Relationship counselling as a ‘necessary social justice'

A letter from our December edition.

An eye-opening report by Relate and the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (see tinyurl.com/y92tvznb) explores the need for making relationship counselling and therapy available to everyone regardless of their economic status and looks into detail at all the barriers and aggravating factors.

When we look at the NHS, the path to take when we break a leg is clear. But what happens if we experience relationship difficulties within our marriage or partnership? Psychology has a commitment to equality and improves everyone’s daily lives by helping public services overcome socio-economic and cultural barriers. But within the public sector, relationship counselling is unexplored territory. With the lack of a targeted service, relationship counselling is only available if you can afford it.

Furthermore, low-income families across the UK are at higher risk of experiencing relationship problems due to financial pressures and debt, and another expense would add gasoline to an existing fire. Relationship counselling becomes an inaccessible service for all low-income families and, in turn, stops being a solution altogether.

The parental relationship is the foundation of a family home, but children and young people growing up in hostile environments, surrounded by relationship distress and difficulties are shown statistically to require further help and support from public services due to learning difficulties, mental health problems and anxiety. Should the focus not be aimed at the main problem instead of investing and addressing all the subsequent issues caused by relationship difficulties? The solution lies with reform and re-direction of existing funding, which would in fact prove to be much more cost-efficient in the end.

Relationship counselling is more a right and a need than a commodity. There is a call to treat it as such and make the service available to everyone, regardless of financial status. A necessary social justice.

N. Gardia
Oldbury, West Midlands

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