5 Effective Ways To Deal With Relationship Problems

5 Effective Ways To Deal With Relationship Problems

by Dr Emma Gray - 9th July, 2014

How to Deal with Relationship Problems

Relationship problems are a part of a normal healthy relationship. It is not having relationship problems that distinguishes relationships that work from those that don’t but how the problems are dealt with.

The Clinical Psychologists and Counselling Psychologists at The British CBT & Counselling Service have not only helped many couples to resolve their current relationship problems but equipped them with the skills to deal with those that have yet to occur so future proofing the relationship and guaranteeing the couple a happy and satisfying life together.

At The British CBT & Counselling Service our Clinical Psychologists and Counselling Psychologists use a range of therapy and counselling technique to help couples to identify and resolve their relationship problems but principally draw on Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) as this provides both the practical and psychological skills necessary to move a relationship forward in a mutually fulfilling way.

Our team has used their experience in relationship counselling and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) to put together the steps below, which if followed, should help those struggling with relationship problem to resolve and move forward from their difficulties.

1. The Function of Arguments

Every couple argues, not arguing is not a good sign, just a sign of unexpressed issues, frustrations and anxieties, that will continue to grow and manifest in ways that are destructive for the relationship. Arguments serves a very important function in a relationship, they are a place where emotions can be discharged and reset, a safe place to ‘blow off steam’.

It is important however that arguments are seen as serving this function and not as either an opportunity to discuss and resolve important issues, or where truths are revealed. During an argument we are by definition overwhelmed by strong emotions meaning that at this time we do not have the capacity for rational and considered thought and that anything that we say is a reflection of the intensity of our feeling at that time not of our core beliefs, values or priorities. For arguments to serve their function (i.e. to act as a healthy and necessary release of pressure) we must hold this in mind.

2. Self Therapy

When we are going through a difficult time in our relationship it is important that we set aside time and space to discuss things in a thoughtful and considered way (a type of thinking that is impossible during an argument). To minimise the chances of being overwhelmed by emotions during this time it is helpful to follow a number of guidelines:

· Plan and set aside a convenient time to talk when other distractions and commitments are at a minimum. Agree upon a timeframe and stick to it, issues left unresolved can be dealt with next time. This sets the stage for a discussion that is calm, contained and considered rather than one that is fuelled by high emotions and disintegrates into something unhelpful.

· Set an agenda and take joint responsibility for sticking to it.

· Take a time out to calm down if the discussion takes an unhelpful turn.

· Record yourself speaking so that you can listen back and observe your interactions, learn from then and improve upon them.

3. Develop Empathy

We use ourselves as a reference point when thinking about other people, but the fact is that people can think and feel very differently in the same situation meaning that this strategy leads to a lot of misunderstanding and resentment between couples. Developing empathy for our partner is fundamental to meeting their needs and having a mutually fulfilling relationship.

One way to develop empathy for your partner is to identify what you are thinking and feeling in a situation, put this to one side and then try and identify what your partner is thinking and feeling, this will be different, sometimes very different, but use what you know about your partner, their history, what they are afraid of, what they worry about, what they struggle with in life. Walk a mile in my shoes, see what I see, feel what I feel, then maybe you will understand why I do what I do, ‘til then don’t judge me.

4. Take Responsibility

Relationships are 50-50, this means that 50% of what goes on in a relationship is your responsibilityincluding the problems. Accepting this can be hard, especially if you struggle to identify the less desirable aspects of your personality but doing so is vital in a healthy balanced relationship where both partners get their needs met in an appropriate way.

Identify what you are contribute to the problem and take responsibility for it, in the short term this may feel uncomfortable and distressing but longer term it is liberating and maximises the chances of you and your partner getting what you need from the relationship.

5. Be Realistic

Don’t try and get everything from your intimate/romantic relationship. Your partner is and should not be your best friend. We have many needs and so need to pursue many avenues in order to get them in a comprehensive way. Putting all of your eggs in one basket is not only a risky strategy but it is also an unrealistic one.

For relationship counselling in Richmond, marriage counselling in Clapham, couples counselling in Fulham, relationship counselling in Marylebone, marriage counselling in Islington, couple counselling in Canary Wharf, relationship counselling in Kings Cross, marriage counselling in West Bridgford (Nottingham) and couples counselling in Stamford (Lincolnshire), contacts with our Clinical Psychologist and Counselling Psychologists.


Dr Emma Gray

Dr Emma Gray

I am often the first person with whom my patients share significant and intimate thoughts and memories; I never take that privileged position for granted nor the opportunity to help someone to feel better about themselves and discover a more fulfilling life. One of my colleague once described me as natural psychologist; I guess she was alluding to the fact that I feel at ease being a therapist, I can empathise with people’s distress and discomfort but don’t feel overwhelmed by it, I can understand their problem and know how to help, it has always just felt like what I should be doing.


Read more about my approach to counselling here...


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