Learn from our Q and A with Clara, about how parenting and relationships programmes can help. Note: Name and some details changed to protect anonimity.

 Clare, single mother, participant in Tavistock Relationships’ Building Relationships for Stronger Families programme in London

Q Tell us a little about the basic challenges you faced:

A I separated from my partner many years ago but have faced continual issues with his behaviour towards me. He is confrontational, verbally aggressive, belittling and controlling, basically a bully. At the point I started my counselling I had hit a brick wall and didn't know how to deal with him or where to turn. We have a child together which means that I still have to have contact with him, and will have to in some form for the foreseeable future.

Q What was the biggest impact on how you felt and on which parts of your life - parenting, mental health, relationships?

A This had a major impact on my mental health as anytime that I had to contact him or was contacted by him, it was very traumatic. This also affected my child as she had to see her mother being shouted at and her father being very aggressive.

Q How did you hear about the ‘Building Relationships for Stronger Families’ programmme?

A I was referred by my family support worker.

Q Did you have any reservations in attending the sessions?

A No, I didn't have any concerns about the sessions as at that time I was prepared to try anything.

Q What were the sessions like? How did you find the family practitioner?

A The sessions were very relaxed. I wasn't pressured into talking about things and was free to go at my own pace. The practitioner who helped me was amazing. She saw things from a different angle and helped me to find my own solutions. It was a new idea for me to look at the world from my ex partner’s point of view and to try and work out how he felt.

Q What was the biggest positive impact it had on you?

A I have a tool kit I can use to help me deal with a number of situations that may arise. I still find it daunting when my ex-partner contacts me in an aggressive way, but these practical ideas have made a massive difference. They also advised me on how to talk to my child and understand how she felt about her life.

Q How do you feel now in terms of parenting and managing the relationship with your ex-partner?

A I feel that I am better equipped to deal with my ex-partner. Although he hasn't changed and is still very controlling, it has lessened the amount of nervousness and fear that I feel. I believe that it has helped my relationship with my child and made me more aware of what she is going through.

Q Would you recommend the service to others, and if so, why?

A If I hadn't had gone through this counselling process I'm not sure what life would look like now. It sounds dramatic, but I was in such a negative place that I didn't think there was any light at the end of the tunnel. I know now that I can deal with my ex-partner. It may not work all the time, but mostly it works enough to put me in a much better position mentally.

Notes to Editors

Established in 1948, Tavistock Relationships is a registered charity internationally renowned for delivering and developing advanced practice, training and research in therapeutic and psycho-educational approaches to supporting couples.

Working from two London bases (Hallam Street and New Street) as well as operating a nationally available online service, Tavistock Relationships has over 100 professionals providing an effective and highly-regarded form of couples’ counselling and psychotherapy.

Last year, Tavistock Relationships held nearly 20,000 therapy sessions, helping thousands of people with their relationships. The charity received very positive feedback, with more than 93% of its clients saying they would certainly rate the organisation’s services as good and would recommend its services.

Tavistock Relationships’ ‘Building Relationships for Stronger Families’ programme, funded by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP), is free to parents in the London boroughs of Westminster, Kensington & Chelsea, Camden, Hammersmith & Fulham, Croydon, Brent and Lambeth. Tavistock Relationships also offers support to adoptive and expectant parents.

Tavistock Relationships also offers support to adoptive and expectant parents https://www.tavistockrelationships.org/relationship-help/help-with-parenting-family-life

For more press information contact:

John Fenna, Head of Marketing & Communications

T: 020 7380 1974 E: jfenna@TavistockRelationships.org

Paula Scott, PR consultant T: 07932 740221 paula@limegreencommunications.co.uk

Debbie Walker, PR Consultant T: 077486 40577 E: walker.debbie@sky.com