RELATE (originally the National Marriage Guidance Council) is probably the largest and most successful service of its kind in the world. For over 50 years, helping many hundreds of thousands of couples and individuals, it has developed an approach to couple counselling that is based on acknowledgment of the uniqueness of individual clients and their relationships, a respect for their autonomy and cultural differences, and a commitment to counselling with empathy, genuineness and warmth. The authors of this book are excellently qualified to provide this unique account of the RELATE Approach in action: both were trained by RELATE, both have very substantial counselling experience, and both have supervised the work of other RELATE counsellors for several years. The ever-changing characteristics of relationships and family life are fully recognised in the RELATE Approach, which helps clients to find their solutions to difficulties of family life, transitions, separation, divorce, sexuality, gender and identity, by helping them to find meanings in the patterns of their relationships, and to make sense of emotions, thoughts and actions in themselves and their partner.
This book is designed to enrich and stimulate the work of counsellors working within a wide range of counselling models and traditions. This is not a prescriptive manual but rather an informed guide to the RELATE Approach, which includes many illustrative examples and (invented) case studies. The RELATE Approach still depends upon the counsellor's repertoire of counselling skills, but offers a three-stage counselling model (exploration, understanding, action) made operational within the format of brief, time-limited therapy. "The counsellors with RELATE and its predecessor, the Marriage Guidance movement, were the founders of counselling as we know it today. The approaches to counselling which they have developed have wide application. Butler and Joyce write very well and I found this book clear and full of good ideas for clinical practice. I can confidently recommend the book to all who care for couples in relationships." C. Murray Parkes OBE, MD, FRCPsych "A useful introduction to RELATE's three-stage model of couple counselling and some of the concepts on which it is based." Christopher Clulow, Director of the Tavistock Marital Studies Institute