All relationships go through challenging times -
How you handle those times makes the difference

Is it time to sort things out?

Address the issues in your relationship and get the support, skills and advice to work things through



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St Pancras Relationship Counselling Bristol

couples counselling

Richard Cole.
UKCP Accredited
MSc Psychosexual and Relationship Counselling.TCCR
MA Psychosynthesis Psych
Post Grad Dip Creative Couple Work. Trained in EFT Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy

Relationship Counselling

Are you willing to take an honest look at what is going on in your relationship - no matter what it is - to move towards creating the kind of relationship you want?

There may be a particular issue you wish to sort out or you may just want to communicate better and fight less. Relationship counselling builds on what first attracted you to each other and what can be done to reduce hurt and conflict. You may be in a pattern where one of you wants more and your partner withdraws.

Most couples come for relationship counselling because they want to be able to talk about things without arguing. They want to be closer and have more fun.

Try relationship counselling. It can be a huge relief.

Relationship Counselling Fees:

Couples £110 for 60 minute appointment

Call 07789433234 to make a booking


  • Lower rates are available at certain times if the stated rates are not affordable.
  • Payment is made at the end of each session either in cash or by card

Cancellation Policy

  • 3 days notice are required to cancel/ change an appointment once booked or pay half the session fee.
  • Full fee payable if cancelled on day of appointment


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What is EFT Relationship Counselling?

Relationship Counselling is the process of attending weekly or fortnightly together as a couple to see a  relationship counsellor. The counsellor helps you explore what is going on in your relationship and works with you step by step to resolve arguments, help you decide what you both want, and supports you to communicate better.

EFT Emotionally Focused Therapy is a proven effective relationship counselling approach .  EFT helps you move from being stuck in blaming each other and waiting for your partner to be the one to change to seeing how you co-create issues. You get to a place of seeing we are Ok, it's the conflict pattern we create that's the enemy. When you can see and name the pattern you are both are responsible for creating, you can stop blaming each other.

What's different about EFT compared with other approaches is that you get results relatively quickly. Typically couples attend for   8-15 sessions. Some couples come for just a few sessions while other couples come for much longer.

With EFT  You learn how to talk to each other in a way that is connecting and makes you feel close. In the process: hurts, betrayal and misunderstandings are worked through. The relationship counsellor actively supports you to recognise the patterns and supports you to practise being emotionally responsive.

EFT focuses on connecting you to loving feelings that you have lost touch with. It helps you build emotional responsiveness in your relationship that consists of three components:

  1. Accessibility - You are open to each over even when you have doubts and feel insecure. So instead of criticising your partner in the form of 'telling them what wrong with them' you risk sharing with your partner how they impact you without blame.
  2. Responsiveness - You tune into each other's emotional cues, and love needs. You send and receive clear signals of comfort and caring
  3. Engagement - You know you are there for each other and feel safe in the special bond you share. You are a priority to each other. You are emotionally present giving each other the special kind of attention you give only to a loved one. You work together to continually nourish your relationship.

Imagine how much better you could feel together with more accessibility, responsiveness and engagement between you? If your response is:

'Oh, well, that's well and good, but it isn't going to happen between us!, not with my partner!'.

I would like to say that's a common reaction. It's understandable to feel despairing when you are in a stuck communication pattern.  EFT relationship counselling can support you to become a more emotionally responsive couple.

Here is a video describing the EFT approach to help couples understand the communication pattern they are in:

Relationship Counselling Options

Weekly or Fortnightly Relationship Counselling Sessions

Intensive Relationship Counselling Sessions

  • Work Intensively on your relationship
  • Attend a block of sessions in the same week

We find that working intensively in a committed way can be an effective way of focusing on issues and getting to a resolution.

Talk by Richard Cole on Understanding Arguments

Great video covering some main relationship themes

Learn Empathy



Marriage Counselling

It’s common that very soon after getting married that issues come to the surface. Marriage counselling provides the structure, support and advice to help you understand how you can strengthen your emotional bond and work things through. Coming for marriage counselling doesn’t mean your relationship issues are any worse than other people's. It means that rather than suffering and making do, you are motivated to improve your relationship.

Premarital Counselling

You can make expressing your feelings and needs openly with your partner part of your commitment to each other. A good marriage is based on a willingness to speak up when there is an issue. You can develop  the skills required to express and negotiate your needs. Premarital counselling shows you how to bring more of who are into the relationship and how to be emotionally available to each other.  See Premarital Counselling page

Loss of Desire, Sexless Marriage

It's common in long-term relationships to reach gridlock where you have stopped having sex and played down its importance. A lot can be done relationship counselling to learn how to re-engage in a loving passionate intimate way without the pressure 'to get it right' for each other. Paradoxically it is the very fact that you are important to each other that has created the emotional gridlock that makes sex hard to work out between yourselves.

Infidelity, Affairs, Cheating, Break of Trust and Betrayal

If you have recently found out about your partner’s affair, you are likely to be in shock and feel hurt. You may keep going over the details, trying to understand what happened. You may feel right now that you will never be able to trust your partner again. If you have broken your partner’s trust, you may be feeling awful about it, ashamed, maybe fearful of losing your partner and not sure how to answer their questions. These reactions are typical. Yes, affairs and cheating can be worked through if you are willing to take the time to understand what is going on underneath in your relationship. Breaks of trust indicate that something needs to be paid attention to. It's wise to get support and take some time before making any big decisions and telling others.

Relationship Advice

Relationship Counselling helps you understand what is going on in your relationship and to discover better ways of communicating your feelings and needs. Relationship advice comes in the form of practical suggestions that guide you to communicate or understand yourself and your partner in a different way. These suggestions allow you to re-evaluate, explore and experiment, so you can find out what works for you as a couple. 

Location Map

- Preparing for Marriage

Premarital Counselling - Discover how to stay focused on each other rather while making wedding plans. Preparing for marriage is often a stressful time. Premarital Counselling can deepen your connection and help you to better understand each other's needs.

- Young Professionals Working Long Hours

We see many young professionals wanting to nourish their relationship and find a better work-life balance.

- Abusive relationships, Feeling controlled, undermined

Get support to recognise abusive patterns and find out what you can do about it

- Anger issues, Arguing too much

Discover how to manage your anger and express what you need constructively.

- Men resentful and overwhelmed by partners needs

See article: Mens mother complex

- Women feeling misunderstood and not listened to

Discover how to express what you need and hear what your partner needs without guilt

- Masculine / Feminine imbalance

Feeling undermined or ignored or misunderstood? By understanding negative patterns you can move towards communicating in a way that honours your differences.

- Understanding cultural differences

Take the time to see how your family tribe affect your expectations in your relationship

- Family Expectations

Untangle the role you play and family expectations

- Break of Trust, Making Sense Of Affairs

- Making sense of affairs and dealing with the hurt.See article: Affairs and Betrayal

- Women Living in Limbo

Make sense of being caught between security of a partner and excitement of a lover

- Couples Living in the UK from Abroad

Being in the UK without family support or friend network puts extra pressure on a couple

- How to communicate better, say what you need

See article: How to communicate better

- Major events impacting your relationship

Support each other as you learn how to adjust to new events

- Sexless Marriage - Falling out of Love"I love you, but I’m not in love with you" issues

Are you more roommates than lovers? Relationship counselling helps you revitalise your sex life.

- Jealousy and possessiveness

Discover how to feel significant to each other and understand jealousy and possessiveness

- Children leaving home, how do we get on with each other?

Find out how you can reconnect with each other.

- Long distance relationships

Being away from each other .'Love at a distance' can create problems when you meet up. Arguments and fears arise over relocating.

- New parents dealing with exhaustion and feeling disconnected

Being new parents puts a strain on a relationship. Relationship Counselling gives you support, space and a structure to nourish your relationship

- One partner distancing, the other pursuing

This is a common relationship pattern. Take time to explore it, to you get better at meeting both your needs

- Overworking, imbalance of responsibilities, stress and anxiety

Often the gap between what we hoped for from our relationship and how it is, is filled with work to avoid feeling

- Wanting more romance/ passion/ sexual desire

Understand the patterns in your relationship and how to connect and communicate more of what you want.

- Sexual issues, feeling rejected, dealing with different desires

Relationship counselling is safe place to talk about what is important to you with falling into arguments

- Addictions, pornography, internet use

Pornography is becoming an increasing problem in relationships causing disconnection

Step Family issues: Conflict of Loyalties

In Step-families whatever you do someone doesn't like it. See article Step-Families

- Boarding school survivor syndrome

See article on Boarding School

- Secrets

Secrets often hide guilt and shame. Lighten the load by talking things through

Relationship Counselling Provides A Structure to Work Things Through

Relationship counselling provides a structure for you to nourish and build on what works in your relationship and have a safe place to work through issues. Like many couples, you might find yourselves getting stuck repeating the same arguments and patterns or it may be you want to have more intimacy or you wish to work through a break of trust.

It's common these days to get tired, stressed and worn down through work commitments or looking after children.  You have little time to nourish your relationship and each other. Sometimes busy-ness fills the gap to avoid looking at what is going on.

If you are in conflict it can be reassuring to know that periods of conflict are normal and can be worked through. It's how you deal with the conflict that counts.

The 5 Relationship Stages

Relationship Counselling LondonWe use this pyramid model to show how relationships change over time. Understanding the different stages helps you understand your relationship better. It can also be reassuring to see that what you are experiencing is part of the normal progression of a relationship and fits within a stage.

I'll describe each of the five stages:

  1. Attraction - Little effort is required to feeling loving and loved
  2. Maintenance - Getting to know each other through day to day living
  3. Polarisation - Conflicts and arguments arise that create distance
  4. Healing - Conflicts are worked through
  5. Intimacy - Trust and good communication bring security and closeness

Attraction - Feeling Loving and Loved

In the Attraction Stage, we usually see the best of each other. We are attracted to our partner’s qualities that compliment us or that we would like more of in ourselves. Attraction as well as being physical is based on common values, similar status, shared ambitions and interests. It also has an unconscious element. Our unconscious attracts us to someone who is“familiar” in some way. We are attracted to someone who fits our unconscious relationship bonding pattern. It's inevitable at some level we are choosing our partner to love us in the way we wished we were loved. Our relationship allows us to grow from longing for unconditional young love to accepting a mature adult conditional love.

Some couples come for relationship counselling early on in their relationship for some support, or reassurance, or to work through some differences. They wish to build trust. If you start to understand the ongoing impact of the messages you received early in your life about trusting others it can help you build trust now.

Maintenance - Day to Day Living

We get to know each other through the routines of life. A loving emotional bond builds through getting to know the real person and through being known ourselves.The feelings of desire and passion tend to fade unless a couple finds ways to keep their relationship fresh and alive. It's normal to face some disappointment when our partner doesn't live up to the image we had of them. At this point, we might not yet feel safe enough to be fully ourselves and say what we feel, so we find ways of avoiding major conflict or feeling vulnerable.

We may avoid the big issues out of the fear of losing the love we want. We are comfortably close, yet avoid becoming closer, even though part of us would like to be. It's common for couples to be in a distance/pursuer pattern. One partner withdraws, while the other pursues. For some of us our relationship looks fine on the outside, yet on the inside, we are not feeling relaxed and free to be ourselves. Suppressing what we feel leads to a lack of energy and sexual desire. Maybe there is that,'something missing feeling?' or "I don't feel I am being myself ?" feeling. It could be we are the "good partner" at the cost of our own needs because we learnt that you need to be 'good' to loved. Maybe we would like more passion and grit, but we are not sure how to bring it into the relationship. So often the answer seems to be that," it's our partner that needs to change"; or the answer seems to be outside the relationship.

Relationship counselling can help you communicate better and feel safe about exploring what's important to you. We focus on how you as couple create a shared pattern. It's a relief to be both looking at a shared pattern rather than looking for who is to blame.The best attitude is; "We are in this together" and can work it out with some support.

Relationship counselling isn't just about looking at problems. It's also about building skills on how to appreciate each other and find ways to nourish your relationship.

Polarisation - Conflicts and Arguments Create Distance

A degree of conflict is part of a healthy relationship. It's how we communicate and work through our differences that counts. The Polarisation stage is about speaking up for what is important while also being able to stay in our relationship and be open to the opposite points of view from our partner. This can feel impossible when we feel raw and triggered into strong emotion.  Arguments become unmanageable; issues can't be talked over, and resentment builds. We may be caught up in hurt feelings and begin to distrust each other. There might be a sense of failure and a longing for things to go back as they were at the beginning of the relationship. It's common to wonder, 'how come other couples we know seem to manage and we are going through this? The truth is Polarisation is inevitable in a healthy relationship. It is triggered by events such as:-

  • Making a commitment
  • Moving in together
  • Getting married
  • Just before or soon after having children
  • A break of trust

Typically polarisation starts a few years into a marriage or committed relationship where it feels safe to move beyond the maintenance stage. Sometimes a partner attempts to deal with a feeling of disconnection through using pornography, drinking, or having an affair or doing something else that leads to a break of trust. Polarisation is a normal development stage in a relationship. It's important to go through it to allow your relationship to deepen and for you to be true to who you are.

Our parents/caregivers gave us a model template on how to be in a relationship. It's where we learnt how to be loved and how to protect ourselves from being hurt. These unconscious bonding patterns remain active and are triggered in response to our partner.

Often we protect ourselves by unconsciously trying to control our partner by becoming parental. In response,   they defend their activated vulnerable feelings by starting an argument.  It might come as a surprise to discover that you and your partner unconsciously co-create the issues. It takes two. It’s bizarre, yet it's just how our unconscious works! Have you noticed how you can be more upset with your partner than with anyone else? Some couples are fortunate in that they can "live with" their bonding patterns in relative harmony without needing to look at them. For many of us, spending some time understanding our bonding patterns can free us up from reacting in the same ways and having the same arguments over and over.

Relationship counselling offers a place to explore.We look at how you trigger each other and how to make sense of it, so you can step back, see what is going on, and respond rather than react. You discover that issues can be spoken about and worked through.

Healing - Conflicts are Worked Through

Healing is a process that happens over time as we learn to include both our strength and vulnerability. We appreciate the limits of what our partner can give us, and how to love and nourish ourselves at the times our partner can’t. We take responsibility for the relationship patterns that are no longer serving us. We learn to risk trusting again. Relationship counselling gives you the opportunity/ skills/ framework to stop blaming each other and work together on the shared bonding pattern. You can stay together to work with  "the relationship (pattern) as it is” rather than thinking the solution is to find new partners! You can learn together step-by-step, how to love again from a place of authentic intimacy and choice.

Intimacy - Building A Strong Emotional Bond

We all want to love and be loved. In order for 'a meeting of hearts' to take place, barriers must be dropped. Intimacy is a challenge as it requires us to step into the unknown, risk rejection and open our hearts. So often in moments of intimacy, we connect to our past longing and dependency. Relationship counselling helps you to take steps towards emotionally connecting to each other and rebuild your emotional bond step by step.

Relationship Stages Summary

Relationships are a great challenge for most people. Some couples never dare to discuss how they really feel inside (they stay in the Maintenance Stage); Others put up with conflict and hostility (they stay in the Polarisation Stage) or believe the solution is to leave their relationship (the denial of one's own pattern to avoid working through the Polarisation stage.)

Paradoxically, it's just at the point when everything feels stuck and hopeless, and in crisis, that there is the motivation to face up to what is not working. A relationship counselling session weekly or once every other week is a powerful transformational process. Our experience is that most couples find getting help a relief, and those who are willing to take an honest look at what is going on, worthwhile.  (I wish to give acknowledgement to  The Centre for Gender Psychology for this Pyramid Model).

Laws Of Love

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