Many couples and individuals are aware they might benefit from counselling long before they attend. It can be a very difficult decision to make to seek counselling. Arranging an appointment for counselling is actually naming the fact that your relationship is experiencing difficulties and that can be a very difficult reality for many couples and individuals. However once a decision is made it can be a great relief for couples and individuals and many report to counsellors when they attend their first session that once they made the appointment they felt their relationship did not seem to be as difficult as before the decision to attend was made.

ACCORD recommends that couples and individuals come for counselling sooner rather than later. When problems and difficulties exist over a long period of time, attitudes can harden, hurts experienced can be very deep and extensive and in such situations it can be difficult (not impossible) for couples to listen to one another, acknowledge behaviours and their impact , accept apologies and be open to moving beyond the difficulties. Couples attending counselling in the earlier stages of difficulties can find it easier to listen to one another and be open to moving beyond the difficulties.

Once one person in a relationship is experiencing a difficulty then it is a relationship issue. Sometimes an individual may raise an issue with their spouse/partner for example, one individual is rarely at home in their time off work due to a combination of hobbies and social activity and when the other raises it they can be met with a response such as “that’s your problem”. Similarly if one person’s spending pattern takes no account of the couple’s budget and financial responsibilities, the other raises it and receives a similar response “that’s your problem”. Both of these difficulties are most definitely relationship issues. Their resolution will come about by both spouses/partners listening, taking the others experience and views on board, perhaps compromising and coming to an agreement on how to manage these issues in the future.

Individuals and couples come to ACCORD with a range of problems that couples and individuals present with. Some of the areas that can be problematic for couples are communication, conflict, abusive behaviours, sexual issues, finances, infidelity, home management, children, extended family , behaviours such as alcohol use, drug use, use of the internet, viewing pornography. Other issues that can impact on relationships are when individuals experience a major loss in life whether it’s through being bereaved, loss of health, loss of job, or loss of financial or social status. Individuals’ mental health can also impact significantly on relationships. When individuals are under stress, depressed, experiencing anxiety all of this situations impact on relationships and can making getting on together a s a couple more difficult

One individual in the relationship can be more eager to attend and the other resistant. When couples attend for counselling initially one can be relieved to be there and the other may feel quite resistant. This is quite normal and to be expected and more often than not the resistant partner, if they continue to attend, can also experience the benefits of a safe place to express their feelings, be listened to, explore their difficulties and work to resolve them.

Individuals can also come to ACCORD for counselling if they are experiencing difficulties in their relationship and their spouse/partner is not willing to attend. Counselling can be beneficial in these situations as the person attending counselling can use the space and support in counselling to make decisions about the best way forward for themselves.

ACCORD sees individuals and couples of all ages, from 18-80. Couples and individuals should feel free to come to ACCORD for counselling whatever age they are once they are over 18. We work with couples who have been together a short time, to those who are engaged, to those who were together and broke up for a while, to those are together a long number of years.

ACCORD’s counselling service is based on couples and individual needs and not on their ability to pay. ACCORD welcomes voluntary donations from all those who attend in order to be able to provide a counselling service. Lack of finance will not prevent couples or individuals from being able to avail of ACCORD’s counselling service.