Family Consultants Work In The ‘Grey Area’

Our clinical supervisor Diane Whitmore is adding another string to her bow – this time training to take on the role of ‘family consultant’ to a local ‘pod’ of collaborative lawyers – so-called because they get clients to collaborate over settling issues such as divorce rather than going to court.

Using all the skills of a counsellor and more, Diane will be offering the lawyers’ clients guidance and support through the difficult family transitions brought about by divorce. (more…)

‘Don’t stay together for our sake’

Eight out of 10 children and young people with experience of parental separation or divorce would prefer their parents to split up if they are unhappy, rather than stay together.

So says a poll of young people aged 14-22 with experience of parental separation, carried out on behalf of family law organisation Resolution.

It reveals fresh insights from children about the levels of involvement and amount of information they would like during their parents’ divorce. The findings are released ahead of a Parliamentary launch of new advice for divorcing parents.

An overwhelming majority (82%) of young people surveyed said that, despite their feelings at the time, they felt it was ultimately better that their parents divorced rather than stay together unhappily. Asked what advice they would give divorcing parents, one young person said: ‘Don’t stay together for a child’s sake; better to divorce than stay together for another few years and divorce on bad terms.’ Another suggests: children ‘will certainly be very upset at the time but will often realise, later on, that it was for the best’.

Key findings show that children and young people want greater involvement in decision-making during the divorce process:… (more…)

New ways of doing Christmas

Whom to spend Christmas with torments so many of us year on year. A Relate survey shows that 90% of us would like to spend Christmas with immediate family. Only 54% think that including extended family members is a priority.

It gets more complicated when family members have different ideas about who these important ‘nearest and dearest’ actually are.

Deciding who to spend Christmas with can be a major source of tension in relationships, especially where families are trying to cover all angles. (more…)

How do you tell your grown up children you’re getting a divorce?

Our youngest son (18) recently left home to move to another city. Things haven’t been good between me and my husband for a while (i.e. five years or more), but having time to talk about things properly has made it clear neither of our hearts are really in this anymore and we’ve decided to separate and most likely divorce. I’m worried about how to tell our boys though. The older one is very perceptive and has probably seen this coming, but the younger is much more sensitive and I know he’d rather we stayed together as a ‘proper’ family. How do I talk to him about this?

That’s a familiar question in our counselling rooms. So we asked one of our counsellors to respond… (more…)

Alcohol Awareness Week: Relate Bedfordshire and Luton Issues Advice For Parents Worried About Their Teenager’s Drinking

Most teenagers have begun experimenting with alcohol by their mid-teens but this doesn’t make it any less worrying for parents.  With the Christmas party season nearly upon us, the chances of your teen being offered a tipple or two are even higher.  But how do you intervene if your teenager’s drinking is becoming a problem without damaging your relationship in the process?

To coincide with Alcohol Awareness Week, which takes place from 16th-22nd November, family and relationship experts, Relate Bedfordshire and Luton, have released top tips on talking to teenagers about underage drinking. (more…)

Women more prone to affairs

Stats show women are 40% more likely to have affairs than 20 years ago.

Relate counsellor Denise Knowles says:  “Women [having affairs] can be frightened to let go of the marriage but honesty is always the best way.

“If you communicate your problems and admit your affair, your marriage might have the chance of succeeding,” she advises.

Relate’s The Way We Are Now 2015 study on the number of men saying they have been cheated on has risen by 5% since the year before.

For help call 01234 356350

The price of being ‘Mummy’s favourite’

Adults who think they are their mother’s favourite child have an increased risk of depression, according to a new study.

Researchers think that both being the target of sibling rivalry, and feeling committed towards their parent, can take their toll on preferred children. 

Professor Jill Suitor, Purdue University, Indiana, US, who led the study, says: “There is a cost for those who perceive they are the closest emotionally to their mothers, and these children report higher depressive symptoms.”

The academics analysed 725 adult children with an average age of 49, looking at levels of emotional closeness, conflict, pride and disappointment.

They also find that adults who think their mother is disappointed in them, or who they fought with a lot, display still more signs of depression.

Those who think they are closer to their mother, say researchers, are less friendly with their siblings.

“This tension can increase later in life as parents approach their late 70s and 80s,” according to the study in the Journal of Gerontology: Social Sciences. “We find it particularly intriguing that siblings continue to engage in such a high degree of social comparison even well into their middle years.”


Heroes take a bow

Not just one, but TWO Relate Bedfordshire and Luton team members won ‘Heroes’ awards at a national Relate conference.

Relate Heroes are recognised each year for their services to the charity.


Tina Miller

For 2015, counselling services manager Tina Miller was presented with a ‘Heroes’ award for her 26 years’ service to the local Relate in the category of Outstanding Centre Staff.


Diane Whitmore

Clinical supervisor Diane Whitmore also won a ‘Heroes’ award, The Peter Bell Prize for Outstanding Contribution to Clinical Practice for her 25 years’ service in the same Relate team.

The Peter Bell prize is named after a now-retired Relate head of practice nationally who originally interviewed Diane when she first applied to be a clinical supervisor.

Congratulations to them both we are all very proud of them!!

Ecotherapy: Feeling Better, Feeling well, Feeling Good – by Relate’s Sue Reed

We know physical activity is good for our bodies but did you know that it is also good for our mental health and wellbeing?

Exercise influences the release and up-take of chemicals in our brain and that can help us feel better. The Department of Health recommends adults should do two and a half hours a week of moderate intensity activity – exercise which makes us feel warm and breathe harder.  Only 40% of men and 28% of women in the UK meet these guidelines.

Staying active can lift your mood, reduce stress, help you deal with negative emotions and even help with anxiety and reduce the risk of depression. Every year one in four British adults will experience some kind of mental health problem and prescriptions for antidepressants have reached record levels.   Many G.P.’s and clinicians now recommend an exercise regime as part of the treatment, alongside counselling/talking therapies and prescribed medication. (more…)

The pain’s the same

In an interview for the Telegraph on the hurt of being defriended on Facebook, Relate counsellor Arabella Russell says: “Social media can be a great source of communication, but it can also be a great battering ram on the self-esteem.

“If you’re dropped, it can have a really visceral effect: ‘What have I done?’ It’s always what have I done. We immediately blame it on ourselves. An online friendship is absolutely real. It can become a lot more intense a lot more quickly than offline relationships and often we’ll share things we wouldn’t offline.

“So being defriended hurts. It’s a rejection that plays to childhood feelings exactly the same way it did in the playground. It feels the same when we’re an adult, no less harsh. We’ve been given no opportunity to speak our mind, compromise, negotiate, raise problems… We can use logic on it as adults and defend ourselves against the pain more successfully than when we were children. But the pain’s the same.”