Relationship & Communication Counselling

Creating a constructive communication style is essential to developing and maintaining healthy relationships!


For many individuals, the desire to connect with others in a meaningful, enjoyable or beneficial relationship is a natural basic drive, but for various reasons many find it elusive.

We all have what it takes to develop interesting, productive and highly beneficial relationships with others through the way we communicate. All it takes is learning the skills and developing the tools that will help us get there!

Whether you have experienced previous hurts or rejections, or been raised in an uncaring or hostile environment which has produced fear or rejection or caused you to anticipate hurt, you can let go of unuseful defense mechanisms and relate in a mature and productive way again.

Relationship and Communications counsellors can assist people to unlock the keys to successful relationships and enjoy their lives again.

Avoiding Negative Communication is Important

Negativity within relationships can increase into a cyclical pattern. One part is negative, the partner is negative back and so on. But positive comments can also result in positive comments back. It is trying to break the cycle of negative communication that couples can find hard.  Problems can occur when couples enter long-term cycles of negativity.  Resentment and hurt feelings can accumulate.  Negativity can erode relationships over months and years and it can be hard to move back into positive cycles.  

Build Self Awareness

The first step, the most difficult step for many, is to become aware of your communication and relating methods as they really are. To do this, you must learn to listen to what others say about you, and to observe yourself. The most difficult yet rewarding person to get to know and to understand and empathise with is ourselves. Most of us believe that we know ourselves very well, and certainly better than others know us. Actually, research shows that most of us do not know ourselves, and see ourselves as we wish we were, rather than as we really are. Yet, on some level, we know what we are really like, but just won’t consciously admit to it (while this may be a form of self-preservation, it often hinders rather than helps us grow and change). The traits (behaviours, persona, characteristics) we do not like about ourselves, are often called our shadow side. It has been suggested by some researchers that integrating our shadow side, is essential to our functioning and communicating in a holistic manner.

Self-knowledge cannot be taken for granted, but is the result of several factors, none of which is easily or comfortably achieved. They include:
Willingness to accept and consider others’ evaluations and judgements of us.
Attentiveness to the effects of our behaviour and communications on others and on our lives.
Conscious self-observation and reflection;
Active seeking of criticism and comment from a range of sources.

Even if we choose to conceal or disguise what we know about ourselves, self-knowledge enables us to act out of intention rather than out of habit. Our actions can be more purposeful, more clearly thought out, and more precisely tailored to meet our needs (or perceived needs) at the time. 

Self-evaluation is therefore one of the most difficult of our communication and relationship tasks, and yet it is the most necessary. Until we learn to evaluate our actions and thoughts honestly, we will act out of ignorance. Self-evaluation, in fact, is much more helpful than evaluating the actions and attitude of other people, because it gives you the power and tools to change the only thing over which you really have control - yourself.

Setting the Stage for Change

To begin on our journey toward positive relationships, we might need to work through existing preconceptions such as unrealistic expectations, negativity, subconscious values, and self-defeating beliefs. This may require a deeper level of introspection and self-awareness than we are accustomed to, and can be quite challenging. It is not surprising that most people do not engage in this kind of purposeful reflection until something goes very wrong: an important relationship cracks at the seams; we feel ourselves changing into someone we do not like; we find ourselves becoming increasingly angry, frustrated, negative or depressed; we recognise a pattern of failed or failing relationships. Often, it is only when we hurt (ourselves or those we care about) that we begin the introspective work of establishing a positive context for future relationships.  But it doesn’t have to start there.

A key placed to begin on our journey toward self awareness is examining our own belief system.  If our belief system works well for us, then we will analyse life’s events and process challenges smoothly and find solutions easily.  If our belief system contains negative thoughts such as “I’m never good at relating tactfully”, then we get stuck between unhelpful beliefs and the negative emotions this produces for us. A great way to start looking at what you believe is to ask yourself some questions.  What do I think about my physical appearance?  Use single words to describe yourself.  Now tune in to the emotions you experience when thinking about this. 

Write down what you are feeling. Continue this process trying to identify the beliefs and values, and expectations you hold.

Relationships and Communications Counselling Distance Education Course

This course aims to develop an understanding of the role that communication plays in establishing, building, maintaining and ending relationships.

Duration:        100 Hours (you study at your own pace).


The course is divided into six lessons as follows:

1.         Communication in emerging relationships

2.         Self-awareness & communication goals

3.         Communication patterns in relationships

4.         Influences on relating behaviour

5.         Communication techniques and skills

6.         Maintaining relationships

To learn more or to enrol, click here!

Find out more about Counselling in our "Counselling Handbook" by ACS Staff

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