There are many different reasons that people come to couples counselling. And just as many different ways of resolving problems. It all depends on the two people who make up the couple.
- Couples in a committed relationship.
- Gay and lesbian couples.
- Married couples.
- Couples who have only recently been having troubles.
- Couples who have struggled to get along for decades.
- Couples who are just starting out in a relationship, who want to invest time and effort in creating a great relationship.
- Couples whose children have grown up who now feel a need to re-invent their relationship.
- Couples where one or both have been, or are currently involved in an affair.
It has been said that creating and maintaining a healthy relationship is a great art, and like great art, it is usually the result of effort, dedication and hard work, but the benefits are worth it – to be able to live a life where you can love and be loved.
The kind of problems that many people experience are:
- Different styles of communication – one needs more than the other, and in a different way.
- Arguing without resolution, going round in circles.
- One constantly asking for more while the other constantly wants less, in terms of sex and affection.
- Differences in how to raise kids or deal with blended families.
- Coping with affairs and trust issues arising from them.
- Feeling stale, or in a rut, where the relationship has become too automatic and has lost its spontaneity.
How does Couples Counselling help?
When you first arrive we ask each of you to tell your own side of the story, uninterrupted by the other, and this usually means we start out with two quite different views of the problems you are both facing. Telling an empathic third party what has been happening can be quite liberating, and often this leads to understanding new dynamics that you had not previously recognised.
Our aim is to help you both to have your say, before we embark on helping you find common ground, and to hear each other’s stories in a fresh new way. This brings a newness to understandings that have been previously bogged down in ‘automatic-point-of-view arguments’ with each other.
We aim to help you develop a new relationship with each other, which acknowledges each others’ vulnerabilities and needs, and which honours your own. This helps you break away from the familiar patterns or sequences that your arguments have taken in the past.
World-renowned couples researcher, Gottman, has shown that couples who are unhappy in their relationships tend to argue in a different way to those in happy relationships.
Differences in “Happy” versus “Unhappy” Couples
How “Unhappy” couples argue:
- Criticism – attacking partner’s character, making right/wrong
- Contempt – insults, sarcasm, mockery, sneering
- Defensiveness – yes-but, cross-complaining, accusing, deflecting, excuses
- Stonewalling – silent treatment, walking out
How “Happy” couples argue:
- Listening to partner’s complaint and waiting your turn to speak.
- Explaining your side of the argument as respectfully and matter-of-factly as possible, without excess emotion.
- Understanding that your partner cannot read your mind. You must tell them what you want.
- While partner is speaking, indicating which bits you understand or agree with (rather than only the parts you don’t agree with).
- Taking responsibility for your part in the disagreement or confusion.
- Showing authentic appreciation and gratitude wherever possible, even while disagreeing with other aspects of the confrontation.
Gottman’s research has found that couples who maintain the 5:1 rule have happier relationships. The 5:1 rule refers to couples who tend to have a ratio of 5 positive interactions (smiles, thanks, appreciation) to each 1 negative interaction (complaints, criticism, etc).
Sometimes one or both members of a couple will say they “will not change for anyone”. This is a very unhelpful stance, as Gottman’s research has clearly found that those who are willing to influence each other, and be influenced by each other, are by far more likely to have successful relationships.
Call us on 1300 739 531 to make an appointment
- Phones answered Monday to Friday, 8.30am to 8pm, Saturdays 9-5pm
- After-hours appointments available weeknights to 8pm, Saturdays 9am to 4pm.
- Medicare and Private Health rebates can be processed at your session.
- For details on our psychologists, see Our Team
We offer couples counselling (marriage counselling) to those living in the local areas of Ryde, Gladesville, Putney, Lane Cove, Meadowbank, Hunters Hill, Top Ryde, East Ryde, West Ryde, North Ryde, Denistone, Drummoyne, Eastwood, Epping, Chatswood, and surrounding suburbs.
Victoria Road buses also make our practice accessible for city workers, see Contact Us. But if Our Team’s areas of specialisation make a good match for your particular needs, we welcome people from anywhere.