Elaine (not her real name) in her mid-20s was in an increasingly volatile relationship with her partner of 3 years. She said ‘We argue every day. We spend about 70% of our teim arguing or not talking. We had separated before but this had a massive effect on our son and having recently become pregnant again, I wanted a way of stopping the cycle of violence’. Chris (not his real name) also in his 20s, felt the problem was a lack of communication. ‘We couldn’t really speak to each other about most things but especially financial difficulties. He felt that money troubles were causing problems and felt they had reached a crisis point. Counselling was seen as the last resort to save their relationship.

Elaine didn’t know where to go so asked her GP and said ‘Marriage Care was free if you needed to be which is why we chose them immediately’. During the 12 sessions of counselling, Elaine found she could talk to her partner without arguing for the first time. ‘We listen to each other, everything is completely different’. Chris liked the relaxed and intimate atmosphere in the counselling room where ‘we could talk freely about things without feeling judged’. As a result of counselling, Elaine says their communication has significantly improved: she now realises there ‘is a pattern to how we argue’ and knows how to break this cycle. Chris ‘listens much more to me’ and she is also more aware of her own behaviour: ‘I understand things about myself that I didn’t know – when I’m being over the top and just having a go at him’. Chris says that counselling helpd him and Elaine ‘understand that they really do need to speak more often’ especially about difficult things like money. It has changed his behaviour ‘rather than thinking she is doing something to upset me, I now look at things from her point of view. I listen more now which I don’t think I did much before’. Without counselling Chris feels they would have split up which would have had huge impact on their children.

£1200 would support Elaine and Chris’ counselling sessions which enabled them to build a secure future together for them and their children.

£2,500 would sponsor initial relationship counselling training for Elaine and Chris’ counsellor.

£500 provides on-going training for their counsellor for a year and £50 covers their counsellor’s monthly supervision session so that their counsellor can continue to be effective in turning people’s relationships around from the brink of separation.

This case study is associated with the charity Marriage Care.