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Couples Counselling

What is couples counselling about?

Our intimate relationships can be one of the greatest sources of joy and fulfilment in life. Our sense of identity, belonging and connection is very much related to relationships with those we love. When conflict arises in our relationships, it can feel like our world is turned upside down. Couples I work with often talk about feeling 'stuck' in patterns of relating which are painful and deeply unsatisfying. When you are stuck in these patterns it can be hard to see a way out and a sense of despair can set in.

Couples counselling can help you begin to see the patterns that are not meeting your needs and find new ways of relating that can help you grow individually and as a couple.

We learn about how to be in relationships as a child, in the family we grew up in. In every family there are messages and habits about how to relate that are set down in the early years.When we grow up we very often we repeat the patterns we learned as a child. What worked for us as a child, may not work for us as an adult. Often we repeat patterns that didn't work for us in childhood, because they are the only way we know how to be in a relationship.

An important part of couple counselling is learning to understand the messages and habits we may have inherited from the family we grew up in, and learn new more satisfying relationship skills which can help us realise our potential.

Some of the issues couples bring to counselling are:

  • difficulty communicating and feeling their partner doesn't really hear what they are saying

  • feeling unable to ask for what they want and need from their relationship

  • one partner is always wanting connection and time together and the other always seems to be distancing

  • issues over jealousy and possessiveness

  • there has been an affair

  • different parenting styles, leading to constant arguing over the kids

  • step/extended family issues

  • sexual performance issues, no sex or different levels of sexual drive

  • the impact of addictions on the relationship

  • work/stress issues


What happens in couples counselling


Couples Counselling is a therapeutic process where couples meet with a trained couples counsellor weekly or every two weeks to help you explore more deeply what is going on in your relationship. I work with you, step by step, to resolve arguments and decide what you both want.

A key part of the work together is looking at the way you communicate as a couple and identify the patterns that keep you stuck in arguments, and leave you feeling deeply unsatisfied. Together we look at what you can do differently to communicate better, and bring about the changes that can lead to the kind of intimacy you desire.

It's a big step making the decision to talk about your relationship, especially the sensitive issues. It's hard enough sometimes talking with your partner about problems, let alone a complete stranger. Once the decision to seek some help from a professional counsellor has been made, it may be that one of you is keener on the idea than the other. Perhaps your partner is not sure they want to attend 'counselling' or is not convinced it will help. There is a lot of evidence showing that couples counselling can help couples find solutions to a wide range of issues and enhance their relationship. In my work with couples I create a safe environment where:

  • You both begin to explore the issues that really matter to you

  • You learn communication skills that help you communicate what matters to you and helps your partner really hear you, perhaps for the first time 

  • You begin to see the bigger picture of what is going on in your relationship

  • You begin to understand the differences between you in a new and potentially very positive way

  • You begin to understand how working with your differences in a new way can very quickly bring back intimacy and a feeling of being connected with each other on a deep level

  • You learn how to manage the powerful emotions that your relationship stirs up in you

Couple's Feet in Bed

Counselling after an affair or betrayal

Many couples I work with come to relationship counselling in the hope of working through feelings arising by the discovery of an affair or betrayal.

Trust is at the very foundation of intimate relationships.  It takes time to build trust, and in a moment it can be shattered. The discovery of an affair or betrayal turns a couples world upside down.  Very strong feelings of shock, anger and guilt come between partners. For many, the question of whether they can ever trust their partner again must be addressed. How to rebuild trust is at the core of the crisis in the relationship.

The reasons people have affairs, keep secrets and betray the trust of their partners is complex and varies with each person. A lot depends on personal circumstances, individual needs and the state of the relationship. Very often an affair happens because there was something between the couple that couldn't be spoken about. Couples I work with wonder if their relationship can survive the impact of the affair.


A betrayal changes a relationship profoundly. In my experience working through the painful feelings surrounding the affair and beginning to understand what led to it, can strengthen the bond between a couple.This is not easy and professional support from a counsellor experienced in working with betrayals of trust can be a vital source of support as the couple moves forward in their lives together.  

In my work with couples I provide a safe, structured environment where you can begin to:

  • make sense of what happened

  • ask and honestly answer questions

  • work through painful feelings

  • begin to understand and grieve the impact the betrayal has had on the relationship

  • talk through concerns about trust and how to move forward

  • rebuild connection


What to expect in our first session

Here's what to expect in your first session with me:

I will begin by asking you questions to help me get to know you as individuals and as a couple. Some of the things we will explore initially are:

  • What are the key issues for you as a couple and what do you both hope to get from from counselling?

  • What will help your relationship and how can relationship counselling help?

  • What is going on for each of you?  How do you feel and how does your partner feel? 

In this first session you will get a very good sense of how I work and if it feels right for you.  In the first session very often couples begin to feel a shift or change.  Feeling supported and having the chance to get important thoughts and feelings out in a constructive and well structured environment can bring about positive change very quickly.

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