Couples in relationship counseling may include issues between friends, employees or employers or any other type of professional or friendly relationship where conflict in the relationship in itself is an issue.

While marital or couples counseling tends to be long returned in nature, relationship counseling focuses more on contemporary problems and therefore tend to be shorter in the number of sessions.  The focus is on the here and now, rather than a history of each individual’s background, personality concerns or prior history of conflicts.

Despite these differences, there are many similarities to couples counseling as contrasted to relationship counseling.  Focus on the communication style of each individual is prominent.  Understanding differences in value systems and individual’s perceptions of a situation are also material that needs to be brought up for discussion.  In the process of relationship counseling, strategies are developed and after each session, the effectiveness of these strategies is evaluated.

As in couples counseling, confidentiality is critical.  The opportunity for each party in the conflict to be understood and heard is paramount.  Core principles of a good relationship are emphasized.  Such principles reflect respect, concern, confidentiality and the ability to empathize with the other individual.

Principles  that are prominent in relationship counseling

The Ability to Compromise
Each party needs to be sensitive to the other person’s position and to realize that a win/win situation is in both party’s best interest.

Forgiveness
The capacity to forgive is an inherent value for the individual, as well as for the nature of the relationship.  Each person has to develop the belief that holding a grudge only hurts the individual who is maintaining the grudge, rather than the person with whom the grudge is directed.

Patience
Often individuals feel a sense of urgency to relieve themselves of the discomfort in a conflictual relationship.  Problems take time to work out and one’s expectations for resolution need to be adjusted accordingly.  It is essential for each individual to develop the tolerance for uncomfortableness while a problem is being resolved.

Realistic Expectations
Frequently one’s expectations can doom failure.  Unrealistically high expectations will inevitably lead to resentment.  Expectations must be realistic and, often, compromise is required.

Respect
A sense of mutual respect is vital in resolving relationship difficulties.  Respecting your partner‘s individuality and your partner’s point of view go a long way toward conflict resolution.