Understanding relationship problems

What is meant by relationship problems?

Most adults spend the major part of their lives in an intimate relationship. Such relationships can be very satisfying, they protect us from loneliness and they have a positive effect upon our physical and mental health. They are also a great foundation for the successful care and upbringing of children. However, it is not all plain sailing.

Everyday problems such as financial pressures, bringing up children, sexual and emotional problems, issues of fidelity or the complications of second marriages can cause seemingly unbearable pressure on partnerships and family life. The stresses caused by these pressures can sometimes lead to depression or anxiety in one or both of the partners.

The variety of “couple relationships” today is much wider than would have been thought acceptable 50 years ago. Today we see married couples, couples living together and often having children without being married, and same-sex couples with or without children. However, the problems affecting these different types of relationship are much the same no matter how conventional or otherwise the relationship.

What can be done to help?

There are a number of different counselling organizations, such as Relate, which help people whose relationships are in trouble. They can be located through your GP’s surgery, or Citizens’ Advice Bureau, or you can find them in Yellow Pages. Some medical centres also run couple therapy clinics (your GP may be able to refer you). However, therapists now recognize the value of self help in getting to grips with relationship problems.

Overcoming Relationship Problems, a self-help guide, is based upon experience in self-help strategies developed at the couple clinic of the Maudsley Hospital in south London. It uses a combination of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and systemic approaches derived from family therapy to provide an effective self-help way to counter the difficulties that can arise in close relationships. For more about the book > 


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