During adult life our individual development continues to evolve. We pass many milestones, or through stages that have been described in such terms as intimacy versus isolation, generativity versus stagnation, and integrity versus despair.

Many people seeking relationship counselling come with difficulties involving one at least of these stages of adult development. Other major life changes occur when a couple have children, when children go off to school or leave home, when the partner who is working swaps with the one who is not, and many other similar events. Major changes to lifestyle, income, health are only a few of the stressors on a couple’s capacity to adapt.

Relationship counsellors have expertise in increasing a couple’s capacity for intimacy whilst decreasing the sense of isolation produced by conflict and lack of attachment. They can address the importance of both members of a couple having and developing the capacity for generativity, which relates to remaining creative and active throughout adult life.

Some couples find the process of moving from one stage to another very complex. Relationship counsellors can normalise this journey, helping to flesh out ways of making smoother transitions together. Some close couples will be surprised at the level of tension arising between them when they attempt to adjust to retirement. These are all common issues familiar to a trained relationship counsellor.