Derry relationship therapist reports 32% spike in demand over '˜stressful' Christmas and New Year

A Derry relationship therapist says there's been a 32 per cent spike in people looking for relationship counselling over the often stressful Christmas and New Year period.

Monday, 9th January 2017, 11:37 am
Updated Monday, 9th January 2017, 1:01 pm

Patricia Bourne, Director of Asha Relationship Counselling and Sex Therapy Clinic, which is based at the Gate Lodge on the Strand Road, said she had anticipated an increase over the festive period as many couples and families find their relationship issues coming to a head.

But the clinic saw a 32 per cent increase in people looking for support in relationship counselling, where a peak of 20 per cent is the norm.

She said: “Christmas is one of the most stressful times of year. Financial pressures, enforced or larger family gatherings, alcohol, substance abuse or general fatigue, we expect an increase but had not anticipated such high demand right up to Christmas Eve.”

Ms Bourne said New Year is a time when many people evaluate how life is going and this often has people reflect on their relationships.

“The increase in calls we receive at this time of year clearly indicate that people are reviewing what is acceptable and what they want from their relationships,” said Ms Bourne.

The beginning of a new year is also often a marker for dealing with problems such as isolation, abusive behaviours, communication, alcohol and general conflict.

“Professional, confidential relationship counselling for couples or individuals is an excellent way of getting to the root cause,” she said.