Relationship counseling as a discrete, professional service is a recent phenomenon. Until the late 20th century, the work of relationship counseling was informally fulfilled by close friends, family members, or local religious leaders. Psychiatrists, psychologists, counselors and social workers have historically dealt primarily with individual psychological problems. In many less technologically advanced cultures around the world today, the institution of family, the village or group elders fulfill the work of relationship counseling.
With increasing modernization or westernization in many parts of the world and the continuous shift towards isolated nuclear families, the old support structures are no longer there and the need for relationship counseling is greater than ever.
Before the relationships between the individuals can begin to be understood, it is important for all to recognize and acknowledge that everyone involved has a unique personality and background. Sometimes the individuals in the relationship adhere to different value systems. Institutional and societal variables (like the social, religious, group and other collective factors) which shape a person’s nature, and behavior must be recognized. A tenet of “relationship counseling” is that:
It is intrinsically beneficial for all the participants to interact with each other and with society at large with the least conflict possible.
Some say the only viable solution to the problem of setting these relationships back on track is to reorient the individuals’ perceptions – how one looks at or responds to situations. wilderness therapy is the perfect environment to be able to reflect and respond to present situations. This implies that they make some fundamental changes in their attitudes and actions The next step is to adopt conscious structural changes to their inter-personal relationships.
The duty and function of a relationship counselor is to listen, understand and facilitate a better understanding between those involved. The basic principles involved are:
# Non-judgment on any of the issues or incidents narrated to them as counselor.
# Confidentiality of the persons being given the counseling.
A successful counselor is someone who has a mature and balanced state of mind and disposition, who can place themselves in the shoes of those they are counseling, and the ability to respect their opinions, thoughts, feelings and (more importantly) emotions.