Call for an appointment 020 7248 2975

Counselling for Relationship Problems

Our close relationships can bring us much joy and fulfilment. However, at some point we will all experience difficulties in our interactions with family, friends, or lovers. Relationship counselling provides a safe space in which to work through difficulties together.

Working through problems together in a therapeutic setting

While they can be a great source of love, pleasure and support, we all experience difficulties in our personal relationships with family, friends, and romantic partners at some time: misunderstandings or disagreements can escalate into persistent feelings of tension and upset that sometimes require an impartial sympathetic third party to help navigate through.

Relationship counsellors are trained in these very skills: their aim is to listen to and respect the differing feelings and opinions of those involved in a troubled relationship in order to find a way to reconcile them and facilitate mutual understanding and fulfilment. At The House Partnership we have years of experience in helping people to put their relationships back on the right track together, or developing the courage to move on from unions that are simply no longer working.

Relationship counselling didn’t really exist until after the Second World War. Until that time, all counselling work was carried out with individuals, and relationships were only considered relevant in terms a Freudian consideration of their past impact on the person’s development.

We all experience difficulties in relationships with family, friends, and partners

The movement towards considering the important role of relationships with family, friends and lovers in our emotional well-being can be considered as beginning with the research of Gregory Bateson (husband of the distinguished cultural anthropologist Margaret Mead) in California in the 1950s. He was interested in communication processes in families and led a research team looking into the effect of the family system on people diagnosed with Schizophrenia.

The Double Bind Hypothesis

He developed the ‘Double Bind Hypothesis’ in which he proposed that Schizophrenia was a learned confusion in thinking stimulated by emotionally distressing communications with family in which they receive two or more conflicting messages, in which one message negates the other. This was followed by Brown’s theory of ‘Expressed Emotion’ in the early 1960s which proposed a negative impact of high emotional expression in close relationships upon the prognosis of people recovering from mental illness.

Since this time of course we have learned much more about the biological basis of conditions such as psychosis and the concept of the ‘Schizophregenic Mother’ has fallen out of favour not only because of a lack of firm evidence for it, but also because of the blame that this can tend to place on the family members of those who are struggling with their emotional health.

Modern relationship counselling–although in debt to figures like Bateson and Brown for their acknowledgement of the importance of relationships in our lives–in no way seeks to place blame or pin a cause for problems upon any individual or group.

The emphasis rather is on identifying the negative cycle particular to the relationship, which is often bidirectional pattern of action and reaction. Relationship counsellors create a space free from judgement in which the members of a relationship can form a confidential dialogue, being enabled to be heard and to hear themselves. The counsellor provides a mirror with expertise to reflect the relationship’s difficulties and allow its participants to understand the potential and direction for change.

The House Partnership, 11th June 2015


Intimate like porcupines

Elizabeth Gilbert-author of Eat, Pray, Love-talks about Schopenhauer's theory about intimacy and relationships and why people are like porcupines. Relationship counselling provides a safe space in which to work through difficulties together.

Love springs eternal ~ Long lasting relationships

Some relationships last a lifetime, where others are intense but short-lived. Psychology research is revealing the types of love unique to each kind of union, and the elements that may re-ignite a fading spark of attraction.

Are the smiley more lucky in love?

It has long been known that people's varying levels of emotionality lead to different responses in behaviour, but a group of psychologists in America have found an intriguing relationship between smile intensity in yearbook photos and subsequent marital harmony.

What's love got to do with it?

Is it possible to predict which marriages are likely to succeed by looking at the love present in courtship at the start? Leading US social psychologist and relationship researcher Professor Ted Huston has spent much of his professional life on this question.