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Recent Articles

Our counsellors provide you with a range of informative articles which we hope you will find helpful. If you are looking for something more specific then please visit the category area at the bottom of this page.

How to Improve Communication with Your Partner

It is well known that communication is the foundation of any strong relationship. When partners can communicate effectively, they are better able to understand each other, resolve conflict, and build intimacy.

However, communication can be difficult, especially when partners have different communication styles or when they are dealing with conflict. If you’re looking to improve communication with your partner, here are some tips:

  • Understand your own communication style. What is your natural way of communicating? Are you direct or indirect? Do you prefer to talk about your feelings or do you tend to bottle things up?
  • Learn your partner’s communication style. How does your partner prefer to communicate? Are they direct or indirect? Do they like to talk about their feelings or do they prefer to avoid conflict?
  • Find a common ground. Once you understand your own and your partner’s communication styles, you can start to find a common ground. This means finding ways to communicate that work for both of you. Think about how your different, or even similar communication styles might keep you stuck? Speak to your partner about the differences in your communication styles and think together about how you can move past any blocks these may create.
  • Be respectful. Even if you disagree with your partner, it’s important to be respectful of their opinions and feelings. This means avoiding name-calling, insults, and other forms of verbal abuse.
  • Be present. When you’re communicating with your partner, avoid distractions such as your phone or the TV. Make eye contact and give them your full attention so they know you are listening.
  • Listen actively. Pay attention to what your partner is saying, both verbally and non-verbally. If you are unsure, ask questions to clarify what they’re saying. You can check you understand by reflecting back what you’ve heard to make sure you understand. This will show genuine interest in and concern for your partners needs.
  • Use “I” statements. “I” statements are a way of communicating that helps to avoid blaming or accusing your partner. Instead of saying “You always do this,” try saying “I feel hurt when you do that.”
  • Be open to feedback. If your partner gives you feedback, try to listen without getting defensive. Ask them to explain what they mean and how you can improve your communication. Be willing to make changes based on their feedback. If the feedback is difficult to hear ask for 5 minutes out to gather your thoughts and process what is going on for you before resuming the conversation.
  • Be willing to compromise. No two people are exactly alike, so it’s important to be willing to compromise. This doesn’t mean giving up on your own needs, but it does mean being willing to meet your partner halfway.
  • Seek professional help if needed. If you’re struggling to improve your communication, don’t be afraid to seek professional help. A therapist can help you learn new communication skills and resolve any underlying issues.

Improving communication with your partner takes time and effort, but it’s worth it. When you can communicate effectively, you’ll build a stronger, more fulfilling relationship.

If you are looking for a therapist to support you and your partner then you will find one here on our UK Counsellors Directory, Click here to search.

Image of a brick wall with the words 'growing concerns' written on it. Credit for image:

5 Common Concerns About Therapy and How to Address Them

If you’re thinking about therapy, you’re not alone. Millions of people seek therapy each year to help them with a variety of mental health issues, including anxiety, depression, and stress. But what if you’re not sure if therapy is right for you? Or, if you are sure that therapy is right for you, but you have concerns about the cost, effectiveness, communication, privacy, or accessibility of therapy?

Here are five common concerns about therapy and how to address them:

1. Cost

Cost is probably the number one barrier to people accessing the therapy that is best for them, i.e. the service they would choose if money wasn’t a barrier. Some people struggle to even comprehend being able to afford therapy at all, especially in the midst of a cost of living crisis.

Suggestion: mention any concerns you have about what you can or can’t afford at the very first point of contact with any potential therapist. Be clear about your needs are and what is manageable for you. All therapists should be willing to address this directly with you. If the therapist can not offer therapy at a price that works for you then they should at least acknowledge this and/or suggest some other therapists/organisations who might suit your budget. They may also have a sliding scale which they could offer you, or they might come to an agreement with you. For example, if you’ve recently been made redundant then they might offer you a reduced rate until you find another job and can afford to pay their higher fee. No therapist should shy away from talking openly about money. If you can’t afford therapy at all, which many people can’t, then you do have some options. You can access Talking Therapies via the NHS – your GP surgery will have details on how to access you local service. There are often local charities who offer therapy, such as Rape Crisis Centres and MIND (although waiting lists can be long), and there is the Free Therapy Network who may be able to help.

2. Effectiveness of therapy

“Will it work?” is a question many people ask themselves when looking for a new therapist. It is, after all, an often expensive investment to make for yourself.

Suggestion: talk to your therapist about what your expectations are and what you aim to achieve from therapy, what your goals are. You should feel comfortable enough with any therapist (it’s the therapists job to ensure you feel comfortable!) to raise any concerns you have. Your therapist should listen to your concerns and help you to move forward in a way that is best for you. Ask your therapist if you can try a few sessions to see if they are a good fit before you ‘commit’ to the process. You can also ask how they will support you to move on if you don’t feel they are the right therapist for you. Remember a therapist should always work with your best interests in mind, and if they’re not the right person for you then they should be open to supporting you to find someone who is.

3. Communication

It’s not uncommon for us to hear from clients about contacting potential therapists who they never hear back from, not even so much as an acknowledgment of their email! We believe this is poor practice. Even if a therapist has no availability, they should never ignore it when anyone reaches out to them.

Suggestion: in your initial email you could consider writing something similar to the following: ‘I have been struggling to find a therapist, and many have not responded to me. If you have no availability, I would appreciate it if you could make any suggestions about what my next steps might be. Thank you.’ We know this is frustrating, but it may help.

4. Privacy and confidentiality

Understandably, many people worry about the privacy and confidentiality of their therapy sessions. As a rule of thumb EVERYTHING you tell your therapist should be confidential with a few exceptions. Firstly, all UK based therapists will usually tell you that they might have to disclose what you tell them if they believe you or someone else is at real risk of harm. This shouldn’t involve talking about suicidal thoughts/feelings or even about self harm – you should have somewhere safe to explore those thoughts and feelings – but only if you intended to act on it. This would also apply to information shared about any child being harmed. Aside from this, all therapists should receive clinical supervision to ensure they are working safely and ethically and so they may speak to their supervisor about your work together. Aside from these two reasons, therapists should never talk to anyone about you unless you ask them to. For example, you asked them to write a letter for support for a disability benefit. If a therapist ever did feel they needed to break your confidence then they should, when possible, speak to you first before they do so.

Suggestion: if you have concerns about this then ask your therapist what their policies are about privacy and confidentiality and to give some examples of how they will protect your personal information. Most therapists will have a ‘client contact’ which covers this which you can ask to see before you meet with them. Also, feel free to ask your therapist how your information is protected should they be using third part Apps.

5. Accessibility

Many clients experience difficulties accessing the therapy services they need. This can be due to many factors regarding the suitability of a therapist. For therapy to work for you, it is important that you find a therapist who best ‘fits’ your needs, and all therapists should be open to talking with you about this. It is okay to seek out a therapist who is Black, Gay, Trans, working class, disabled, etc. It is acceptable to want to work with someone who understands your culture, background, sexuality, etc. and who you think will be able to relate to your personal circumstances best. It is okay to want a therapist who ‘gets’ your social and political needs as well as your emotional ones. After all, the two are often intertwined. Other factors relating to accessibility include cost, disability and lack of availability when living in rural or remote areas.

Suggestion: be open from the first contact with any potential therapist about what you require from therapy. Any therapist should be comfortable discussing this openly with you and be able to provide suggestions on where to go next if YOU decide they are not the best option for you.

Therapy can be a valuable tool for improving your mental health and well-being. If you’re struggling, don’t hesitate to reach out for help.

Here are some additional tips for addressing your concerns about therapy:

  • Do your research. There are many different types of therapy, so it’s important to do some research to find a therapist who is a good fit for you. Our article ‘How to choose a therapist’ can help.
  • Ask questions. Once you’ve found a therapist, don’t be afraid to ask questions. Ask about their experience, their qualifications, their approach to therapy, and their fees. You should feel comfortable talking about your concerns with your therapist.
  • Trust your gut. If you’re not comfortable with a therapist, it’s okay to find someone else. Therapy is a personal journey, and it’s important to find a therapist who you feel comfortable and safe with.

If you’re struggling, don’t hesitate to reach out to one of our therapists here on the UK Counsellors directory – click here to find a therapist who is suitable for you.

Remember, you’re not alone. Millions of people seek therapy each year, and it can be a valuable tool for improving your mental health and well-being.

How to Overcome a Panic Attack

Panic attacks are more common than you might realise and can be very distressing regardless of it being a first attack, or one of many. They involve sudden and intense episodes of fear that can cause a variety of physical symptoms, such as a racing heart, shortness of breath, chest pain, dizziness, and sweating. They can be very frightening and can make people feel like they are going to die or lose control.

If you have had a panic attack, you may be wondering how to prevent them from happening again. There are a number of things you can do to manage panic attacks and reduce your risk of having another one.

Here are some tips:

  • Learn about panic attacks. The more you know about panic attacks, the less scary they will seem. There are many resources available to help you learn about panic attacks, including books, websites, and support groups (see the list below).
  • Identify your triggers. Once you know what triggers your panic attacks, you can start to avoid them or develop coping mechanisms for dealing with them. Common triggers include stress, caffeine, alcohol, and certain medications.
  • Practice relaxation techniques. Although not suitable for everyone, relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing and meditation, can help to reduce anxiety and prevent panic attacks for some people. There are many different relaxation techniques available, so find one that works for you and practice it regularly.
  • Get professional help. If you are struggling to manage your panic attacks on your own, it is important to seek professional help. A therapist can work with you to help you find the best and most effective coping skills for you.

Here are some UK based organisations who help with anxiety:

  • Anxiety UK is a charity that provides information and support to people who suffer from anxiety. They offer a helpline, a website, and a range of other resources.
  • Mind is a mental health charity that provides information and support to people with a range of mental health conditions, including anxiety. They offer a helpline, a website, and a range of other resources.
  • No Panic is a charity that provides support to people with panic attacks and agoraphobia. They offer a helpline, a website, and a range of other resources.

Remember, you are not alone. Panic attacks are relatively common, and there is help available. If you are struggling, please reach out for support. You can find a suitable counsellor here via our UK Counsellors Directory.

How to Manage Conflict in a Relationship

Conflict is a natural part of any relationship. It can be caused by a variety of things, such as different values, goals, or ways of doing things. While conflict can be difficult to deal with, it can also be an opportunity to learn more about your partner and grow closer as a couple.

Here are some tips for managing conflict in a relationship:

  1. Choose the right time to talk. Don’t try to have a difficult conversation when you’re both tired, stressed, or angry. Wait until you’re both calm and able to focus on the issue at hand.
  2. Listen to each other’s point of view. Really try to understand where your partner is coming from. Don’t just listen to respond; listen to understand.
  3. Avoid name-calling and insults. It’s important to stay respectful, even when you’re angry. Name-calling and insults will only make the situation worse.
  4. Focus on the issue, not the person. It’s easy to get caught up in the heat of the moment and for an argument to follow. But it’s important to remember that the issue is not about who is right or wrong; it’s about finding a solution that works for both of you.
  5. Be willing to compromise. No one is going to get everything they want in every situation. Be willing to compromise in order to find a solution that both of you can live with.
  6. Seek professional help if needed. If you’re unable to resolve the conflict on your own, don’t be afraid to seek professional help. A therapist can help you and your partner learn how to communicate more effectively and resolve conflict in a healthy way. You can search for a relationship counsellor here on our counselling database.

We understand that conflict is never easy, but we also know that it doesn’t have to be destructive. By following these tips, you can learn to manage conflict in a way that strengthens your relationship.

Image shows a couple holding hands over a cup of coffee, taken from:

Here are some additional tips for managing conflict in a relationship:

  • Take a break. If you’re feeling overwhelmed or angry, it’s okay to take a break from the conversation. Go for a walk, take a few deep breaths, or do something else to calm down. Once you’ve had a chance to cool off, you can come back to the conversation with a clearer head. Make sure that you explain to your partner that this is what you are doing and that you are not ‘walking away from them’. This way they know you will return to the conversation once you feel able to do so.
  • Be specific. When you’re expressing your concerns, be as specific as possible. Don’t just say, “You never help out around the house.” Instead, say something like, “I feel overwhelmed when I come home from work and the house is a mess. I would really appreciate it if you could help me out with the dishes and laundry.” This make take some practice, and that is okay.
  • Be open to feedback. Just as you’re sharing your concerns, be open to hearing your partner’s concerns. Don’t just listen to respond; really listen to what they have to say.
  • Be willing to change. If you’re both willing to change, you’ll be more likely to resolve the conflict. Be willing to compromise and meet your partner halfway.

REMEMBER: Conflict is a normal part of any relationship. But by following these tips, you can learn to manage conflict in a way that both strengthens and deepens your relationship.

Who are we?

UK Counsellors Directory is run by qualified and experienced counsellors from Counsellors Together UK (CTUK). CTUK is the UK's largest counsellors campaign group with almost 8,000 members. Our main aim is to work together to end the culture and prevalence of unpaid work within our profession. We are also the founder of the UK's National Counsellors' Day.

National Counsellors’ Day

National Counsellors' Day takes place on 22nd June. Our aim is to raise the profile of the counselling profession. We also hold a yearly conference and counselling awards.

Counsellors Together UK

The UK's largest counsellors' campaign group with almost 8,000 members.