Panellists on ITV1’s Loose Women spoke of their experiences of counselling and how it has changed lives.

Coleen Nolan told the popular daytime television programme that counselling was “the best thing” while Janet Street-Porter said that “it should be as normal as going to the gym”.

Their comments came during a discussion with fellow Loose Women panellist Saira Khan and presenter Andrea McLean on premarital counselling and whether couples counselling was the perfect wedding gift.

The discussion came after our member Cate Campbell contributed to an article on premarital therapy in The Guardian.


Coleen, who as the Daily Mirror’s resident advice columnist has signposted people to our members, said: “I think it’s a brilliant idea.

“This is supposedly before people get married, but I think people should have more counselling in general.

“I have friends, I have relatives that have had counselling because they have had problems in relationships and the difference in them after the counselling is incredible.

“They have changed, and their relationship has changed.

“I think people have this thing about seeing counselling as failure, that I don’t want to tell a stranger anything, but you will go to a doctor and tell them your intimate physical details so why would you not see someone and tell them your emotional issues?”

She added: “I’ve had counselling in the past and it’s the best thing. I would recommend it to everyone.”


Janet, a former newspaper editor and television executive, said: “Marriage is a big step and you need to be able to communicate with each other and also understand what the other person really means.

“I think it’s a fantastic idea. You have to make sure it’s given with love and received with love.”

Host Andrea told the programme that she has been going to couples counselling with her husband Nick Feeney for the past five months.

“A lot of people think that going to counselling means there’s a problem in your relationship,” she said. “But actually, if you go before there’s a problem and you learn how to communicate.”

She added: “I have had counselling on my own this year – I have had a bumpy year – and couples counselling as well, and it’s made a huge difference. You realise what you are lugging around.”

No big deal

Saira, the TV presenter and newspaper columnist, also said that she and her husband had been to counselling separately.

“The way we deal with an argument is totally different to how we did before,” she said. “It really has helped.”

Janet finished the debate, saying: “People have to get rid of this idea that talking therapy is only for people who are having serious issues.

“Counselling should be just as normal as going to the gym. It should be no big deal.”

If you want to find a counsellor or psychotherapist who can help you with relationships, visit our Therapist directory.

Image copyright: ITV/Loose Women