Counsellors tell us that sometimes, a relationship that appears to be dwindling simply needs some TLC to get it back on track. Time, effort and a caring attitude can easily end up at the bottom of the ‘to do’ list for those with hectic and demanding lifestyles. Many couples find that the best way through an increasingly distant or contentious relationship is to invest time in your partner by discussing your problems in a third party environment. These days, an increasingly common option chosen by couples in need is family therapy.
Family therapy provides a safe environment in which couples can discuss their issues in the presence of a third party. The mediator is not there to take sides or assert their opinion on your scenario; instead, a mediator works to encourage shared understanding and to help the couple see each other’s side of the story. They are present to keep anger or disputes from bubbling up, and to encourage partners to see ways of moving forward in their relationship.
Meetings tend to last around an hour and are not necessarily just for couples in contentious marriages. Family therapy can be used to address issues between children and parents, parenting issues, family structures and any other issue between different family members. For example, many step-children issues are the subject of family therapy.
In situations where one partner is keen for family therapy and the other is resisting, it is advisable to discuss the best steps forward with a solicitor, who can discuss alternative approaches to encourage the other and the possible options if that does not work.
Where serious issues have arisen, family therapy may not ‘fix’ a marriage but almost always improves the chances of a relatively amicable divorce. Of course, it depends on each couples’ scenario but in all cases of unhappy marriages, it is always advisable to seek third party assistance from a solicitor, mediator or both.
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