve until relationships breakdown.

Clients attend counselling for relationship concerns like those mentioned above, but also for other reasons. There are times in all our lives – whether we’re in our twenties or our sixties or at any other age – when we ask questions.

• Am I happy where I am?
• Am I happy with the way I do things?
• Why do I react the way I do?
• Why do I put up with this?
• Why can’t I get my life under control?
• How do I learn to speak up about what I feel and think?
• How do I learn to share my feelings?
• How do I love and raise my children into becoming mature and caring adults?
• Why do I persist in pushing people away, in being unhappy, in being negative?

Or, what is the meaning of life – at least what is the meaning of my life? Where am I going? How do people see me? How do we survive in this crazy world? What makes people tick and what lies behind the pressures and stresses we all feel, how do we overcome the difficulties? Although philosophical, these are also lifestyle questions, perhaps deeper issues that really affect all of us, and help shape the lives we live as well as the happiness of those we live with.

How children affect a relationship?
Children are a blessing and a delight. Many of us find our greatest fulfilment in life comes through being parents and yet having children has a significant impact on relationship breakdowns. The cause is not the children themselves, but the process of having children.

A typical scenario is often the following: She becomes pregnant and the relationship changes. Physically, and emotionally, she is different. She spends her time differently. Suddenly her whole world has changed because she is carrying another person around with her all the time. Her priority naturally is this other person. But she is not thinking about this, just going through it.

He notices the changes and wants to be supportive but misunderstandings occur. She doesn’t meet his needs anymore. He doesn’t meet hers. He becomes hurt, so does she, but they move on, she gives birth and they are proud but the relationship is not the same.

They don’t know how to communicate. They don’t even know what is happening. He wants to relate physically and sexually to help improve the relationship. She says no, she needs more sensitivity first, or she doesn’t feel like it because she is overwhelmed by increasing tiredness.

But she does relate sexually. They raise the children and save for the house. The relationship is not the same for him. She relates for the wrong reasons and loses her sex-drive. Her libido has decreased and she doesn’t understand it’s because she is forcing herself to relate to a man who doesn’t understand what she has gone through, who doesn’t understand what she is still going through.

They fight. They learn to dwell on their own hurts rather than each other’s needs. They no longer trust each other to provide the love they need. He gets angry. She keeps to herself and has no idea why this has all happened. Then she rebels and looks for space, more independence and a stronger sense of her own identity. Both are locked into surviving and trying to achieve financial security. The hurts stack up like battle wounds and they seek counselling.

Good communication
We have learned over the years that the nicest people with the most caring hearts are not always good communicators. Too often what we say to each other increases problems rather than solves them. The following guidelines have worked many times in practice and these alone have saved many relationships. But be warned. Implementing these guidelines is not easy. It requires a shift in how we listen and respond to each other. And it all takes time and patience. It also requires a strong determination to love your partner and work with them for a better relationship. Nevertheless, we believe these guidelines are essential in any good relationship.

The guidelines refer to how to listen when your partner shares with you. They are especially relevant when he/she is upset, angry, accusing, or argumentative. Remember, these are guidelines for the listener. But of course, the listener one day will have their turn.

The Guidelines

One: Listen.

Two: Try to understand.

Three: Say and show that you care. Be patient. Think of your partner and accept what they throw at you.

Four: There is no four.

These guidelines are not about offering advice or correcting your partner when they are wrong. They are also not about you and how you feel, but about how your partner feels. Remember this: there is perhaps something more important than the truth when it comes to communication – love. Don’t correct each other, love each other instead. When the loving comes first it is amazing how much you come to agree on.

If there is something you really want to say. Go away and write it down. Stew on it overnight. The next day come up to your partner and say something like, ‘Remember our talk yesterday? Well, I’d like to say a few things now,’ or, ‘Do you mind if we sit down. I’d like to say a few things that are important to me.’