counselling in Sydney
Are relationship problems common?
Relationship problems are
extremely common. If youíre feeling that your relationship
is not fulfilling your expectations you are not alone.
Surveys of the general community suggest that, at any given
time, as many as 15 percent of people in committed
relationships report significant difficulties. Divorce rates
are reaching record highs with approximately 50 percent of
marriages now ending in divorce. And of course, simply
staying married does not necessarily indicate that youíre in
a happy relationship. Many individuals stay in problematic
relationships for a variety of reasons (eg. financial
concerns, children). Because of this, current divorce
figures underestimate the proportion of people in
unsatisfactory relationships. As you can see, there is no
need to be embarrassed if you wish to work on your
relationship. Remember, relationship difficulties are the
most common presenting problem among adults seeking
What are the consequences of
There are many consequences to a
relationship in distress. Relationship disharmony effects
your enjoyment of life, and may impact on work, social and
family functioning. It is associated with higher rates of
depression, alcohol abuse, sexual dysfunction and even
poorer physical health. Relationship conflict has been shown
to lower immune function, and dangerously elevate blood
pressure in some individuals. Finally, relationship
difficulties may effect the behaviour of any children of the
distressed couple. Increased behavioural problems are
regularly observed in the children of couples in crisis. So
the consequences of relationship problems are broad and
serious. If you believe that your relationship is not
fulfilling your needs donít delay seeking assistance.
Do I have a relationship
Relationship distress is defined
by your own perceptions of your relationship. Only one
partner needs to feel dissatisfied to say that a
relationship is in some difficulty. The level of
dissatisfaction required to indicate a relationship problem
is also up to you. Much of your satisfaction or
dissatisfaction in your relationship will depend on the
expectations that you brought into the relationship.
Increasingly, individuals in Western Societies have high
expectations for their sexual relationships, and are less
content to simply leave problematic areas of the
relationship unattended. Again, this is nothing to feel
ashamed about. If you are not satisfied with one or more
aspects of your relationship, it is perfectly reasonable to
seek assistance in bringing about change. If you want more
guidance on whether you are in a problematic relationship,
examine the six characteristics of couples in distress and
the fifteen signs of a healthy relationship.
Can I come to therapy on my own?
Absolutely. Many people
experiencing relationship distress come to therapy on their
own. Obviously, the chances of enhancing a relationship are
increased if both partners will attend some sessions. But
your partnerís unwillingness to participate should not stop
you from seeking support.
Do you treat unmarried couples
and homosexual couples?
Of course. Many people live in
committed relationships that do not involve legal marriage.
All of these relationships can be helped by the
cognitive-behavioural approach to couples therapy.