Good relationships with family and friends are at the centre of our world. Having people to share the highs and lows with can make life better - whether it's watching your family grow over many years or simply having a cup of tea and a moan with a neighbour.
But we live in a fast-paced world where looking after our relationships is often at the bottom of our 'to do' list. Perhaps we don't think they need our attention and have fallen into the habit of taking them for granted. Sometimes, it's only when a problem surfaces that we realise how bad things have got. That's why knowing when and how to get help is important.
It's also worth knowing that good quality relationships are vital for our health and wellbeing. They can protect us from the effects of long-term physical and mental health conditions, help us recover and even prevent us from becoming ill in the first place. On the other hand, poor quality relationships can increase the chance of us acquiring a long-term health condition and reduce our likelihood of recovery.
CABA and Relate, the leading relationships charity, work together to offer free relationship support to past and present ICAEW members, ICAEW staff, ACA students and their families. Relate works across the country providing counselling, information, mediation and support to individuals, couples and families of all backgrounds and sexualities. Our mission is to make expert information and support for healthy relationships available to everyone. Last year alone we helped more than 2 million people.
As a beneficiary of CABA, you and your family can access Relate's services for free. All you need to do is contact CABA and they'll put you in touch with a trained Relate consultant. The consultant will ask a bit about why you got in touch and will offer advice on how Relate can best help. Usually, that means setting up a course of one-hour counselling sessions, either face-to-face at your local Relate centre, or sometimes on the phone or via video call.
People come to relationship counselling for all sorts of reasons. Relate counsellors see people in many different situations and we're never judgemental. It might be a partner who's had an affair, a teenager's behaviour that's causing havoc for the whole family, or a couple who want to reconnect after the kids have flown the nest. From dealing with mental health issues or bereavement to feeling lonely or wanting a better sex life - we can help.
We see people on their own, as a couple or as a family. It really depends on what's going on for you and those you love. Counselling sessions are confidential and we would never disclose any details unless we believed someone was at risk of serious harm.
Crucially, we know that what we do works. For example, 91% of clients said that their communication was better after attending adult relationship counselling and 84% felt able to cope with any difficulties they might face in the future. If you need support with your relationships then get in touch. We're ready and waiting to help.
This article was written for CABA by Dr Rachel Davies, Senior Practice Consultant at Relate.
For more tips, tools and resources to help you take care of your mental wellbeing and empower others to do the same, visit cabamentalwellbeing.org.uk