Couples counselling, marital counselling & divorce counselling in Belfast and Bangor, Northern Ireland

Karen Lawrence
BACP Senior Accredited Counsellor & Supervisor
Member of ATSAC

Individual, Couples & Family Counselling
Sex Addiction Services
Belfast and Bangor, Northern Ireland

07989 756 164

Karen Lawrence

"Day and evening appointments available."

BACP Registered and Accredited

"All the evidence suggests that it is how you manage change that matters, not the fact that you experience such a change in your life."

Suzie Hayman

couples counselling

Couple Counselling

When you make a commitment to a relationship you do so hoping that it will be forever. But the reality is that people change and so do relationships.

Some of the most common difficulties that couples present with are:

  • communication difficulties which can be exhausting and confusing
  • rows that often involve power struggles and high emotion
  • affaires which can be devastating and hurtful and full of guilt
  • domestic abuse which can involve trauma and have a long-term impact on future relationships
  • separation and divorce, if, how and when to do the 'uncoupling'
  • sexual relationship and loss of intimacy
  • life stages and transitions such as a new baby and empty nest syndrome

Communication Difficulties

The basis of any relationship is good communication. The ability to share your thoughts, feelings and experiences are very important. You also need good communication to resolve issues when things go wrong.

Often couples arrive at counselling 'just not talking', or, if they do take a risk and talk it 'ends in a row'. When this happens I will help you to listen to each other, express your needs, manage conflict and emotionally connect.

My husband and I began our counselling journey with Karen at a time when there was a high level of tension, stress and animosity on our relationship. We both knew that we needed to do something to stop us from communicating so badly. As parents of three young children we had been through a decade of significant changes in our home-life, and we hadn't stopped to see what a toll they had taken on us a a couple.

Going to Karen has been so beneficial and therapeutic for us. Having a safe space to listen attentively to my husband really helped me begin to see him through a fresh pair of eyes. As his wife, I had been much too quick to dominate family decisions and hadn't given him the love and respect that he deserves. Karen's insights have led us both to not just understand, but change our behaviours in ways which have brought the joy and fun back into our lives. She listens without judging, and also seems to be able to lead our sessions into a place where we leave feeling much closer and cooperative than when we arrived.

I can't recommend Karen, or indeed couples counselling more highly. It really did turn our lives around.
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Rows can be about anything, or, the same row that keeps happening over and over. Couples may need to learn how to negotiate around their different beliefs and opinions. I can help couples express themselves by staying in control and having respect for difference.


Finding out about an affair can be devastating and talking about it is often difficult. Reasons for the affair can be complex and are unique to each couple.

I help couples to express and acknowledge painful emotions and to address issues of trust. I also help to unravel the reasons for the affair making sense of why it happened. Where possible, I help to rebuild the relationship, restore the trust and so aid recovery.

Domestic Abuse

The term "domestic abuse" means different things to different people. It includes a wide range of behaviours that are intended to control the other person through abuse, threat or force.

The effects can be traumatising causing you to lose your self-respect and self-confidence.

I offer an assessment of your relationship and where counselling is appropriate help you to break the cycle of abuse and adopt respectful behaviours.

Separation and Divorce Counselling - the uncoupling

Couples often arrive at counselling undecided as to whether they wish to stay or leave a relationship. I can help you make an informed choice.

I can also help you make sense of what happened which is vital in rebuilding your self- esteem and confidence. This will give new relationships the best chance.

Where there are children, one of the biggest worries is whether they will suffer. I will help you separate out your feelings and needs from those of your children enabling you to co-parent in the interests and well-being of your children.

My husband and I attended couples counselling with Karen as our marriage was at breaking point due to frequent arguments. We were both incredibly stressed and wanted to find a way to work through our difficulties. Meeting Karen undoubtedly saved our marriage.
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Sexual Relationship and Loss of Intimacy

Your sex life acts as a mirror to your life together: if things go wrong in other areas your sex life will usually suffer too. Your sexual relationship may be the cause of the problem or, a reflection of your intimate emotional relationship.

By looking at how you interact sexually, I can help you identify the area of sexual difficulty and help to restore a fun and enjoyable sexual relationship.

Life Stages and Transitions

The birth of a first child and children leaving home can be two of the most life changing events that can happen to a couple. There is often mixed feelings from elation to exhaustion.

In moving from a couple to a family and back again, often the balance of the relation is affected and I can help the couple to tune back into and re-negotiate their relationship.

Sex Addictions

With the arrival of the internet 'sex addictions' has become a more recent issue in relationships. What causes sex addiction and why there is a need for it can often help make sense of the problem. Denial is often a powerful factor, however, steps can be taken to break through it.

Consequences of sex addiction can be devastating including loss of a relationship, self-esteem, a job and debt. I can help give you coping mechanisms for managing life without the behaviour and so aid recovery.

For more information about couples counselling, or to book a Belfast or Bangor couple counselling appointment please contact us today.