Grant given to Relate MTB by The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Thames Valley – 18 Oct 2016

Relate MTB wish to thank the Office of the Thames Valley Police and Crime Commissioner for their grant funding for the provision of counselling for victims of domestic abuse.


Violence and abuse is an issue for some people who come to us for help with their relationship.

We know that in this situation working with both partners together may not be safe.

If this is the case then we would suggest each partner receives individual specialist support either from Relate or another agency.

The counsellor will explain at the first session how we work, and how we can support you

£2,000 grant awarded by the Louis Baylis (Maidenhead Advertiser) Charitable Trust -24 Aug 2016

August 2016

Relate Mid Thames & Buckinghamshire is delighted to have received support from the Louis Baylis (Maidenhead Advertiser) Charitable Trust.

In recognition of the expert service our charity provides in relationship counselling the Trustees have awarded us a grant of £2,000.

In the financial year 2015/16 Relate Mid Thames & Buckinghamshire’s highly skilled professional counsellors supported 410 people in the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, and 1,708 people across the whole area we cover. We help couples, families and individuals to make relationships work better, delivering  inclusive, high-quality services that are relevant at every life stage.

As a local branch of the Relate charity our governance and training standards are managed by the national organisation but all our funding has to be raised locally. Although we request a fee from clients who are in a position to pay, many cannot and the cost of delivering skilled, expert counselling and support has to be met from our funds. We also need to meet the costs of paying counsellors (although they generously accept a fee below the ‘going rate’ for their qualifications and skills) and overheads for our premises and administrative costs.

With no Government funding we rely on support from charitable trusts and foundations.

Fiona Greenfield, Centre Director of Relate Mid Thames & Buckinghamshire, said: “We are very grateful to the Louis Baylis (Maidenhead Advertiser) Charitable Trust which does so much to support the many wonderful local charities and organisations providing vital, accessible services for our local community. Their ongoing support makes a huge difference.”

Find out more about the Trust here.

Find out how can support Relate Mid Thames and Buckinghamshire here.

Summer not so loving?

Relate counsellors at Mid Thames and Bucks are preparing themselves for an anticipated spike in calls this September in the immediate post-holiday period in line with national trends. Relate saw a nine per cent increase in calls last year and is ready for a similar onslaught this. Relate wants couples to be aware that as well as a break, holidays can be a difficult time. And it is offering tips to help couples cope with this.


There is something psychological about September. Even though we’re not at school anymore the memory of fresh beginnings, a new satchel, pencil case and uniform is seared into us. We may make New Year’s resolutions but there’s something equally if not more profound about September. Often we invest it with more meaning. So though we may not make resolutions in the same way as on New Year’s Eve, we may still resolve to change a situation that’s been making us unhappy for some time. We do always see a spike in September and before that a bit of a lull in June, July and August when there isn’t the same focus.

Relate centres across the country answered 19,527 calls in September –  a nine per cent increase on the monthly average of 17,879 calls.

With so much investment in a holiday – emotional as well as financial – the levels of expectation can be very high and when that happens there may be, as with Christmas, a huge risk of disappointment. Some couples may think their holiday is a chance to sort things out but find they are unable to.

If one of you is unhappy you can be sure both of you are. We suggest couples use their holidays, if they can, to really talk to each other. See it as an opportunity. People may think they’re hearing their other half talking when in fact what they’re doing is tooling up their army with ready responses! Using terms such as, ‘I feel this…’ rather than, ‘You make me feel’ is a way to create a dialogue that doesn’t put someone on the defensive. It’s about owning your feelings rather than blaming someone else for them.

Rather than just saying, “We need to talk,” counsellors suggest couples use the reflection technique so they really communicate. The couple face each other and take it in turns to talk for a few minutes about something on their mind. Their partner then reflects this back to them what they’ve said to show they’ve heard and understood. No advice is given, no contradiction. It’s a straightforward hearing exercise that can be very powerful. Counsellors suggest when doing this the first time couples pick an item or issue that isn’t the most important to them in order to get used to what may feel rather novel. So for example, talk about an annoyance at the shops or a minor issue at work rather than directly talking about the relationship straightaway. Then gradually build up to the big stuff. If you can do this exercise on a regular basis it can make an enormous difference.

Relate also gets a spike in calls in early January but couples are more likely to proceed with a divorce after the summer holiday than the Christmas break. September is a more energetic time of year whereas January can be very bleak and resources depleted after dealing with Christmas. The New Year spike can be a “get it off your chest” call or a cry for help. The September spike is potentially much more serious. Communicating with each other during the break may save some from the divorce courts afterwards.

However if a couple does decide to separate after their holiday they are still very welcome to contact Relate for help. Counsellors have a great deal of experience helping couples to separate as amicably as possible. All the research tells us it’s not divorce itself that causes the greatest stress but how it’s carried out. Relate is there for people who do wish to split up. It needn’t be a catastrophe – happy parents apart are a lot better than unhappy parents together. But if you are going to separate after September, you need to recognise that you’ll be co-parenting from now on.



Tips for avoiding disagreements about how to spend Christmas

  • Be realistic and understand that you can’t please everyone all of the time. Rushing around trying to fit in multiple visits on Christmas Day is likely to mean you feel stressed and don’t enjoy it.
  • If you come from a blended family, bear in mind that asking a child to ‘choose’ who to spend the day with can make them feel very anxious. Consider a fairer solution such as taking it in turns each year.
  • Find time to connect, talk and listen to all parties. If you have a difficult relationship with anyone, discussing things on neutral territory may provide the best outcomes.
  • Share with each other what practices or traditions make this time ‘special’ and the importance to each of you of celebrating it with the extended family. You may find that it’s not such a big deal for one of you, despite family expectations
  • Try to introduce change gradually so it’s all less of a shock to the system.  People can often accept minor differences which before they (and you) know it, become part of a new way of doing Christmas.
  • If for instance you want to go abroad this year but are worried about a friend or relative feeling lonely or left out, consider inviting them along or seeing if there’s anyone else who they would like to spend the day with.
  • If you can’t see certain people on Christmas Day, arrange to see them at another point during the festive period such as Boxing Day, Christmas Eve or the weekend before.
  • Recognize that it’s OK to take control of the Christmas arrangements and not stick to the same routine.
  • Next year, start talking about what feels do-able sooner rather than later. This often means that more people’s opinions can be canvassed and considered before a decision is made.