There are many challenges that can trigger an issue in a relationship whether between specific individuals, a couple or the whole family unit. Those described below are among the main issues that we deal with on a regular basis.
Addictions can take many forms, but denial is a common feature. “Don’t worry about me. I am not addicted. I am in control. I can handle it. I can stop whenever I want.” These are the frequent responses, often said in irritation or anger, when challenged.
Addicts can skilfully hide their addictions so that they often go undetected even within their closest family. Someone who is addicted to drugs, medications or alcohol will need medical treatment alongside psychotherapy and counselling. Other addictions such as gambling, pornography or various sexual behaviours, will benefit from specialised and medium to long term counselling. Pornography and sexual behaviours are often not even recognised as addictions, and this can be a major impediment to effective counselling.
JCounselling not only offers counselling to the person who has the addiction but also to their family members who are often at a loss as to how to respond.
Anxiety is something everyone experiences at times and feeling anxious is a perfectly natural reaction to some situations. But sometimes feelings of anxiety can be constant, overwhelming or out of proportion to the situation and this can affect our daily life. Similarly, when loss of your joie d’vivre or interest in the things that you used to find enjoyable, and only seeing things in shades of grey and black, persist this might signal that you are experiencing depression.
Depression. When depression or anxiety starts to interfere with your lifestyle it is time to explore what might be going on and to seek help to overcome these feelings and get your life back on track. Families with a loved one suffering from these conditions may also benefit from counselling to help them maintain the strength of their family unit and to be better able to help the person suffering, cope with their illness.
Anger is something we all feel at times but when the emotion becomes too intense it can take over our whole personality. Anger can even impact a person physically. If someone is in a fit of rage their heart rate will increase, and they will have elevated blood pressure as well as an increase of adrenaline and noradrenaline. Anger is commonly a result of suppressed pain or suffering. You can’t force anger away and it’s imperative that it is dealt with properly.
Talking to one of our Counsellors in a safe, non-judgemental environment combined with effective breathing techniques and journaling are useful tools to try to deal with anger.
“I am able to control my anger better and understand my wife better.”
“Trying to be strong for everyone else just made things worse. Being able to talk to someone about how we could all learn to cope together made a massive difference.”
When a loved one dies, this can impact on all family relationships. We all grieve in different ways and how we grieve may also depend on the circumstances of the death. Some people want to talk about the person who has died and what has happened. Some prefer to keep their thoughts to themselves as that is their way of coping. Some may worry about breaking down if they open up.
It’s important to prevent frustration by discussing how we personally prefer to grieve and make sure that we understand each other. It is not unusual to grieve separately, although it often helps to know that you can come together at times despite those differences.
We work with you to understand the complexities and intricacies of your situation and help you find your way through it.
BLENDED FAMILY ISSUES
The work for parents in Blended Families is about making a place for all the children, both your biological children and your partner’s children. To help a child feel comfortable in your new family configuration, it’s important to bear in mind what was successful in the past, as well as what needs to be done differently to build new bonds.
Blended Families naturally face various challenges that can be complex e.g., trying to understand and integrate different parenting styles, family values and perspectives. If a child feels that they are important to both the biological and bonus (step) parent this will go a long way in fostering their sense of security. Introducing small ways to reassure and reconnect with your biological child can go a long way to ensuring they still feel loved despite all the changes in the family.
Therapy can help families explore these issues and opportunities.
“It made a real difference to talk to someone who can relate to our lifestyle.”
“We now have greater confidence in expressing our emotions.”
Our own individual experience of life leads us all to think, feel and experience differently. If we assume our partner is the same as we are, we will almost certainly be disappointed and have unachievable expectations.
Communication is key to ensuring that we each understand where the other is coming from. By choosing an appropriate setting, using calm and respectful language and ensuring the timing is correct, more coherent communication can be achieved. It is important that you don’t bottle up feelings as this can lead to resentment.
Communication is not about agreeing, but rather about trying to understand where the other is coming from. This is not an easy task but, with the right help from an organisation like ours, it is achievable.
Someone with an eating disorder may well need specialist support which we are not best placed to provide. However, an eating disorder can often overtake relationships, especially as it takes a stronger hold on the individual, and this is an area of JCounselling’s expertise,
Typically, the person suffering will begin to withdraw, isolate, and/or attempt to hide abnormal eating behaviours from their spouse or other family members. In addition, eating disorders can lead to decreased intimacy and communication.
It’s difficult to understand someone in this position, especially if they are withdrawing from you as a consequence of their illness. The distance thereby created can trigger misunderstandings and affect communication. The chronic nature of eating disorders often means that the partner and/or family of the individual suffering from this condition need supportive counselling to ensure that the family unit remains strong and able to help care for their loved one.
Attitudes to money are as central to relationships as religious and social expectations. However, unfortunately it is less common for couples to discuss their financial attitudes and expectations before the wedding.
Some individuals expect to have all their money in joint accounts and make joint financial decisions. Others might want to keep some financial independence. Increasingly today, the main income provider could be either the husband or the wife and family prejudices may need to be overcome when what are seen as traditional male/female roles are challenged. Financial difficulties often cause huge strife, especially when couples have to battle with disappointment in themselves or their partner, or when changing circumstances have a significant impact on financial decisions.
Sensitive counselling can play a big part in restoring understanding and respect between partners. There are no ‘rights or wrongs’ just opinions which have to be communicated and negotiated with an acceptable solution for both partners.
“I became more confident and assertive in myself which has helped me most importantly be able to deal with family members. Also has helped generally in life, marriage and work.”
Low self-esteem often leads to negativity and self-criticism, strongly impacting our sense of value and purpose. Without esteem we often seek the approval and acceptance of others. Consequently, the view we have of ourselves is strongly shaped by the perceptions of others. Dependency on people for our self-worth impacts relationships. Often, we expect others to increase our self-worth and experience stress when people become critical. As a result of our disappointment, we become resentful and our relationships become strained.
The Hebrew word for self-esteem is ‘Bitachon Atzmi’ – Trust in oneself. By developing self-worth and strengthening self-acceptance and self-care, we can establish a deep sense of self-trust that naturally reduces unhelpful dependencies. As a result, we can positively impact our personal lives and relationships can flourish.
Talking therapy strengthens your sense of self and helps you find your own voice and inner strength.
Family members or friends might struggle to understand the actions and thoughts of someone suffering from a personality disorder, not least because sufferers might close themselves off from their loved ones. On the other hand, dependent personality disorders can cause an over reliance on relationships, which could be overwhelming for one’s partner.
The wide variety of personality disorders are often associated with a pattern of intense or unstable relationships, including couple relationships.
Counselling can help identify if this condition is at the heart of problems within a relationship and can help to set both the couple and the individual with the personality disorder, on a more positive path.
“I was able to resolve severe emotional and psychological issues that were holding me back, making my life unmanageable.”
Most couples go through major changes when they become parents, which can lead to conflict between partners. This is further aggravated where one is suffering from Post Natal Depression (PND).
When depressed or anxious, many will retreat into social isolation and withdrawal which will directly impact the level of closeness in a marriage. The person affected by PND is likely to find that communicating their feelings becomes harder and so they feel increasingly lonely and isolated. In addition, the new mum and dad may find that they don’t know each other as well as they thought they did as they learn about each other in their new role as parents.
Rightly or wrongly the person suffering from PND can feel unsupported by their partner and finding a safe place where this can be discussed, and where effective communication can be restored, is vital to stopping resentment and anger affecting the marriage.
Sexual dysfunction is often a source of shame, confusion, deep embarrassment and breakdown in communication, within an otherwise good and happy relationship.
It is always a shared problem because it affects both partners, albeit in different ways. At different periods in their lives men may experience loss of libido, erection difficulties, an inability to ejaculate, rapid ejaculation, delayed ejaculation, or combinations of these. Women at different periods too, may experience loss of libido, orgasm difficulties, penetration difficulties, painful intercourse, or combinations of these.
A psychosexual therapist may first refer clients to a urologist or gynaecologist, to establish early on whether there is a physical cause to the problem that may need medical treatment. If not, as in many cases, the problem will usually have a psychological cause and sensitive but deeply revealing psychosexual therapy, often followed by a tailored course of practical sex therapy, will almost always be extremely effective.