Relate Family Counselling
What is The Relate Family Counselling Service?
The Relate Family Counselling Service uses a systemic approach because this focuses on the way people live their lives together. All Relate counsellors have had specific training on LGBT issues via their ongoing professional development programmes. At Relate we strive to ensure that our services are accessible and relevant for the whole community and work closely with trainers and other specialist organisations to ensure that our counsellors remain aware and knowledgeable regarding the issues people face.
A Systemic Approach:
- Explores the network of significant relationships within which people are involved.
- It moves away from internal processes to interpersonal relationships.
- It is interested in the invitations people make to one another in communication.
- It explores patterns at the level of beliefs and actions and sees behaviour in context, which gives it meaning.
- It focuses on the resourcefulness of clients to create alternative stories and more useful accounts, interactions and behaviour, moving away from problem talk.
- It attempts to create a context in which the voice of the child can be heard.
- It pays attention to and challenges dominant discourses
Counsellors are equipped to work with the following client groups:
1. Family members – by family we mean any group of people who describe themselves as a family.
3. Sibling groups – children or adult.
4. Extended family members – grandparents, aunts, uncles etc
5. Blended families.
The counsellors are equipped to work with the following relational issues:
1. Parents and children who struggle to communicate effectively.
2. Parents whose different ideas and practices around parenting cause friction in the couple and family relationships.
3. Adult siblings who have unresolved issues affecting their relationships.
4. Children / young people who are struggling with sibling or other significant relationships.
5. Blended families coping with bringing together differences in discipline and expectations into a ‘new’ family.
6. Family members who are recovering from the influence of any form of domestic violence or abuse in the past which continues to affect their lives and relationships.
The focus of all of this work is relational.
The following can be contra-indicators for family counselling:
1. Family breakdown as a result of any form of violence or abuse directed at any member of the family which is currently the subject of a child protection investigation or legal proceedings.
2. Families where domestic violence or abuse persists.
3. Families where a psychiatric or psychological assessment or diagnosis is required by a third party.
4. Families where reports are required by third parties for criminal legal proceedings, custody cases, assessments of parenting, care proceedings etc.
5. Families where mental illness, alcohol or drug dependency requiring specialist intervention may represent an inappropriate referral. On-going work may be possible if client/s are accessing support from an appropriate agency and/or health professional. Attention should be given to ensure that services do not overlap and therefore create difficulty or confusion for client/s.
The First Step
If someone is interested in family counselling then they will be offered a Family Counselling assessment appointment with the family counsellor. This appointment last up to 1 hour. The assessment appointment is an opportunity to see if the service is the right one for them and their family at this time. If it is not the right service we will do our best to signpost them to the service that best meets their needs.
The structure of the counselling sessions and who is attending is discussed between the client and counsellor. Some sessions may just be for individuals or two people and other sessions may include all the family members who are part of their family. We may offer sessions for children, without other family members present, but this will be as part of the overall family counselling service. Each counselling session last up to 1 hour.
Family Counselling and Family Therapy.
An important distinction is to be made between Family Counselling and Family Therapy.
Family Therapy is usually offered in Child and Adolescent Mental Health (CAMHS) Clinics by a multi disciplinary team. This may include psychiatrists, psychologists, community psychiatric nurses, social workers, family therapists, child psychotherapists and others. The Family Therapists will have completed 4 years of training, which equips them to work in this specialist setting.
This group of professionals can make a range of assessments including psychiatric and psychological diagnoses, which could be required for external organisations such as Social Service Departments, the legal arena etc.
Family Counselling is a service provided by Relate counsellors who have completed training in Systemic Therapy. They are certificated and experienced counsellors. The focus of work will be relational and look at communication problems between people, but will not involve any diagnoses or assessments. The work is largely preventative, dealing with life issues before they become serious problems requiring specialist interventions. We aim to work with people to improve their relationships and communication.
“Without your help I really do not know how I would have coped in the last 4 months. You’ve helped to rebuild my life and flush out the demons and be strong again. Thank you….”
“A wonderful service and it has changed my life.”
“The counselling has really helped me and my ex partner. I have been able to resolve issues amicably as a result. I finished the counselling a while ago and I am still using the strategies my counsellor taught me to help me and my ex to communicate. The practical parenting advice was a godsend in helping me to support my children.”
I’ve learnt to vent my feelings in different ways instead of getting angry all the time
I’m able to cope with big things now
I’m a lot happier in myself now I have talked about confidential things I couldn’t tell other people
More focus on school now
I have learnt to talk to my Mum about my problems
I trust people around me more.
You have changed my life!
A lot less stressed and not getting angry as much as I used to
Self esteem has gone up. Feeling happier.
I can now deal with situations better. I’m maturing.
I’ve become more confident in coming to school
More settled at home with Dad and new partner
My behaviour has improved
Feel on top of everything now
“I found the sessions were comfortable and I felt welcomed and at ease with the staff whom I came into contact with. The sessions have helped me to refocus and recognise things within my relationships and have helped me cope better with issues that arise.”
“When I first arrived at Relate I was very insecure and depressed about my family relationship. Coming to see ****** the counsellor with her warmth has built my confidence and it has also grown. This has had a huge effect on the whole of my life. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.”