Psychologist Interview With Joe (Relationship Counselling Sydney)
Joe is one of our experienced and caring relationship psychologists in Sydney, Wollongong. He provides relationship counselling Sydney.
- What has made you interested in helping couples with their relationships?
As a psychologist and a family therapist I have found that we can at times underestimate the importance of healthy and fulfilling relationships and the impact that they have on our mental and physical wellbeing. I was initially trained as a psychologist to treat individuals and not couples in therapy but most of what affects individuals occurs in the context of relationships and family. Working as a relationship counsellor provides a holistic process and the opportunity to resolve issues using a whole system approach. Relationship counselling Sydney.
- What do you find are the most common relationships problems that you see in couples coming in to see you?
By far the most common problem in couples seeking counselling is to assist with managing and learning to minimise conflict and arguments. It is common for many couples to have conflict or arguments but when this becomes a chronic a negative interaction pattern can become entrenched. It can be helpful for couples to have professional therapy to learn to recognise and change these entrenched patterns of behaviour. Relationship counselling Sydney.
- What are the most common problems for women in relationships?
Frequently women report that they are not being heard by their partner. By this I mean that they are not being understood and cannot get their message across in a way that can facilitate communication. Another related area of concern commonly reported by women is that their partner does not understand that their expression of emotion is normal and even healthy. Men sometimes do not know how to respond this and tend to either try to fix the issue or disengage as they may, for example, feel powerless to affect or change the concerns raised.
- What are the most common problems for men in relationships?
I have found that many men feel that their partner has misinterpreted their intentions. They may not be able to express their feelings and intentions well. They may express anger or that they withdraw emotionally in response to feelings of helplessness which many people find extremely uncomfortable to sit with. A significant number of men may find it difficult to express their feelings and this can lead to a sense of emotional disconnection in their relationship.
- What would you like couple clients to know about the couple counselling process before they come in?
I would like them to know that the counselling process is a process. There will be an opportunity to explore in detail the issues and patterns which have affected the relationship and the issues which are concerning each individual. It is important to be clear that while the therapist has had specific training in relationships and providing therapy to couples, the therapist’s role is to guide and encourage insight, not to give advice or take the side of either party in the relationship. The alliance with the couple is a therapeutic and cooperative relationship and which proceeds in accordance with the priorities and needs of the individual couple involved. I would like couples contemplating therapy to understand that while therapy can be challenging it does not need to be feared or the need to seek therapy viewed as a failure. Therapy is an opportunity to have a fair and equal opportunity to express their perspective in an atmosphere of non judgment.
- If you had one word of advice for couples with children, what would it be?
Teamwork. Relationship counselling Sydney.
- What advice would you give to couples trying to rebuild their relationship after an affair?
This is always a very difficult process to work through for couples. At the time many couples feel that there seems little hope that they can go on to rebuild their relationship. However I have found when couples are motivated to work through the issues and work on the rebuilding many can go forward in their relationship with a better understanding of the specific vulnerabilities and strengths in their partnership. Working through this process requires a lot of time, and a great deal of commitment from both partners. With this couples can go on to experience a stronger and more connected relationship.
- What, for you, are the most important things that couples need to remember if they want their relationship to thrive, instead of just survive?
Healthy and fulfilling relationships do not just happen. As a couple we each need to nurture, provide positive input and regard for our partner. No couple relationship is perfect but when we are mindful and proactive about what we value in a relationship, and we are also mindful and proactive about what our partner values then we are well on the way to a satisfying and emotionally emotional connected partnership. We cannot take for granted our relationship.
- What proportion of your couple clients manage, with your help, to successfully recreate a happy relationship from the difficult one that they came in with?
I have found that sometimes couples can manage to work through and change unhealthy habits and negativity in the relationship very quickly eliminated once they become aware it. For couples that are motivated and prepared to change their behaviour and also do the work at home the majority will benefit and learn to identify the triggers and factors that caused the issues in the first place. Once couples learn to work through the process of change and begin to connect again the success rate is very high. However at times couples come to the decision that they do not wish to continue in the relationship, or one partner is not motivated to continue the relationship. In this instance therapy can also be utilised to assist in managing conflict and agree on how to manage separation.
- What do you find is the most satisfying and fulfilling part of this work that you do?
The most fulfilling aspect of relationship counselling is that you have made a positive difference in terms of couple’s interactions. The most satisfying outcome for me would when a couple do not need to attend anymore as they have made the necessary changes in their relationship and are now connecting well. They can identify and communicate with each other about potential issues and resolve them on their own. I particular find it fulfilling when the improved relationship leads to improvement in the lives of the couple and their children. I work very hard to support couples and where there are children involved to explore with them the impacts on the larger family system to assist them shift in a positive direction.
- What are 3 qualities that your friends and family would describe you as having?
I asked my wife to answer this one, she identified loyal, caring, and determined.
- What are 3 strengths that you have as a Psychologist?
– Practical experience and specific post graduate training in the field of relationship and family counselling.
– The ability to develop rapport and help couples feel comfortable with the therapy process.
– Insight and empathy.
- How many years experience do you have practicing/helping clients?
I have been practicing for over 25 years. I have been employed in the past in the Department of Human Services as a Team Leader for a specialist Behavioural Intervention Team. Early in my career I have worked with families in crisis in my role as a Psychologist for Human Services in Victoria. I have been in Private Practice for over 10 years and have worked with individuals, couples and families.
If you would like to make a booking with Joe or any other of our psychologists, you are welcome to fill out an enquiry form here, or call our friendly receptionists on 1300 830 552.