Relationship Counselling

What is relationship counselling?
Relationship counselling is a confidential process in which individuals or couples are helped to explore their intimate couple relationships, with a view to understanding each other better or parting in a more amicable way. It can help explore recurring patterns in their relationships and understand the impact on their relationship difficulties. It is also a safe place to begin looking at any sexual problems* that may exist. Relationship counsellors are all trained in couple dynamics, so pay particular attention to balancing the perspectives of both partners.

Relationship counselling provides a safe place for individuals and couples to explore the difficulties they are experiencing in their adult couple relationships. It is not necessarily about staying together and can often be about finding the courage to part. People who have experienced relationship counselling invariably say that they have gained valuable insights into the way that they relate with their partners.

Who is it for?
Relationship counselling is for individuals as well as couples – married, living together or apart, in opposite or same sex relationships. All that is required is a readiness to explore the difficulties they are experiencing in their adult couple relationships.

When is it helpful?
Relationship counselling can be helpful at any time if communication becomes difficult or breaks down. This may be:

  • because of an affair
  • as a result of families re-forming, such as stepfamilies
  • after a bereavement or major life-change
  • because of a sexual problem
  • as a result of repeated rows or misunderstandings

Relationship counselling can also help parents cope better with difficulties which are impacting on their children.

How does it work?
Couples can come for relationship counselling either together or individually, although there is a greater chance of success if they come together. Each partner is offered a separate session before their joint couple work begins, to ensure that individual perspectives are taken into account. Once counselling starts, a timescale for the sessions will be agreed between you and the counsellor. The average is 4-8 sessions, each lasting 50 minutes, though there is usually no limit to the number of sessions you can attend.

What about the children?
Relationship counselling is different from family counselling, in that it does not involve children. It can, however, have a big impact on any children in the family and is often sought out for that reason, particularly where families are re-forming after a second marriage. Specialist play therapy and counselling for children and young people are also available. 

Is it confidential?
Yes, our counsellors are bound by a duty of confidentiality, unless circumstances suggest that the issues being discussed may pose a risk to clients or the wider community. Such issues include domestic abuse, child protection, money laundering and terrorism. In all circumstances, care is taken to protect confidentiality and no disclosure will be made without discussing the issues first, unless there is an urgent risk of harm. All our counsellors and therapists work to the ethical standards of the national professional bodies.

Who are the counsellors?
Relationship counsellors are trained to diploma level over a three year period and have to achieve 200 hours of supervised practice before they are eligible for accreditation with Relationships Scotland. All our counsellors work to professional standards and have to go through an annual renewal process to demonstrate that they have met the required standards of supervision and Continuing Professional Development.

Is there a waiting list?
Waiting times vary. Please contact us for information on current waiting times.

Relationships Scotland Orkney do not charge set fees for counselling. However, we do rely on donations and suggest a contribution of £20 per counselling session.

There is no expectation of a donation from clients who are in full-time education or on a low income. Please speak to our Client Liaison Worker if you would like to discuss making a donation. 

Further information
Please click here to download our leaflet on Relationship Counselling.
Please click the links below to view two short films on Relationship Counselling
Couples in Counselling 1
Couples in Counselling 2
Please contact us


* RSO currently does not have a Psychosexual Therapist but we can help to signpost or refer to other services in the Relationships Scotland network. 

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