The phrase “relationships are difficult” has become a cliché. However, it is also true. Even when people get along well, stress and everyday life can cause conflicts that appear difficult, if not impossible, to resolve. Relationship counseling can assist people in these difficult situations in working through their issues, moving past them, and becoming better partners overall.
What Are Relationships Counseling?
Relationships counseling, also known as couples counseling or couples therapy, is a type of psychotherapy aimed at assisting people in improving their romantic relationships. Couples can work with a therapist to explore issues in their relationship, improve communication, improve interactions, and resolve conflicts.
Relationship counseling is frequently used to address problems, but it can be beneficial at any stage of a relationship. Counseling that improves communication and connection can still benefit people in healthy, happy relationships.
When Should You Seek Relationship Counseling?
Many people believe you should only seek relationship counseling when separation or divorce looms. However, this is frequently too little, too late. Relationship therapy should begin as soon as the problems begin to interfere with your daily life. Here are some indicators that you may benefit from a consultation:
- You have difficulty expressing yourselves to one another.
- You have one or more unresolved conflicts.
- There is withdrawal, criticism, or contempt in your interactions
- A tumultuous event has upended your routine.
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It’s important to remember that there are no bad reasons to seek relationship counseling. Some couples begin therapy as soon as they marry, even if there are no obvious problems, in order to lay a strong foundation and prevent serious problems from developing. Counselors can assist you in becoming better communicators, developing strong relationship skills, and increasing the happiness of your family.
Dual Relationships in Counseling
In counseling, a dual relationship exists when there is a two-way therapeutic link between a client (a person who seeks the services or advice of another person or organization) and a counselor. The relationship involves three parties: the client (patient), the counselor (healer), and the counselee’s social group. According to Corey (1991), the professional relationship with clients exists for the benefit of the clients.
In counseling, there are several important factors to consider when dealing with a dual relationship. These are the following:
A. Client social and personal relationships
This is a problem with problematic relationships in which the client is a relative, a friend, or has other ties with the counselor aside from the counseling relationship. Ethical standards clearly state that relationships in which the counselor’s objectivity or professional judgment may be jeopardized are unethical.
B. Physical contact as part of the client/therapist relationship
Current physical ailments link the problem to a specific part of the body. According to Corey (1991), while erotic contact with clients is considered unethical, non-erotic contact is thought to have significant therapeutic value. It is a step in communicating empathy and understanding what the client is going through in this regard.
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C. Sexual and erotic contact with clients in a dual relationship
Counseling invariably involves psychological intimacy rather than physical exposure, necessitating trust. According to Corey (1991), if a client/therapist relationship develops that may be counter-therapeutic, the counseling should be terminated, and the client should be referred to another professional.
D. Values and contemporary counseling
Counseling, like many other forms of assistance, is becoming more professionalized. Effective counseling necessitates much more than the practice of specific verbal skills: counselors must know themselves well, as well as other people, as well as a good deal about social institutions (and their influences) and the forces in society that create advantages and disadvantages. Many people become counselors because they want to help people in these capacities.
Pros and Cons of Dual Relationships in Counseling
Let’s start with the disadvantages of having multiple relationships. It is important to note that professionals must educate themselves on how to manage various relationships effectively. By doing so, you may be able to avoid crossing boundaries. This puts the therapist at risk of abusing their power to control the client for their own benefit as well as the client’s.
Second, there is the possibility that the professional is not paying attention to the signs of the relationship with the individual with whom they are working. Due to the professional’s lack of awareness of the relationship, warning signs may go unnoticed, resulting in one being unaware that they are involved in a problematic situation.
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In a mental health work environment, dual relationships are frequently used. Next, there is little information on non-intimate relationship boundary situations in mental health work environments, and research on this topic is limited. There are ethical codes within the mental health practice that provides minimal guidance with dual connections. Within decision-making models, there are constraints on whether or not to create a dual relationship rather than how to control it.
To emphasize, there are issues in small populated communities as a result of small statistics that describe the local community. With a limited number of relationships to choose from, one should ideally have up to six roles and interact with one another in a variety of situations. Irreversible connections trump significant interrelationships with people who are underlying goals of the social environment built into low-population communities and can occur at multiple levels.
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In a relationship, the various levels can range from personal to professional. The standard of more than one relationship within this field is cause for concern. Another point to consider is that many people are aware that dual relationships can impair the patient’s ability to grow in a trusting and honest relationship with the counselor.
Problems with Dual Relationships in Counseling
The therapeutic relationship may suffer as a result of the dual relationship. A dual relationship is more likely to be harmful if and only if the following conditions exist:
A. Lack of objectivity exists.
As an example, a therapist may treat a social media influencer. Their fondness for the client may cloud their clinical judgment.
B. The distinction between roles is hazy.
For example, if a client and therapist are friends, they may inadvertently start talking about mental health issues outside the office.
C. There are no timetables for when therapy will end.
For example, a client may be hesitant to end therapy with a close neighbor for fear of awkward encounters in the future.
D. Because of the disparity in power, it is easy for the therapist to harm the client inadvertently.
For example, if the therapist is also the client’s teacher, the client may receive a failing grade.
When evaluating the ethics of a dual relationship, it is critical to consider whether the relationship is truly beneficial to both the therapist and the client.
Abusive Relationships Counseling
If you are a normal, kindhearted person with plenty of love to give, it is natural to make excuses for the person who is hurting you or to hold out hope that their true (kind and loving) self will return. It can be extremely difficult to accept:
- The abuser bears sole responsibility for their abusive and violent behavior, and you are not to blame.
- Abuse and violence are choices made by the abuser, and it is not your fault.
Marcus understands and empathizes with your dilemmas as a relationship counselor, and he will be supportive and walk alongside you as you get clear and figure out exactly what you need to do next.
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Contact Marcus to discuss Counselling for Abusive Relationships if you want to stop domestic abuse, get out of an abusive relationship, or heal the emotional scars you believe you have.
Helping Relationships in Counseling Course
We’ve listed a variety of course options below, with varying lengths, prices, and time commitments. All courses are available online or virtually.
A. Gottman Method Training
The Gottman Institute is a world-renowned marriage and couples counseling training facility founded by Dr. John Gottman and Dr. Julie Schwartz Gottman, who have extensive experience in both the research and clinical sides of relationship counseling.
B. Couples Therapy – A Practical Masterclass Online, Human Givens College
Human Givens College offers a one-day workshop in couples therapy and welcomes people from helping professions or anyone interested in learning about brief solution-focused therapy if you want to get a taste of relationship counseling with a quick, hands-on course.
Among other things, you’ll learn how to create rapport with couples in therapy, how to build empathy, and how to structure therapeutic interventions. The course is worth six hours of continuing professional development credit. Find out more on their website.
C. Certificate in Couple/Relationship Therapy, The Grove Practice
If you want to devote a little more time to training, this eight-day online course is designed for qualified counselors, psychotherapists, and psychologists who want to improve their therapeutic skills in couples/relationship counseling settings.
The course includes both taught and skills-based components, totaling 48 hours of continuous professional development. Please find out more on their website.
D. Practitioner Certificate in Contemporary Intimate Partner Therapy, Contemporary Institute of Clinical Sexology.
This course is designed for qualified and practicing psychologists, psychotherapists, and counselors.
The Contemporary Institute of Clinical Sexology recognizes that many clients seeking intimate partner therapy may be multiple-partnered individuals who are involved in consensually non-monogamous or polyamorous relationships, challenging the outdated belief that intimate relationships only exist between two people.
The course consists of 88 hours of online learning modules and life skills practice sessions. Principles and Practices of Contemporary Intimate Partner Therapy and Addressing Sexual Themes are two core modules. More information is available on their website.
E. Diploma Course in Relationship Counseling, Udemy
If you want to learn about relationship counseling theories without spending a lot of money, this Udemy online course may be a good place to start.
This course has no prerequisites, but it may benefit people with a counseling background who want to expand their expertise in working with people. The system includes video modules and a training manual that cover topics such as conflict roles, working together, patterns, and overcoming obstacles. The Complementary Therapists Accreditation Association has approved the course. Please find out more on their website.
How Much is Counseling for Relationships
According to a nationwide survey, couples counseling costs range from $50 to $250 per hour. Most couples’ counseling sessions last one hour; some may be longer or shorter, with fees based on the hour. As a result, if a session lasts two hours and the counselor charges $50 per hour, you’ll pay $100. Make sure you talk to your counselor first, because many people believe the cost is per session when it is actually per hour. Some counselors may provide a discount if you sign up for a package deal for 6–12 weeks of counseling at a cost ranging from $400 to $2500.
What is the cost of couples counseling?
While counseling may appear to be expensive, it is essential to consider the benefits it provides. Some alternatives can help reduce costs, such as online marriage counseling. When you try therapy online, you can find options that are less expensive while still allowing you to work with licensed professionals. Another option is to find a therapist who charges on a sliding scale. Based on your income, the sliding scale allows you to pay less than the regular session fee.
Counseling may be beneficial if you are experiencing difficulties in your relationships. A therapist can assist you and your partner in identifying the source of your problems, developing new communication strategies, and strengthening your bond. Working together, you and your partner can improve your relationship and resolve any conflicts. You could also try online therapy, which can be highly beneficial.
Frequently Asked Questions
What does a relationship counselor do?
A relationship counselor, in particular, is a professional who has been trained to listen with empathy and expertise about your relationship and individual challenges. Our counselors can assist you in dealing with negative thoughts and feelings, as well as provide objective guidance toward personal and relationship growth.
What is the best therapy for relationship problems?
Couples counseling is generally the best option for dealing with relationship issues, but individual counseling can also be beneficial depending on the circumstances. In fact, there are times when this option is preferable to couples therapy.
Does counseling help relationships?
Regular therapy sessions help happy couples maintain and improve their healthy relationships. They learn how to work through disagreements and other relationship issues together, how to improve their emotional and physical intimacy, and how to understand each other on a deeper level.
Is relationship counseling worth it?
Marriage counseling can be beneficial for any couple looking for ways to improve their relationship. It can be beneficial at various stages of a relationship and address a wide range of issues that may arise in a marriage. Couples who want to work on themselves can also benefit.