Relationships are hard. Miscommunication, insecurity, infidelity, anger, power imbalances, and resentment are just some of the issues that can poison a once-happy relationship. Many couples who encounter these issues simply throw in the towel and end what could have been a beautiful relationship. Others continue to engage in the same draining patterns for years until both partners are miserable.

If you're experiencing any of these challenges, couples counselling can help. Couples counselling works on two levels: (1) by addressing communication and present day issues, and (2) by letting go of burdens that have accumulated from the past.

The first order of business in couples counselling is to address ineffective patterns of communication. Blaming, placating, and avoiding need to be replaced with honest, straightforward, and vulnerable communication. Having a therapist teach you new skills for communicating and then acting as a "referee" while you practice applying them to real life situations can be extremely helpful.

The second, deeper aspect of couples counselling is to address past burdens that have accumulated in the relationship. Once a couple can communicate effectively, it may be necessary to face and let go of past hurts, such as infidelity, secrets, hurtful words, or even physical abuse. This is difficult work, but with the proper foundation in place it is entirely possible.

In some cases, improving communication and addressing day-to-day issues is sufficient to help a couple regain their original love for each other. In others, it may be necessary to face and address past burdens. Both are possible, and it's up to both members of the couple to decide what approach is best for them.