John Bishop: Counselling “can change the rest of your life”.

Comedian John Bishop released his autobiography, How Did All This Happen? last month, in which he talks about his experiences of relationship counselling and how seeing a therapist helped him and his wife, Melanie, get their marriage back on track.


Bishop, 46, married his spouse in 1993, but the couple separated in 2000. After watching one of his early gigs Melanie started to fall back in love with the comedian, and the couple subsequently saw a counsellor, which allowed Bishop to open up about his feelings for the first time in his life.


“I stopped being scared of talking about what I felt. The consequences of not doing that are bigger than the consequences of doing it,” he told the Daily Mail. “When I was younger, I wasn’t very emotional. But there’s a point in your life where there’s nothing to be scared of any more. I just didn’t realise it at the time”.


Bishop said that counselling helped the pair reflect on their marriage and speak honestly about what went wrong, something which was new to both of them. “It’s a British disease of building up barriers,” said Bishop, as reported by the Daily Mail. “I think that’s breaking down now and people are more open to the idea of counselling and talking things through.


“That’s a really good thing. You’ll probably have half a dozen sessions and the penny will drop. And that can change the rest of your life.”


All relationships go through tough patches, and many couples come out the other side stronger for having worked things through together. However sometimes something can happen – such as an affair, difficulties in becoming pregnant, bereavement or a change in circumstances – which may be hard to overcome. You may find that you are quarreling and sniping and struggling to get on in every day life, and you may not understand why. When difficult patches become prolonged, and you start to feel stuck in an unending loop, it can be supportive to talk to someone impartial to help you work through your differences and problems.


At The Grove we have specially trained and qualified couples counsellors, who will work with you and your partner, to help better manage and understand issues and difficulties in your relationship. It may be that you have separated and are hoping to get things back on track, or perhaps you are still together but the relationship is not what it was, and you would like some support in working through what is going on for you both. Perhaps you are considering ending your relationship but would like to talk this through first to make sure that you are making the right decision.


Working through problems together, and developing better communication, can strengthen a relationship and, ultimately, can bring you closer together: “The pain we had in our relationship – it sounds cliched – but it made us stronger,” writes Bishop. However, at The Grove we also understand that not all relationships need to be rekindled, but that at times it might be better for both you and your partner to go your separate ways. We will support you in considering your options and thinking about what is best for you both, and can continue to offer individual support after a break up when you are reasserting yourself and your life away from your previous relationship.


Let’s talk first, before you leave or end your relationship, so that you can both reflect on what has gone on while you have been together. We can help you make better informed decisions about whether to stay together or go your separate ways, and can also offer individual counselling alongside couples therapy. This may benefit both either of you in getting to know yourself better outside of your relationship, and reflecting on what you want for yourself as well as with your partner.