Questions and Answers

Your questions answered about relationship counselling

If you have a question not answered here, give us a call on 02381 680008, or email us with your question.

Do you only work with couples who are married?

No, we work with any couple in what is (or has been, or is hoping to be, or should have been) a committed partnership, whether married, in a civil partnership or cohabiting.

Do you work with LGBT couples?

Yes, with anybody with any sexual preference. We are well aware of the particular pressures and difficulties involved for those seeking and maintaining loving relationships and civil partnerships in today's society.

Do you work with other sorts of relationships?

Yes. We work with any two people who are having difficulty relating to each other. A natural extension of our couples counselling is when we work with those who are not longer committed to each other but who have children, and want to develop a reasonable parenting relationship in order to support their kids through their lives.

We also work with family connections, both peers (siblings such as Sister & Sister, or Cousins, or Step relationships) and through the generations (such as Mother & Son, Grandfather and Grandson, In Laws). 

In addition, we work with business relationships

You might want to hear a Radio Interview that we did with Katie Martin at BBC Radio Solent on Sibling Relationships (7.11 minutes - no adverts) to get some idea how we work.


Why don’t you work to an hourly rate?

We occasionally do in some circumstances. However, by far our most popular services include support via phone, e-mail or text in between face-to-face sessions. Our clients really value the ability to contact us at any time 7 days a week, 365 days a years to resolve crises or hiccups as they are happening. This service is unlimited, open to both people in the couple and is a unique part of Duo Coaching's service that cannot be compared with other counselling operations.

We also feel that it is important to finsihs each session naturally, rather than when the clock says. Our clients can relax knowing this and that the ‘meter’ is not ticking.

Some sessions are also naturally longer than others.

How much extra time is taken depends a lot on each couple and their particular circumstances, and we feel that it is easiest and fairest to charge standard session rates to all our clients once we have agreed the Packages to suit them.

We are unique in what we do and in offering this unlimited support, so comparing or rates to other relationship counselors is not comparing like with like.

We live and work together. How can you help us?

We help build bridges between people in business as well as private life, so we are perfectly positioned to work with those who work and live together, being equally comfortable in both worlds. 

If your relation-ship is breaking down, this is what we focus on. What makes us different is that we also understand the business issues at stake, and the particular pressures and complexity that go hand-in-hand when business and private lives are mixed. We help you to gain clarity and then acheive the best possible outcomes for yourselves and the business, whatever they end up being.

If you are just starting up either your loving or your work partnership (or both at the same time), we can help you structure the work side to the best effect while creating essential space for play. To ensure that your partnership survives the rollercoaster of entrepreneurship, we go on to meet once a year to give you breathing space to reflect and re-consider how your partnership is working. We also advise you on partnership agreements - making sure they reflect current reality as your partnership(s) mature.

We can do this because we also coach relationships in business, either starting up or breaking down.

We understand the knock-on effects of relation-ship issues on working partnerships, sleeping directors, family businesses, board structures.  As you clarify your situation, we can give guidance on any re-structuring that might become necessary.

You might want to look at our sister company Business Duo Coaching

For couples like you we offer bespoke solutions, as each situation is different. Check out our Better Relationship Package, then contact us to find out what can be done.


<< Back To Mayday! Mayday! Our relation-ship is sinking

<< Back To Pirates Ahoy! Our relation-ship is being taken over by outsiders!

<< Back To Drifted Apart - Our relation-ship has split apart

<< Back To Relation-Ship Building - Setting our relation-ship sails for our voyage into the future!

<< Back To Rough Waters - Our relation-ship is struggling to cope

<< Back To We're Leaking Badly- Our relation-ship in dire distress


What happens if our problems are not ‘fixed’ in 6 (or 8) sessions?

We aim to help you reach or exceed the outcome you decided upon at the beginning. Sometimes your problems cannot be resolved in the time given, but substantial progress is always made - enough so that you will have a good idea of the direction to take for the future. If things change as we go along and a new outcome is recognised, again we will do what we can to enable you to look ahead to what is needed in the future.

If the circumstances involve a betrayal by either one or both parties, then these often take longer than six sessions with the intervening support before the basic issues between the couple can be bottomed out and then trust-building start. Relationships severely affected by affairs and addictions will take longer again, and will involve 1:1 Solo Sessions

The first set of sessions are designed to reach clarity of what is needed between you.  If this, and what you have learnt along the way, is good enough for you - that's fine.  In some situations understanding can be reached early on, but it can take longer to gain to get unstuck and then re-build for a lasting relationship. That's why we recommend follow-up options - see

and the other Additional Options.

However many sessions you have, it will be fewer than the industry standard of up to 20 sessions, and in 25% of cases, 20-50 sessions.


What if we want to explore things further?

You won’t be alone in that! Many of the couples who have chosen to continue being together end up continuing to come to more sessions after they’ve broken through the original problem, as they realise they can now continue to build themselves anew into a different sort of partnership.

The frequency changes a lot once the urgency has gone out of the situation. We have couples who have stayed coming at irregular intervals for over two years. Others come for more Duo sessions to get the most out of growing, with Solo sessions mixed in with either one of us. And some who stop coming, then come back if they run into another problem as their lives and their families develop and grow.

See Additional Options

Do we pay for the whole package even if we split up before the agreed end?

No. You only pay for the sessions you use. All we ask is that you pay us promptly by the agreed method (normally credit card) immediately after each session, or any other pre-arranged method of payment.

Do you work with older people?

Yes.  Whether you have been partners for many years or have only recently come together, we can help you with your relationship, whatever the issue. 

Perhaps the impact your relationship is having on others needs to be worked through; such as your children, with perhaps their hopes of inheritance, or their concerns about any future care needs.

Do you work weekends and/or evenings?

Yes we do, although we tend to reserve weekends for emergencies or for those with children, but if these are the only times you can make, then we will fit you in. We’re reasonable flexible but please be aware that our method of working is intensive, and all of us (both clients and Neil & Maria) get better results if we are working at times of the day when we are all at our best.

How long do we have to wait for our first appointment?

Under normal circumstances, we do our best to see new clients for their first session within 1-2 weeks and, if the partnership is in crisis, we may book the second appointment within the next week so that we start working on the issues with all speed. 

It all depends on trying to get all four diaries in synch.

We are in an arranged marriage. Can you help us?

Yes, as what matters is the future of your relationship together (or not) and how you are going to get there. The circumstances of your coming together is relevant background data, as are many other facts in your lives - religion, originating family background and expectations, current circumstances. We ask this information of all our clients so that the future you create for yourselves is truly grounded in reality and therefore the stronger for it.


Do you work with couples where one or both is disabled in some way?


Where we work in the New Forest is on the Ground Floor with easy access.

Religion is important to us; how will you work with us?

We will honour your beliefs and religious views. We do not promote any particular religion, and so will work with you to help improve your relationship no matter what your religion(s) or spiritual beliefs are.

Will you work on my problems first before seeing us both?

Yes we will do so, most often if there is a particular behaviour that has disturbed the equilibrium of your relationship in some way (see We're Leaking Badly).

We can:

  • Meet with both of you first and then go into working 1:1 Solo with one of you for a while before going back to working Duo with you both again. Both of you would get our support 24/7 thoughout.


  • Start working 1:1 Solo with one of you, and then start afresh with the two of you when you are both ready.

We find that the first option works best for a partnership, as embedding a change of behaviour often needs giving extra support to both partners to bring it securely into the everyday life of a relationship.  

More often we start Duo Coaching sessions with a couple and only move to Solo face:face coaching if the progress of the 'Us' of you both is being held back by something that one of you needs to sort out.  The old adage 'It takes two to make a marriage/relationship' is often correct.

Check out the option 1:1 Solo coaching for a fuller picture.


We can't afford to pay by the session in the first few weeks

We know people's financial situations can be in flux when they come to see us, or they need time to pay. 

Payment after every session is our preferred option, as we find it is the simplest for our clients to handle at times of stress when communication may be difficult. We accept most major credit and debit cards (not American Express) or cash.

However, we can offer the option of a payment per month for those who need to budget their outgoings on a monthly basis. Payment is usually a session per month, regardless of how many sessions you actually take in the month, and is by credit or debit card. This option is by special arrangement, and not automatically granted.

Some people who have very irregular incomes and would prefer to do lumps sum pre-payments. Give us a call on 023 8168 0008 so that we can all work through the pros and cons, as these will be very individual to your situation.

Talk to us about what you can manage in your particular circumstances and we can do what we can to flex with you. 

Ours is a mixed marriage. Can you cope with that?

Yes; we understand the pressures that there can be in a mixed marriage and in any relationship where there is a mix of cultures, race, backgrounds and beliefs. We will work with you to help you cope better with pressures from within and from outside the relationship.

What if we live miles away?

We can do an ‘intensive’ series of sessions packed into a few days to suit you. Each day we work some of the time all together, with the rest of the time spent by you absorbing and putting into practice the things we have worked through. It is possible to do some of the sessions on Skype, but we prefer to have worked with you at least once face to face first.

Talk to us about a tailor-made package to suit you both. Look at the option of Intensive Navigation Programmes for more information.

One (or Both) of us is a therapist. What can you do for us?

Even if you know something of what is going wrong with your partnership, it can be really hard to fix it, given that relationships are systemic by nature, and you are a part of that system.

We recognise your knowledge as a resource to your relationship. We see our job as being facilitators to help you both getting your 'system' to work again, but not as it was before. The issues of the past will have impacted on the two of you, so we aim to help you get to a different (and better) relationship than you had before, if that is what you both want your outcome to be.

Have a look at our Better Relationship Packages for more information.

Relationship Workshops

You might find that a workshop suits your needs better. In the autumn e are run a Relationship Workshop. This 2-day event is for any couple or individual who is focused on improving their relationships but don't have a clear path, and who desires to incorporate more relational knowledge into their daily lives. All are welcome, there are no requirements. This workshop is taught by Cathy and Neil and is a combination of lecture, role play, exercises, personal work, discussion, and Q&A. 

To register your interest, send us an email and we will contact you later.