Very often within the course of couple or family relationships, difficulties emerge that need addressing. The difficulties presented may relate to one or more of a whole host of different matters: communication, intimacy, past relationships, separation and divorce, step-families, having an affair; young children, adolescent children, children who have left home; in-laws and grand-parents; being a single parent; bereavements; cross-cultural challenges; disability; elderly dependents; adoption; infertility; sexual problems; religion; financial, work, housing and unemployment problems; mental and physical illness; alcohol and drug misuse; past sexual abuse; domestic violence (physical, sexual, verbal, emotional or financial).
Quite clearly, the difficulties people encounter can often be resolved without outside assistance, particularly if those concerned are able to communicate effectively with each other, listen to each other’s points of view and varying perspectives etc. Sometimes, however, it may be useful, even necessary, to discuss these difficulties by enlisting the help of an outside professional person, for example a relationship counsellor or family therapist, who is trained to help people explore the issues affecting them, understand themselves and each other better, relate better to each other, work things out for themselves and make decisions about what to do next. The number of sessions needed may range from one to several, depending on the nature of the difficulties.