Have you had relationship difficulties? Have they affected your day to day life? Would you like more intimacy and passion with your sexual partner? Has it affected others outside the relationship? Here is some useful information you will find helpful.

What are Relationship Difficulties?

Relationships are a very meaningful part of our lives, and can bring us a great deal of happiness and fulfilment. Strong connections with our loved ones, friends and work colleagues allow us to be at our healthiest and most productive, and for many these relationships offer an important source of advice, guidance, love and support. 

However, fulfilling and supportive relationships don’t come automatically, and they require good social skills and a great deal of time and energy to stay strong and go the distance. Sometimes meaningful connections break down, which can leave people feeling lonely, disappointed and unsure of what to do. In some cases, our relationships may not be fulfilling our expectations, which can impact our happiness and life satisfaction. On the other hand, some people may crave close friendships and/or romantic relationships but find them very difficult to come by.

Whatever the relationship issue, there is help available in the form of relationship counselling. In this setting a counsellor will work with couples or individuals to explore their needs and what they want from their relationships, while offering support and advice to help them get their relationship(s) back on track.

Relationship issues vary considerably, depending on the nature of the relationship and the circumstances that have led to problems. A relationship counsellor will work with a wide range of couples and individuals who are experiencing difficulties, and below is a brief exploration of the most common types of relationship issues that are addressed in counselling. 

Affairs and Betrayals 

Betraying your spouse or a close friend can cause a great deal of damage to your relationship, as it destroys all sense of trust. Whether it’s an affair, financial secrets or a hidden addiction, betrayal can be very painful and in some cases leads to the end of the relationship. However, a great number of people will want to work through a betrayal in order to overcome the pain and rebuild the relationship. 

Separation and Divorce 

Sometimes couples will decide to separate or divorce without taking into account the practicalities or whether the relationship could be saved. Separation counselling provides an opportunity for a breakup to be explored before a final decision is made – helping couples to get closure and move forward in a way that is healthy for their individual needs. 

Pre-Nuptial Issues

Some couples seek extra support and advice on how to prepare themselves should the relationship break down or encounter difficulties in the future. Relationships are naturally full of ups and downs, so pre-nuptial counselling can help couples to be aware of certain stressors they may encounter in different stages of the relationship (i.e. following the birth of a child). 

Family Issues 

Our relationships with family members form an integral part of our lives, and when these become strained it can cause a lot of pain and disappointment. In some cases, it may just be one family member that is causing a rift, or relationship issues may have built up over time and have never properly been addressed. Family counselling provides a safe and supportive environment where family members can communicate openly and listen to each other.  

Cross-Cultural Relationships

Relationships involve two people coming together from different backgrounds to build a new unit. While for many this process is relatively straightforward, for others their differences can be too prominent to come to a compromise. Counselling helps couples to better understand each other’s beliefs and values in order to move forward with the relationship in a way that blends differences in a healthy way.

Who Does It Effect?

Relationship difficulties can affect anyone at any point in their life regardless of age, gender, race or religion. Most commonly those in sexual relationships such as marriages & couples seem to have the most relationship difficulties. However, there are many different relationship types that can prove difficult.

You can have relationship difficulties with members of your family, i.e. siblings or even parents. This could be for children who feel they are neglected by their parents or carers. Maybe it’s the parents who feel their child does not love them.

More commonly the relationship difficulties stem from break ups between couples/marriages. This could be for many reasons such as affairs, divorces, or just falling out of love. It may affect one partner more than the other and that’s where it becomes more difficult.

Facts & Statistics

  • Roughly 3,000 couples in the US get divorced each day – well over 1 million per year.
  • 20-25% of these people are divorcing for the second or even the third time.
  • 50% of all divorcing couples have children under the age of 18;
  • 12 million in the US families were headed by a single parent during 2000.
  • 1 out of 3 UK children do not live with both parents.
  • 17% of all children in the US will suffer a divorcein 2016.
  • You can’t Divorce Yourself. If you don’t learn from your Divorce you will more likely be unhappy in future relationships as well.
  • Second marriages will end 23% sooner than first marriages.
  • Third marriages will end 43% sooner than first marriages.
  • The Divorce rate after the third marriage approaches a familiar inevitability.
  • The number of marriages taking place in England and Wales per year has been in decline since the early 70s, decreasing from 404,734 in 1971 to just 232,443 in 2009. (Source: Office for National Statistics, 2012)
  • This decline is also reflected in the proportion of the population getting married. In England and Wales in 2010, only 21.8 men in every 1000 of the eligible population got married compared to 60.4 men in 1980.  For women, the proportion reduced from 48.1 women in every 1000 in 1980, to 19.8 women in every 1000 in 2010. (Source: ONS, 2012)
  • Despite this drop, marriage remains popular in England and Wales and it is still the most common form of partnership. About two thirds of people aged over 20 were thought to be living as a married couple in 2007. (Source: ONS, 2011)
  • People are waiting until later in life to get married. In 1970 in England and Wales, on average women married at the age of 22.0, and men at 24.1. This had risen to 30.8 for women and 33.4 for men by 2009. (Source: ONS, 2011)
  • This delay in marriage may be due to couples choosing to live together rather than marry. The number of couples cohabiting has nearly doubled over the past seven years. In 2004, there were approximately 142,300 cohabiting couples in England and Wales. This had risen to approximately 285,300 in 2011. (Source: ONS, 2011)
  • Many couples who cohabit still eventually marry in the long-term however.  After 10 years of living together, half have married, 40% have split up, and only 10% continue to cohabit.  (Source: Centre for Population Change, 2011)The AOC/19983
  • The number of civil partnerships between same-sex couples have reduced and levelled off since the high levels of uptake that followed the 2005 legislative changes introducing it (ONS, 2010), though figures from last year indicated an increase of 6.4% from 2010 (6, 795 partnerships; ONS, 2012).
  • Attitudes towards cohabitation in the UK are becoming steadily more positive: in 1989, 71% of survey respondents thought that couples wanting children ought to get married.  By 2002 this had dropped to 51%. (Source: British Social Attitudes Survey, 1989-2002)
  • Stepfamilies are one of the fastest growing family forms: 40% of all marriages are remarriages for one or both partners. (Source: ONS, 2011)

Examples of People Who have or Experienced Relationship Difficulties

“A Marriage Counselling Success Story”Dana Vince – Mentalhelp.net



“The Blame Game”Sarah Zadok – Chabad.org



“Problems in Life”Anonymous – somazone.com



“I have relationship Problems”Nikola – experienceproject.com



“I struggling with my relationship with my motherAnonymous – experiencedproject.com

The AOC/2091

How Can it be Treated?

The AoC can help with relationships if you are having difficulties. We are HCPC (Health & Care Professions Council) registered and also members of BACP (The British Association of Dramatherapists). We have a team of highly skilled, professional counsellors and associate therapists to help you through with the use of creative art therapies.

 Creative art therapies involve using arts in a therapeutic environment with a trained therapist. You do not need to have any artistic skill or previous experience of dance, drama, music or visual art to find arts therapies helpful. The aim isn’t to produce a great work of art, but to use what you create to understand yourself better. In arts therapy, your therapist helps you to create something — such as a piece of music, a drawing, a play or a dance routine — as a way of expressing your feelings, often without using words.

 Creative art therapies can be offered in group sessions, one-to-one or with family therapy depending on your own preference. We will match you to our best suited therapist/counsellor to help you with any of your issues. All our counselling is strictly confidential and nothing said in the therapy space will leave the room.

 There are many different modalities in which creative arts can be offered to you ranging from the following;

Offers profound reflection on who we are and the roles we play. These art forms are also centrally concerned with how people change people, for better or worse, and the sort of connections they make with each other, e.g. superficial, conflictual, brutal, deadened or deeply enriching. Drama and puppetry can also offer vital insights into ‘situation’: how past situations are still colouring those in the present. Working with puppets is ideal for circumventing a reluctance to speak about feelings.

Sculpture offers a person the power to speak through touch. Its power lies more in the emotional resonance of substance. Sculpture invites a sensual engagement with the world. Clay expresses qualities and forms of feeling, directly, plainly, free of the clutter of any associations of the everyday.

Literal words can misrepresent, underplay, hide rather than reveal and frequently offering only approximations to any recalled experience. In poetry as a multi-sensorial form, ‘amplifies the music of what happens’ (Seamus Heaney). ‘A poetic basis of mind’ (Hillman) can lead to a far more profound experience of life.

Clients choose from a whole world of miniature people, animals and buildings and arrange them in the controlled space of the ‘theatre of the sandbox’. This theatre then offers a profound overview of important life issues. Once feelings are organised and externalised in sandplay, they can be contemplated from a distance, and then assimilated.

The dynamic forms in music are recognisable as vital forms of felt life: the rises and falls, the surges and flooding’s, the tensions and intensities, the changes in tempo, the dissonances, harmonies and resolutions. We know these forms intimately in our emotional experiencing. Music can convey the full qualitative and energetic aspects of an important relationship, atmosphere crucial event, or ongoing situation.

Forms encapture the complex inter-relations between time, weight, space, flow. We know these forms intimately in our emotional experiencing, so much so that both movement and still pose can provoke all manner of resonance. It is also possible to work with what the body is already communicating symbolically, whether through posture, gesture and gait, or through illness and injury. Movement is integral to the very process of change.


 If you would like to receive counselling from The AOC please fill out on of our online referral forms and send to support@theaoc.org.uk You will have a choice of 3 different types of referral forms;

  1. For individuals or couples
  2. Family referral form
  3. Group referral form

Please select the referral form most suited to you i.e. if you would like group therapy, fill out the group referral form.

Simply click the following link to find out more information and complete one of our referral forms:


We provide our clients with high-quality, evidence based expertise in the form of personal therapy and counselling. To help anyone suffering with any type of eating disorder.

Here is an example of a creative art therapy from The AOC in more detail;


Dramatherapy is a form of psychological therapy/psychotherapy in which all of the performance arts are utilised within the therapeutic relationship. Dramatherapy addresses a wide range of personal and emotional difficulties. Clients who are referred to a dramatherapist do not need to have previous experience or skill in acting, theatre or drama. Dramatherapists are trained to enable clients to find the most suitable medium for them to engage in group or individual therapy to address and resolve, or make troubling issues more bearable. Dramatherapists work in a wide variety of settings with people of all ages:

  • in schools
  • in mental health
  • in general health and social care settings
  • in prisons
  • in hospices
  • in the voluntary sector
  • in private practice

Dramatherapists are both artists and clinicians and draw on their trainings in theatre, drama and therapy to create methods to engage clients in effecting psychological, emotional and social changes.  The therapy gives equal validity to body and mind within the dramatic context; stories, myths, play-texts, puppetry, masks and improvisation are examples of the range of artistic interventions a dramatherapist may employ.  These will enable the client to explore difficult and painful life experiences through a creative-expressive approach. Dramatherapists are trained in both psychological and arts-specific assessment and evaluation techniques. They are committed to generating practice-based evidence and deliver sound evidence-based practice.

The British Association of Dramatherapists (BADth)


We can also offer our clients integrative counselling;

Integrative Counselling

Integrative therapy, or integrative counselling is a combined approach to psychotherapy that brings together different elements of specific therapies. Integrative therapists take the view that there is no single approach that can treat each client in all situations. Each person needs to be considered as a whole and counselling techniques must be tailored to their individual needs and personal circumstances. 

Integrative counselling maintains the idea that there are many ways in which human psychology can be explored and understood – no one theory holds the answer. All theories are considered to have value, even if their foundational principles contradict each other – hence the need to integrate them. 

The integrative approach also refers to the infusion of a person’s personality and needs – integrating the affective, behavioural, cognitive, and physiological systems within one person, as well as addressing social and spiritual aspects. Essentially, integrative counsellors are not only concerned with what works, but why it works – tailoring therapy to their clients and not the client to the therapy.

Top Health Tips

  1. Communicate – Let the person you are having difficulties with know, and try to work out how you can overcome this by speaking calmly.
  2. Decide if you have a problem or a difference – If an issue isn’t threatening your health, safety, or financial security, doesn’t work against your shared vision for your marriage, and doesn’t put an unfair burden on you, then it may simply be a sign that the two of you are two different people. Perhaps you’re an extrovert and love parties, while your partner’s introvert personality makes him or her crave quiet nights at home. Perhaps you’re great at starting projects, while your partner’s terrific at sticking with it until every last detail is finished. Or maybe one of you is a morning person, the other a night owl. In that case, the solution is acceptance, not trying to change your partner. Look for the ways that your differences are marriage-strengthening assets.
  3. Take time outs – Take breaks from each other, if you feel yourself getting annoyed or stressed out take a time out and have some time to yourself until you are calm again.
  4. Seek advice – Look for others who have shared stories about their relationship difficulties and how they overcome them.
  5. Be patient – Be patient with yourself and the person you have difficulties with. Nothing will just change overnight, you have to work hard to achieve a good, healthy relationship.
  6. Contact us – The AOC can help your overcome and put a stop to the sexual abuse you may be experiencing/experienced. Call or email us: 01384 211 168 / support@theaoc.org.uk