A good relationship is a precious resource that can make all the difference to our overall enjoyment and quality of life. And yet, most of us will run into some kind of relationship difficulties at some time in our life.
Whether you are in a new relationship or have been together for ages, you may benefit from help in relation to:
- Communication problems.
- Feeling disconnected from your partner.
- Fighting to often without any resolution.
- Talking past each other instead of with each other.
- Coping with different needs for sex and affection.
- Arguing over how to raise the kids.
- Trouble with in laws or extended family.
- Dealing with affairs or their aftermath.
- Feeling unsure whether you want to stay or leave.
- Feeling there is nothing left to say to each other.
- Feeling there is no goodwill left in the relationship.
- Wanting to rediscover appreciation and tenderness.
How does marriage Counselling help?
We usually start out by helping each of you to tell your own side of the story. Then we work together to help you forge a new kind of relationship with each other, which acknowledges each others’ needs.
Couples often have very familiar patterns or sequences in the way their arguments or disagreements start, develop, and resolve (or don’t).
World-renowned couples researcher, Gottman, has identified the communication style typical of “unhappy” versus “happy” couples when they are arguing. A summary is shown below.
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:
- Notice your own inner indignation and put it on hold while partner speaks. Listen to partner. Wait your turn to speak.
- Explain your side of the argument as respectfully as possible, and as matter-of-factly as possible, without excess emotion.
- Give up thinking partner can or should read your mind. They can’t.
- Validate any points partner makes by indicating which bits you understand or agree with.
- Take responsibility for your part in the conflict.
- Show appreciation and gratitude where possible, while stating own needs, eg “I’m grateful that you help with x, but I need help also with y”.
Couples who are willing to influence each other, and be influenced by each other are the ones most likely to have successful relationships. Happy couples are more likely to maintain the 5:1 rule – a ratio of 5 positive interactions to each 1 negative interaction. (Gottman)
We call it “couples counselling” these days, rather than “marriage counselling” because the term “couples” covers all kinds of couples, including those who are not married as well as gay and lesbian couples.
Call us on 1300 739 514 to make an appointment
- Phones answered Monday to Friday, 8.30am to 8pm, Saturdays 9-4pm
- 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.