Couples & Relationship Issues
I work with both couples and individuals to understand and work on a wide range of relationship issues including (but not exclusively) issues of intimacy, difficult family transitions, communication difficulties and conflict, infidelity and loss of connection. I have completed additional post graduate training in working with couples as well as having completed level 1 and 2 in the Gottman Method for working with couples.
As adults we primarily get our emotional needs met through our intimate couple relationships. When our intimate relationships are threatened or not working the way we had hoped, it can be helpful to take some space out of your daily life to attend to the issues emerging within your relationship to see if you can find a way through them. It can be a big mistake to leave issues to fester, in the hope that they will go away. Over time resentments and hurts can accumulate and damage the very foundations of our relationship.
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How relationship counselling might help you
Some of the benefits of couples counselling include:
Coping with changes
Negotiating how to get your needs met in a healthier more direct way
Managing conflict in a healthier way
Improving physical and sexual connection
Recognising abusive relationships.
Improving intimacy and building a strong and lasting connection.
The ultimate goal is to work towards a more successful relationship.
Repairing and resolving trust issues
Where couples decide to end the relationship but want to end it on good terms.
Addressing disagreements around your respective parenting style or values finding a way to do this which respects both your values, while raising your children in a way that is agreeable to you.
Resolving difficulties with your/your partner's family of origin so you can go to family occasions without feelings of dread.
Renewed feelings of interest and caring in your relationship.
Addressing resentments before they poison your relationship.
How long does couples counselling last?
Couples counselling tends be short term but this depends on how long the issues have been going on and what the problems are that you feel you might need to overcome. If you are going through a specific crisis, you may only need a few sessions to help you manage the situation. Sessions are 60 minutes long.
What should we expect?
Initial sessions are usually spent building a greater understanding of your difficulties, what brought you for counselling, how therapy can best help your relationship, and what your expectations are. I will ask about your history as a couple, how long any problems have existed and what you might hope to get from couples therapy. After the first few sessions I will be able to provide more guided steering and begin to actively help you to work towards managing your issues.
Every relationship is unique and some couples may need several months to work through all the issues. Ultimately it is up to you as a couple how much or little work you wish to do. After a few sessions you will have a sense of how I work and we will take an opportunity to reflect on our work together. I will share my recommendations with you, but ultimately you are free to choose and can finish whenever you want.
One of the very first steps a couple must take to rebuild intimacy is to learn to express their thoughts and feelings and carefully listen to those of their partner. Without this it's impossible to achieve intimacy. This needs to happen in a way that's safe for partners to express themselves and their needs.
Sometimes we haven't learned the skills necessary to communicate effectively, especially when we get stressed or distressed. I work by trying to create an atmosphere of respect, careful listening and emotional responsiveness, so you can learn the skills necessary to find solutions to your joint difficulties.
Below are some videos you can watch to begin to think about making some positive changes in your relationship.
Dr John Gottman talks about what he has learned over 40 years what makes relationships work or what predicts divorce
Dr Julie Gottman talks about how to make a complaint in your relationship without hurting your partner in the process. This skill is essential for both partners if you are to have a happy and emotionally healthy relationship.