If your relationship is under strain, or you’re struggling with your mental health, you’re not alone. Hong Kong is a fantastic city to live – life can be fast-paced and exciting. But city life comes with its own stresses and pressures. Managing work, social life and relationships can be a tough balancing act. Find out here how counselling can help individuals and couples overcome their troubles.

Close-up of a woman's clasped hands during a counselling session

We all go through difficult times in our lives. Whether you’re struggling with bereavement, anxiety, depression, stress, eating disorders, relationship difficulties or life transitions, counselling can help you find a way through.

Counselling for couples

All relationships need investment to keep them in good order. But it can be difficult for a couple to do this work alone. Just like when maintaining your car or house, sometimes professional help makes all the difference.

In many cases, the problem at the heart of a relationship breakdown is communication. A counsellor offers a safe environment to help a couple talk, understand each other and rebuild trust.

Couples counselling aims to:

  • break the negative cycle of automatic responses.
  • encourage each partner to express their needs, challenges and fears.
  • help each partner listen without assumption or expectation.
  • enable couples to disagree without anger or destructive emotions.
  • bring a sense of objectivity and perspective to your situation.
  • improve trust and intimacy.
  • help couples to recognize the positives in each other and in their relationship.

A counsellor works with you on specific problems within the relationship, such as jealousy, infidelity or intimacy issues. They observe how a couple interacts, offering insight into the role of each partner. The counsellor then guides you in altering negative patterns of behaviour.

Creating new habits takes practice, so expect to be given exercises to do outside the clinic. These help integrate your new skills into everyday life.

Counselling for anxiety and depression

Anxiety and depression can, to an extent, be seen as two sides of the same coin. People with anxiety tend to worry about what lies ahead, whereas those with depression tend to ruminate on events of the past.

Counselling can help people struggling with anxiety and depression to recognise, understand and re-frame negative thoughts. In this way, it can break the spiral of disordered thoughts and feelings that are the hallmark of these conditions.

Some typical examples of disordered thinking includes overgeneralisation, habitual self-criticism, dwelling excessively on negative details, and disregarding positive experiences.

Cognitive behavioural therapy is one way to interrupt these negative patterns. It helps people to identify distorted thoughts and the behavioural responses that accompany them.

A counsellor can work with you to replace these negative responses with ones that are more objective and constructive. This might be learning to accurately evaluate a situation in both its negative and positive aspects, or it might be practising balanced self-messaging.

A counsellor can also equip you with coping strategies. For example, mindfulness helps you to refocus into the present moment. Practising this technique can allow you to interrupt the negative thoughts that can take over the mind. It has been proven effective in reducing depression, anxiety and stress.

About our counsellor

Catherine Graham (M.Couns.) is a Hong Kong-based counsellor, working with people from all backgrounds to overcome their personal difficulties and reach their full potential. She has experience in treating a wide range of issues, including grief, loss, relationship issues, addiction, depression, anxiety, stress, eating disorders and body dysmorphia.

If you need a hand with your mental health, book with Catherine here.

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