Is NOW a good time? Counselling under Lockdown…

It can be hard to know when to start something as committed as therapy. Like all those decisions, everyday life often gets in the way of the longer term changes – from finally fixing that wobbly table leg or that wobbly relationship.

With Coronavirus causing us to spend more time at home, our busy schedules – and the things we do to distract ourselves – might be lost, temporarily. We are perhaps plunged into spending more time with our loved ones: and what about when it is our loved ones already driving us up the wall? Whilst we worry about the health of the nation, our immediate concerns might be how do we cope with the people we’re now spending so much time with?

The lockdown just announced, will be bringing new challenges and pressures on our relationships. The intense proximity to our partner might bring new frustrations, arguments and lack of passion. But this is also an opportunity for exploration. Slowing down, without the gyms and the pubs and the long commutes, might be just the time to look at ourselves, our family, our relationships and our sex lives. This could be just the time to seize the day and enrich the quality of our lives. With the space to contemplate what matters.

RELATE BRADFORD has responded to the public health conditions and is training up all our clinicians to offer you webcam and telephone counselling from the security of your home. We can offer expert intervention, of the same quality of service, to make this a time of transformation and personal growth.

We offer telephone or webcam on all the following:

  • Relationship Counselling
  • Individual Counselling
  • Couple’s Therapy for Depression Counselling
  • Sex Therapy
  • Children and Young People’s Counselling
  • Family Counselling
  • Telephone Counselling
  • Training and Education

Please contact us for an appointment or to find out more on 01274 726096 or email us at

Desire – it’s complicated…

Clients often come to us and say “I WANT to want my partner…” feeling frustrated they don’t know how. And there’s nothing that pleases us more as psychosexual therapists to see people leave with richer, warmer relationships and desire itself rekindled. Nobody needs to resign themselves to a partner that’s more like a Friend… with No Benefits. Whilst we can’t replace the solid work we can do in psychosexual therapy at Relate Bradford here’s some starting points for those of you wondering about this very thing.

Long term relationships

The Honeymoon Period is ACTUAL SCIENCE. There’s a load of chemicals that collude and collaborate in the early days of a romance, all the stuff that makes you unable to focus on anything else, and daydream about the next time you’re together. This period usually lasts between 6 months and 2 years, but some couples ebb and flow in and out of the honeymoon for decades by maintaining curiosity and awe for their partner. Embrace change and adventure, keep having new shared experiences, and remember to flirt. You don’t finish romancing your partner after the first couple years, instead keep on doing it.

Unrealistic Expectations

You’ve got 2 kids, 2 dogs, and 2 jobs and a mortgage between you, and you wonder why it doesn’t feel buzzing with passion? The joys of the long term bonds you have together may mean that some of the spontaneity has gone. But everyone else is spontaneous right? No, it’s a myth that sex is spontaneous, there’s usually some planning in it somewhere! Scheduling a time you can actually have it doesn’t mean you can’t also keep up seduction. Adjust your expectations and flex to changes like the natural process of ageing.

Pursuer/Distancer Patterns

Couples can often fall into patterns of unhelpful behaviour, and one of the most common ones we see with desire issues is one partner always saying no, and the other partner always chasing. This can become a vicious cycle of pressure, rejection and everyone feeling bad. Both roles are uncomfortable. Nobody can want something by being told they should want it. In fact, for the pursuer of sex to step back and give the other one space is an essential part of the distancer being able to feel want. It’s good to get a little hungry before a meal, right?

Communication Issues

For manycouples, not-so-good communication can be a key cause of low desire, bad sex and general relationship issues. Try using “I feel” statements in discussions –  “I feel hurt when you don’t kiss me back” is less blaming and shaming than “you never kiss me back” explains what is going on for you. Swap negative feedback for positive: “mmm yeah, I like it gentle like that” reinforces and compliments rather than gives rise to a row!


Closeness can be a passion killer too! Sometimes a couple know each other too well, are too much best buddies, too fond of all the same things. Security and cosiness feels wonderful and safe but to feel desire you need to feel a bit hungry…and wanting requires a leaning toward someone rather than having it on a plate served up already. This doesn’t mean playing ‘hard to get’ but rather understanding you and your partner/s as separate people with different lives.

It’s Not You, It’s Me

Whilst partner’s feel rejected by your lack of desire, it is often the ‘low desire partner who is struggling with rejection of their own sense of worthiness or attractiveness. Not wanting anyone else can often be a defense against feeling so unwanted themselves. And unfortunately feeling unwanted or unloveable can’t be substantially resolved by someone else – rather it is inner work to transform the person’s own idea and vision of themselves.

If you want to go a bit deeper we love

This TedX Talk by Esther Perel…

Blog written by Relate Bradford Therapist, Tabitha


Relate Bradford will remain on skeleton staffing, with reduced office hours for the rest of this week and unfortunately will close on Friday, whilst we await further updates from the government and NHS regarding the coronavirus.

We will continue to keep you informed of any changes, with sincere apologies for any inconvenience caused. I am delighted to say that we are still continuing to provide counselling – either via webcam or telephone counselling.

I would like to say a heartfelt thank you, to the team at Relate Bradford, for ensuring that our services are continuing, whilst adapting and responding so positively, in what is significant change and uncertainty. You continue to amaze me. Thank you.

Take care. Stay safe ~ Tina

Tina Butler



Relate Bradford centre is closed today (Tuesday 17 March 2020) due to ongoing concerns and new guidance, regarding the coronavirus.

We take the health and wellbeing of the people whom we serve and to the staff team very seriously. We continue to keep up to date on the latest news and guidance.

We will endeavour to do all we can to continue to provide our counselling services, by offering webcam and telephone counselling. You can self refer via our website on the ‘contact’ page.

For updates, please go to and for the latest updates and guidance.

Please follow our social media accounts and our website for further updates. You can also email to speak to one of the team.

Apologies for any inconvenience caused.

Thank you, stay safe and take care ~ Tina

Tina Butler


Relate Bradford

A day in the life of … a sex therapist

By Tamara Hoyton – MA, PGDip PST

Being a sex therapist…

Obviously no day in the life of a sex therapist can go by without tremendous variety and a large dollop of non-judgemental curiosity. How could you not be?


Clients are referred into our service by GPs, nurses, health workers, from in-house relationship therapists; and many self-refer so please do get in touch (shameless plug intended).

A referral shows very brief details of the issue affecting clients which can be indicative of the awkwardness often experienced in discussing sex. A level of narcissism is necessary for good self-esteem; but when we convince ourselves that we’re the only one ever to have suffered from erectile difficulty, painful sex, or loss of desire it can often inhibit us from seeking help.

(In terms of sexual myths, that last one, ‘loss of desire’, is the biggest one out there by a country mile. “Everyone is having sex more often, AND better, than me!” Please. Don’t worry. We’re all making it up as we go along…..)

Initial Meetings

Client’s initial meetings are our first opportunity to invite them to relax. Most of the presenting issues we encounter are based in anxiety and so addressing this is pivotal. Clients describe what troubles them in different ways. For example using innuendo, speaking graphically, hoping you’ll guess (!). Often by being explicit, using metaphor, or humour.

All of these give direction to the therapist about what language to use with clients to make it easier for them, so that the therapist can get as much information as possible. Clients are invited in so that we can go through a history taking with them and explore why it is that they may have been psychologically pre-disposed to a sexual difficulty, what might have set it off for them, and, in some cases why it has been maintained for so long. With a couple, the enigmatic nature of their dynamics and interactions are fascinating and impossible to ignore.

In the sessions

Many of our clients have been living with a sexual dysfunction that causes them real distress as they meditate or catastrophise on possibly losing their partner, or never being able to have children, or missing out on pleasure. These are enormous issues in anybody’s life.

Much of the work we undertake originates in the view that sex is about getting to the ‘main event’ which most people see as orgasm or ejaculation. When an uncertainty or anxiety arises around that not happening (through either stress, tiredness, illness, life-stages – things that none of us are immune from), self-doubt and stress often take over and the cycle becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Sex therapy puts the brakes on all of this as it seeks to reframe sex as a fuller and more relaxing experience, and fundamentally a more thoughtful one. Asking clients to really put thought and time into what drives their desire is often something they have never done before, and can be life changing purely for the pleasure derived. But if it results in a much wanted pregnancy so much the better.

In terms of how we interpret life, we have, as a point of survival, a tendency towards a negativity bias and what we do when thinking about sex can be no different. We suspect our inadequacies and avoid them becoming exposed! In sex therapy we explore the joys of exploration, fumbling, and curiosity. That sex is a recreational past-time to be given time to and not goal oriented but rather more thoughtful, unpredictable, and creative.

And funny… Definitely funny.

relate bradford sex therapy counselling services

Future blogs to keep an eye out for:-

  • Desire; it’s complicated
  • Fantasy; why it’s a very good thing
  • Dysfunctions; how do you know if you’ve got one?
  • Is it in the relationship……or is it ‘me’?

We are Hiring!

Are you a highly motivated and skilled senior leader, with a passion for making a difference in the third sector? If so, we want to hear from you.

We are recruiting a Head of Service Delivery and Development, to work 37 hours a week, with a competitive salary, of £30,507.

Reporting directly to the Chief Executive, you will support the Chief Executive in the efficient running and development of Relate Bradford’s services in Bradford and will assist the further development of our new offer in Leeds. You will ensure the efficient delivery of sa​fe, high quality, evidence-based services in accordance with Relate Bradford’s policies and procedures. Leading the development and delivery of Relate Bradford’s services, you will ensure we are seen by all, as industry experts in our approach to healthy relationship building. 

You will play a key role in commissions, contracts and bids, and in scanning for activity and opportunities.

You will have a leadership role, providing effective management, supervision and support to the team, underlining and promoting our values, principles and behaviours at all times.
Responsible for developing and implementing a marketing strategy, you will help to grow the business with due regard to delivering a broad based class-leading relationship focussed counselling service.

Closing date: Friday 22 November, 5.00pm.

For an application pack, please contact or ring on 01274 726096, or for an informal discussion, contact the CEO, Tina on or 01274 768040.

Charlotte’s Work Experience Placement at Relate Bradford

My time at Relate Bradford…

My time at Relate has opened me up to the different type of work they do here and what working is actually all about. I have realised that my idea of counselling was very different to what counselling here at relate was all about.

I couldn’t be happier that I have met such lovely staff whilst been here and they have made me feel welcome since the minute I walked in.

Whilst been here at relate I have experienced some of the many tasks that the receptionist staff have to do here and I have done research towards linking companies that work with relate and been involved in meetings with staff who are helping build connections with the company. I am glad that I have been able to be involved with different tasks at relate and been shown the different type of work that they do here.

I would feel comfortable with accessing the services at relate Bradford as all the staff I have met have been an absolute pleasure to be around.

I also got the experience of speaking with a counsellor supervisor who talked to me in depth about the different types of counselling here and I got to ask questions so I could find out any information that I wanted to know. This was very helpful for me as I am interested in studying subjects that link with the work they do here so this give me some idea of the actual work I wanted to go into.

I think my time here at relate has helped me with what I would like to do as a career but also to see what working in the real world is actually like. I have enjoyed my time here at relate.

Queensbury Academy, Bradford

What we do

Why we do what we do

Because the relationships we have with ourselves and others matter and good relationships help us all to live more fulfilled, healthier and happier lives.

What we do

As a caring organisation, we give you the time, space and support to explore relationships and help you see how you might be able to work through and overcome relationship challenges in order to move forward positively.

Our values, principles and behaviours

o We put you at the heart of all that we do, by providing a confidential, ethical and professional counselling service of the highest quality, exploring options, individually tailored to your current situation

o  We enable you to be more aware of feelings, to explore options and to improve coping skills

o  We work in partnership with others

o   We place kindness at our core and always strive to be respectful, supportive, professional, dependable and empowering

o   As a passionate, curious and creative organisation looking to the future, we endeavour to develop innovative and dynamic interventions, continually championing the importance of healthy relationships and the role they play in ensuring good mental health

o   With our partner organisations, we will be helpful, responsible, collaborative and dynamic