The reasons why people sign up for counselling are vast and varied, but from my own experience as a counsellor, I can think of very few clients who have not wanted to discuss relationship issues at some point during the counselling process. After all, as psychologist Abraham Maslow's "hierarchy of needs" puts it, the desire for love, belonging, and sex are universal drives we need to satisfy in order to find true contentment.
But the search for a healthy and happy relationship can be challenging, as the numbers of people wanting to talk about relationship issues in counselling shows. I started my career in journalism and while I didn't realise it at the time, the thousands of people I interviewed and stories I wrote taught me a lot about love: its positive power to overcome illness and adversity through to its potential to become destructive.
I retrained as a BACP-accredited counsellor and have counselled clients for the Los Angeles Suicide Prevention Centre and Mind and Lifeline in the UK. I now use my skills to coach clients through writing blocks. Counsellors generally don't give direct advice to their clients in the belief that the best answers come from within. But here I offer some of my experience of counselling clients about relationships along with general advice from a range of counsellors and psychotherapists.