Psychologist Interview with Deborah (Relationship Counselling Sydney)

Psychologist Interview with Deborah (Relationship Counselling Sydney)

relationship counselling sydneyDeborah is a registered psychologist and provides marriage and relationship counselling Sydney. She has worked for over 15 years in the private and public sector including education, rehabilitation and private practice.

To read more about Deborah or view her psychologist profile, click here.  Relationship counselling Sydney.


  1. What do you find are the most common relationships problems that you see in couples coming in to see you?
    The most common relationship problems in my practise centre around communication, trust, conflict and intimacy.
    At the heart of many issues is communication: it can diminish intimacy, create conflict and compromise trust. A focus on effective communication can be key to understanding one another’s reality and to find safety to discuss issues knowing that the other may not like what is said but each are able to turn towards one another and feel safe to share what is important. Teaching one another about self but also taking the time to be a good student to learn.
    Becoming aware of negative emotional patterns and dynamics within relationships is another key area. These patterns may arise from our past disappointments and experiences and how we try to get these needs met in our current relationship and in doing so, place a lot of expectations upon our partner.
  2. What are the most common problems for women and for men in relationships?
    Common issues for women in relationships include intimacy, both physical and emotional, lack of communication or unhealthy communication and conflict style, not feeling a priority in the relationship be it around chores, work or children or in general. Other major issues revolve around trust and honesty, lack of commitment or progression in a relationship as well as unmet needs. As well, recurrent unhealthy dynamics created within the relationship or brought from past experiences.
  3. What are the most common problems for men in relationships?
    Common issues for men in relationships in my practice are not so dissimilar to issues for women. Be it a loss of connection or intimacy, lack of desire for their partner or vice versa is a common presentation as is communication difficulties, more specifically around withdrawal, feeling judged or attacked or criticised. An inability to manage conflict in a healthy manner is another as well understanding what the other person in the relationship needs and how to meet those needs.
  4. What would you like couple clients to know about the couple counselling process before they come in?
    Understand that each person has an opportunity to share their perspective around issues that have brought them to seek counselling and that the aim is to create a non-judgemental, safe environment to talk and be honest without fear of shame, blame, judgment or who is right or wrong. It can be perfectly normal to feel nervous and uncomfortable speaking about very private and intimate issues to someone you have never met before. The aim is to create a safe space to work through concerns.
    It can be helpful to prepare some notes around issues you wish to discuss.
  5. What, for you, are the most important things that couples need to remember if they want their relationship to thrive, instead of just survive?
    Children bring many rewards but can also place strains on a relationship, be it as parents of young children or navigating the demands of teenagers. Open communication with listening, healthy conflict management as well as being aligned is important for this next phase of your relationship. Try and make couple time a priority in a time constrained environment as connection can be compromised with all the demands of parenting.
  6. What do you find is the most satisfying and fulfilling part of this work that you do?
    What I find most fulfilling and satisfying is being with my clients in an environment that allows them to move forward and work through their issues and along the way develop self-awareness, self-reflection, embrace change as a positive not as a negative, to be able to reframe to see things from another perspective and to not fear vulnerability. And generally, assist individuals and couples through challenging times to get to a place that works for them in a healthy way.
  7. What are 3 qualities that your friends and family would describe you as having?
    My friends and family would describe me as being kind, patient and trustworthy with a sprinkle of humour!
  8. What are three strengths you have as a psychologist?
    Three strengths I believe I possess are assisting clients to think about things in a different way, an ability to engage and relate with individuals in a warm and empathic manner and to help create understanding and acceptance through a non-judgmental and respectful space.
  9. How many years’ experience do you have practicing/helping clients?
    Over 20 years of experience working with many different client groups including adolescents, adults, couples, LGBT, people from diverse cultural backgrounds as well as individuals with disabilities has created exposure to a very broad range of issues which has been an asset to my practise as a Psychologist to date. It is always a privilege to work with my clients, to have their trust, to hear their stories and to learn from them as much as I hope they learn from me.


If you would like to make a booking with Deborah 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.

Psychologist Interview with Noga (Relationship Counselling Sydney)

relationship counselling sydneyNoga is a Psychologist with 25 years experience. She enjoys working with couples and families on relationship issues to improve skills in communication, problem solving and conflict resolution. Noga provides relationship and marriage counselling Sydney, Crows Nest.

To read more about Noga or view her psychologist profile, click here. Relationship counselling Sydney.


  1. What has made you interested in helping couples with their relationships?
    In my 25 years as a Psychologist, I’ve learnt there are many different ways to “do relationships”. Generally, a strong long-lasting relationship enables two individuals to become “more than two”. That is when the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Good relationships empower individuals to grow, expand, improve and achieve. Good relationships are healing and make healthier and happier individuals. Over the years, I’ve researched, studied and gathered a large reservoir of relationship stories and I feel well-equipped to help individuals and couples create their own blue-print for a successful, long-lasting relationship. Relationship counselling Sydney.
  1. What are the most common relationships problems that you see in couples coming in to see you?
    Most relationship problems stem from communication breakdown. Often, it’s not WHAT you say, but HOW you say it. Fortunately, good communication is a skill – which can be acquired through simple tools and techniques. Unfortunately, many couples seek therapy when there’s a crisis, which creates urgency and desperateness and makes it difficult to focus on communication skills as the basis for problem-solving. However, when couples learn healthy communication skills through counselling – their problem-solving ability improves and big perpetual problems become small and less-frequent.
    Another common problem is the busy-ness of life in the 21st century. Pressures to succeed in careers and relationships create multiple, conflicting demands on individuals. The resulting high prevalence of individual mental health issues often affects relationships (including children and whole families). A non-judgemental counselling process can improve understanding and provide tools to support and deal with these issues.
    Lastly: Fear Of Missing Out. FOMO drives people to seek newer, bigger, better lives. They may “trade-up” (or down?) or sacrifice their relationship for a successful career or an off-shore post. It seems we’re all driven to DO more, rather than BE more. But good relationships are about BEING not about DOING. Counselling can provide a space to discuss and challenge priorities, and agree to make changes.
  1. What are the most common problems for women in relationships?
    Women often struggle with work-life balance, especially professional and working mothers as well as those planning to start a family. They are often tired and at times, resentful about sacrificing brilliant careers and big dreams to become carers and home makers. This often breeds resentment towards male-partners who may be higher-earning, controlling financial decisions and less involved in mundane day-to-day household chores. While good relationships enable two individuals to become “more”, some relationships enable one to be “more” while the other feels “less”. Less achieving, less successful, less fulfilled, less confident. Unfortunately, this is often the woman. Which is why many women wish they had… a wife!
  1. What are the most common problems for men in relationships?
    Men often feel pressure to succeed and if there’s a family – pressure to provide. They work hard, sometimes long hours, and often come home to a woman who expects them to share home/family-chores. Men who work in male-dominated industries, become accustomed to communicating in short, directive style. They may vent frustration/ anger using language which is common in male-circles but inappropriate at home. They often have trouble winding-down after a hard-days-work and at times need a drink (or two…) which sometimes leads to a dependency. Men are less inclined than women to discuss emotional issues. They tend to bottle-up and put on a brave face. This explains the prevalence of depression and anxiety in men. Many men have a difficulty talking to a counsellor, although those able to confront their reservations and open-up benefit enormously through saving their relationships, and themselves.
  1. What would you like couples to know about the couple counselling process before they come in?
    Don’t leave it until it’s too late! Often couples attempt counselling as the last resort before a break up. This creates a crisis intervention mode, desperation and pressure to rescue, which makes it very difficult for everyone. In most cases there are early signs, possibly a long-history of problems. There is no shame in seeking help. A few counselling sessions to discuss a “small issue” can prevent big, expensive interventions later on. Another point: a fruitful counselling process must stay away from the blame-game. Don’t blame your partner. Accept responsibility for your share in the problems, challenge yourself where did YOU go wrong and what can YOU change/ improve. In most cases, both sides are at fault.
  1. If you had one word of advice for couples with children, what would it be?
    This too shall pass… Raising children is stressful and often creates conflict for a couple. This is due to parents being so emotionally-invested in their children. However, life is very busy and time passes quickly. Enjoy the children while they’re here. Sooner or later, they’ll leave the nest. My son has just left home for an interstate university. Overnight, I went from a busy HSC mum to being a part-empty-nester (I have another high-school boy at home but I now know he also won’t stay home forever). I’m partly liberated and excited about new opportunities on the horizon, and partly terrified of the empty-nest stage. Sounds familiar? Anyone? The moral of the story: enjoy each day for the joy it brings and trust yourself and your partner (perhaps with the help of a counsellor) to be able to overcome new challenges. Lastly, I’ve counselled many children over the years and I still do. They suffer enormous distress when their parents are in conflict. It’s best to keep parental conflicts away from the children. Relationship counselling Sydney.
  1. What, for you, are the most important things that couples need to remember if they want their relationship to thrive, instead of just survive?
    A friend of mine, in his 60th birthday speech, thanked his wife of 38 years. He said he never knows who he’ll find in bed the next morning. Wife being an artist, a creative-type, energetic and temperamental at times, unpredictable… It’s the surprise element (good surprises please!), the adventure, the ability to reinvent, regenerate and energise each other. Being able to create, and respond to CHANGE. This is the breath of air, the oxygen that makes a relationship thrive.
    However, a thriving relationship must also survive. What makes a relationship survive?
    Commitment: “for better for worse… in sickness in health…” That’s the “contract”, the bones of the relationship. The more challenges a couple can endure, the stronger the bond between them. How do you know you will survive life’s trials? You don’t. But if you’re committed to each other, then you’re in it together. Come what may. Communication: it is the key to ANY good relationship. Luckily, communication can be a learnt and improved. There are fairly simple rules to good communication and I often teach couples how to apply these and improve their ability to problem-solve. Communication is the blood in the veins of the relationship. It keeps it alive.
    CCC: Commitment and Communication – to survive, Change – to thrive. A good relationship needs all 3Cs.
  1. What do you find is the most satisfying and fulfilling part of this work that you do?
    I love helping people and I feel privileged to do this for a job. When relationships improve, individuals are happier and able to perform better, create and achieve. This is the most rewarding aspect of my work!!!


If you would like to make a booking with Noga 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.

Psychologist Interview with Leanne (Relationship Counselling Sydney)

relationship counselling sydneyLeanne has been a registered psychologist since 2009 and she specialises in relationship counselling. Leanne provides marriage counselling and relationship counselling Sydney, Windsor Downs & Riverstone.

For more information on Leanne, or to view her psychologist profile, click here.


  1. What has made you interested in helping couples with their relationships?
    Relationships are a vital component of life. If a relationship is in trouble it has a flow on effect to the children, friends and other family members. It also affects people financially and emotionally in a way that some people find very difficult to recover from. If I can help a couple to see themselves and their relationship in a different light, to help them see past the hurt and anger and get real with their feelings, then that is a very satisfying feeling. Relationship counselling Sydney.
  1. What do you find are the most common relationships problems that you see in couples coming in to see you?
    There are two main problems that I see over and over. These are discrepancies in libido, where one person has a high sex drive and the other a low sex drive, and the other is difficulties in communication. Both problems can be worked through. It is a matter of understanding each other on a different level. For instance many people with a high sex drive feel that they are being rejected, whilst people with a low sex drive feel that the expectation to “perform” is making the problem worse. Relationship counselling Sydney.
    With the communication there usually is more going on than is initially presented. Sometimes it is a simple matter of putting down the technology and actually talking to each other with no distraction. Getting back to basics, like it was in the beginning where you gave each other 100% of your attention.
  1. What would you like couple clients to know about the couple counselling process before they come in?
    Couples counselling is not a magic solution that can solve all problems instantly. It takes time and commitment. It takes bravery to admit that you are wrong (because there is no blame and we all make mistakes and can learn from this) and it takes real effort from both people to create long lasting change. You have to do things in between sessions, and your therapist will give you tasks to work on. They most likely will be small things but can still be difficult on an emotional level. Relationship counselling Sydney.
  1. If you had one word of advice for couples with children, what would it be?
    Don’t give up. If there is any love left between you work on your relationship. When you hurt each other you are hurting your children too. Don’t think because they are young they do not hear it. Children are very intuitive and even babies can feel the anger in the house. Your children need you to behave like adults, and when we are angry that is not what happens.
  1. What advice would you give to couples trying to rebuild their relationship after an affair?
    There is always a reason that an affair occurs. An affair is a symptom of a problem within the relationship. And, if true forgiveness can occur then a relationship can actually be stronger than it ever was. An affair allows raw honesty of all emotions, problems and solutions. It gives you the opportunity for real growth.
    There are of course exceptions to this, like if the person who has had an affair is still in the affair, blaming their partner for their behaviour  or not acknowledging that what they did was not hurtful.
  1. What, for you, are the most important things that couples need to remember if they want their relationship to thrive, instead of just survive?
    It sounds clichéd but communication is the key. Really talking to each other, not just about day to day things but about actual emotions. And listening. All too often someone tried to express how they are feeling and the other person disregards it with statements like “that’s stupid”, “whatever” or even worse. Often people become defensive when they do not like what they are hearing. But if a couple can learn to listen to each other without cutting each other off, disrespecting the other or blaming then this is when real connection can blossom.
  1. 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?
    This is a really difficult question. If both people attend willingly, still in love and with a desire to change then most of them successfully create change and begin to feel that old feeling again, or at least a new level of respect and understanding of each other. Relationship counselling Sydney.
    If one half of the couple is coerced into attending, still having an affair or ready to leave the relationship then the success rate is much lower.
  1. What do you find is the most satisfying and fulfilling part of this work that you do?
    I truly love it when a couple comes in and says that things are better. It doesn’t really matter how better. Better is better! Especially after one session! But when a couple really starts to see how they are contributing to the problems and how they alone are responsible for their own behaviour that is really very rewarding. Empowering people to make change to their own lives is exactly what this job is all about.


If you would like to make a booking with Leanne 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.

Psychologist Interview With Joe (Relationship Counselling Sydney)

relationship counselling sydney

Joe is one of our experienced and caring relationship psychologists in Sydney, Wollongong. He provides relationship counselling Sydney.

For more information on Joe, or to view his psychologist profile, click here.


  1. 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.


  1. 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.


  1. 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.


  1. 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.


  1. 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.


  1. If you had one word of advice for couples with children, what would it be?
    Teamwork. Relationship counselling Sydney.


  1. 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.


  1. 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.


  1. 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.


  1. 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.


  1. 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.


  1. 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.


  1. 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.

4 Steps to H-E-A-L your Relationship when it goes Off track


Even the strongest relationships get off track sometimes, because of the stresses of living,  mismatches in expectations or either of us being triggered from wounds from the past.

Melanie Greenberg has developed a simple 4 step  H-E-A-L  (Hear – Empathize – Act – Love) technique to repair damaged relationships by replacing defensive self-protection with compassionate presence and loving connection.

HEAR – To Hear Your Partner, Stay Present & Listen

When your partner speaks, make an effort to stay mentally present & listen. Open your heart and take down your defenses. It’s not about defending yourself, but about trying to understand your partner & learning to fulfill each other’s needs.

Listen beyond his/her words for nonverbal signs of emotion. Does he/she have an angry expression on his/ her face or sadness in his/her eyes? Is his/her body language open and reaching towards you or closed off and guarded?

What do you think your partner is feeling? What are the needs he/she has that are not being met (such as for love, companionship, understanding, control,or respect)?

The best way to soothe an angry spouse is to let him know that you hear and & accept his/her unmet needs and are willing to make changes to help meet them.

EMPATHIZE – Allow Your Partner’s Experience to Deeply Affect you

Once you think you understand what your partner feels and have checked it out with him, pay attention to what feelings YOU have when you observe him feeling this way.

It is especially important to search beneath the surface for the softer, tender feelings. My clients often express anger when what lies underneath is feeling stuck, sad, or lonely.

Can you stay present with your partner, and connect with his/her deeper experience, perhaps feeling pain because he/she is in pain?

Can you feel compassion, and let him/her know that his/her expression of pain or anger affects you deeply?

Your first instinct in hearing your partner’s distress may be to try to solve the problem or give advice. Often this advice comes across as critical or judgmental, which makes things worse.

On the other hand, staying emotionally engaged and expressing compassion can provide healing comfort and connection. Many times, that is all he/she needs.

ACT – Take Action to Address Concerns & Show Willingness to Change

The next step is to commit to intentional action to address your partner’s needs and concerns.

These actions can range from helping more with the dishes to calling your partner during the day to let him/her know you are thinking of him/her, to spending less money because it makes her/him anxious.

When your partner sees that you take his/her concerns seriously, he/she will be more likely to feel valued and respected.

This can create a positive cycle in which he/she appreciates you and feels more loving towards you.

You don’t have to be perfect at it – just the fact that you care and are trying to change is enough to help most people feel validated.

 LOVE – Feel and Express Unconditional Love

Make space in your life to deliberately reconnect with the loving feelings you have for your partner, even if recent interactions have made you feel distant or angry.

Think about the good qualities he/she has that originally attracted you to him/her.  Perhaps look at old photos or visualize special times in your relationship and the hopes and dreams you had together.

Can you find a way to forgive yourself and your partner for the mistakes you have both made that got you off track? What do these feelings of love motivate you to do? Might you want to reach out to him/her and express your love and affection physically or with action, such as cooking a meal or writing a note?

Love is defined as a concern for another’s wellbeing and a warm feeling you have towards another. Do not make your expressions of love contingent on what your partner does, but rather reach out and express unconditional caring, support, understanding and forgiveness.

If there are unresolved trust issues that hamper your ability to love your partner freely, think about the next steps you could take to air these issues and what it would take to rebuild trust.


Contrary to the way relationships are portrayed in the movies, they are not all sunsets and roses. A better analogy is that of an ever-changing, complicated dance.

When two people come together with different life histories, sensitivities, and current stresses, you are bound to bump up against each other or get blown off track over the course of a many-year relationship.

Repair your relationship using the H-E-A-L technique. By Hearing, Empathizing, Acting to Change, & Loving, you are actively reaching for your partner and letting them know that they matter and you care. This should create HEALING energy to move your relationship back to health.

If you need further help with any of these techniques, give us a ring and book in for a relationship counselling session.

More on why our relationship not go the way we want them to in in our next blog.

Warmest regards


Are you neglecting your relationship?


Remember the days when you first met your wife or husband?

Those wonderful romantic sexy days when you loved being in each other’s company and could talk for hours. You would do those special things for each other just to see the look of delight on his/her face. They were the days when your relationship was rich and vibrant and you felt fully alive because of it.

Now the “Limerance” stage is long gone, as it always does………. but have you replaced it with an even better version of a deeper fuller love? …..Or have you been taking your loved one for granted and busying yourself with other “more pressing” things, like jobs and children and work around the home, and finances and friends?

One of the most common themes I find in my private practice as a Psychologist specializing in Relationships is a “natural neglect” in secure relationships.

Even though everything in your shared life is based on a foundation of your love for each other, and your shared life, it’s all too easy to take for granted that your relationship will always be there, without realizing that it, too, needs attending to and nurturing.

Perhaps you could check in with your partner and ask him/her how happy he or she is in your relationship, on a scale of 1 to 10. Then follow it with the more important question of “What would have to happen to make it a 10 for you?”

Keeping your relationship alive and vibrant needs ongoing attention, but not only does it make for a more enjoyable life, but is one of the most enduring aspects of a life well lived.

In the twilight years of one’s life, thoughts more often than not turn to how well did I love and be loved, rather than how much money will I die with.

If you’ve let your relationship go, a relationship counsellor can show you, in a few sessions, how to bring back the vibrancy, chemistry and love again.

Watch out for our next blog when I report to you some beautiful advice from a divorced man.

Warm regards


Funny, you don’t look twoish


Beyond Freud, beyond Jung, beyond Myers Briggs lies a personality typing system known as the Enneagram. And whether you’re an overachieving pit bull lawyer or a hopelessly romantic wanna-be poet, it’s got your number.

I’m a One.   I do have other qualities, of course.

Still, the discovery of my Oneness – in Enneagram terms – has revealed more to me about my unconscious patterns, habitual preoccupations, underlying fears, and misused strengths than any model I’ve come across in all my psychological training.

What sets the Enneagram apart is that it contains such detailed useful information about what drives us to behave as we do. It’s valuable not just to understand yourself, but also as a source of insights into your friends, family, colleagues and even those you don’t like.

Each personality type on the Enneagram is marked by a central fixation or passion. The result is a narrow, habitual and often defensive way of perceiving the world that deeply influences what we think and feel and how we behave.

The moment we can recognize our type, we have observed ourselves in reality. This personality type was put in place for good reason, but most of us identify with it, believing this is all we are. The Enneagram shows us that there is something else – a higher self, an essence, a soul – that the personality obscures.

As a One, for instance, my fixation is resentment. This was not easy for me to see at first, as I always prided myself in how I always did the right and responsible thing both in terms of things that needed doing and also with people that I had relationships with. However when I looked deeper I realized that I was often feeling underlying resentment, a resentment about how and why others seem to get away with not doing the right and responsible thing.

When you can look at each of the others who are close to you in your life from the deeper perspective of their Enneagram type, you can see that others see the world very differently form you, but just as narrowly.  Two’s for example, grow up ruled by a constant hunger to win approval from others, even at the cost of suppressing their own needs. Fives cultivate detachment and minimize their needs in order to avoid feeling overwhelmed – but often end up isolated and cut off from intimate relationships.

When you recognize these underlying dynamics, it opens the door to healthier states of mind and much greater personal freedom,  not to mention a far better understanding of your partner and all those you relate to, improving your relationships.

If you are interested in discovering what your type is and more about yourself or those you are relating to, you can book in for a face to face session, or phone or skype session with me.

….More details of the types in the next blog.

Until next week

Warm regards


Forget relationship counselling: We are just too different


“We are just too different for our relationship to work, and so relationship counselling is a waste of time”.  I had a new client say this to me this week, and it is a common thing for people to think.

But nothing could be further from the truth, so I thought I’d fill you in on what I have found from  relationship counselling with thousands of couples in trouble.

Have you ever thought what it would be like if your partner was exactly like you in every way? To start with, it would be physically impossible, but even it it was possible, would you really want it? Someone who was a clone of you except for the sexual anatomy?

Boring boring boring!

It is differences that make life interesting, it’s differences that give you advantages, it’s differences that give you other perspectives, it’s differences that balance you out.

It is often the differences that attract you to your partner when you first meet. For example you loved her fun loving nature because you are very serious; you were attracted to his neat organised structured way, as you were disorganised and forgetful.

Every couple has areas that they are different. There is no inherent problem with being different from your partner. The problem is only with how you handle the differences. couples counselling for recovering from an affair

For every couple, there will be differences that are so great that you feel you are polar opposites, each sitting on the outside edge of the continuum when compared with each other. For example: very responsible versus playful and fun loving, or very social versus a homebody.

The key factor in whether you see this as a huge problem or a huge gift, is whether you judge your partner or not. Do you sit at the end of your continuum looking over at your partner saying, or thinking “He’s such a jerk or an annoyance. Why doesn’t he do things like I do?”

Well, if so, you are wasting a huge amount of energy, not to mention a huge opportunity to see the gift your partner is giving to you.

If one of you is reliable and responsible and the other is fun loving, each of you is a gift to each other. Becoming more spontaneous and fun loving is just what the overly responsible one needs, and similarly, picking up more responsibility is just what the fun loving one needs too.

If  you can handle it as a gift both to each other and the relationship, you can enrich your relationship with your differences. The only thing stopping you is your sense of superiority and judgement which is the thing that will be killing your relationship, not the differences.

If you’re interested in further exploring relationship counselling, we’d love to hear from you.

More next time



Ever been over-reactive in your relationship?

If you are human, you will recognise that there are times in your relationship when something that your partner says or does hits a “nerve” or a “raw spot” for you. These sensitivities are also called “hot buttons“.

We all have them, and when abraded, they bleed all over our relationship, making us lose our emotional balance and plunge into reactive and defensive ways of communicating.

So, what are they, and where did they come from?

They are hyper-sensitivities formed by moments either in your past (usually childhood) or your current relationship when your attachment needs have been repeatedly neglected, ignored or dismissed, resulting in you feeling deprived and relationship over activedeserted.

As children, we all need nurturance, listening and empathy, protection and encouragement. When our care takers were not aware, or able to give us these things, we shrunk into ourselves from a pain beyond our awareness, giving us a sense of personal shame, as if we somehow weren’t deserving of these things.

Then on any future occasions when similar themes occur, these raw spots are activated again and we become reactionary, sometimes without consciously knowing why. We have been triggered, and we’re fighting back before we know it.

They cannot be forgotten or left behind, and they cannot be resolved in the present context without some awareness of what they are and the significance of them to us.

It is crucial for us to find a way to explore these in an emotionally supportive environment, where the hurt  has arisen from, and the significance to us, in order to be able to release ourselves from the power that they have to derail our relationships.

Relationship and marriage counselling can help you each sensitively explore what your raw spots are, and where and why you each over-reactive to things. Most people find it an extremely helpful process to make these discoveries, and to listen, support and understand their partner’s process or discovery as well. Clients often report feeling closer than they ever felt before to each other after these explorations.

For quality relationship counselling from any of our 80+ specially trained Psychologists throughout Australia, you can contact the Hart Centre Australia.

Till next time

Kind regards


Affairs: the 7 reasons why they happen

Most people entering a marriage or long term relationship are doing so hoping and trusting that it will be a monogamous relationship; so the discovery of an affair is a huge betrayal of that bond and trust with devastating effects on the partner and the relationship.

An affair certainly signals that there is a problem in the relationship, but most affairs are symptoms rather than the cause of the problems.

A key question to ask is “What problem in your relationship did the affair solve?”


Julia Cole in her recently revised book “After the Affair” has noted that there are 7 types of affairs each with their own associated reasons. They are:

1. The Door opener Affair:

This usually happens when a partner feels they have had enough of their relationship and is looking to set up another one because they are no longer emotionally connected or committed to their current partner. It provides someone to hold their hand as they exit their relationship.


2. The 3 legged stool Affair:

This is usually a long term affair that the partner knows about. When pressures get too much to handle in a relationship, one partner has an affair which gives him/her an emotional safety valve and relieves this pressure, and then the couple can spend their time wrangling about his/her unfaithfulness, rather than the original issues.


3 The Revenge Affair:

This is usually a short affair, but comes about because one partner has been hurt or betrayed, often by their partner being unfaithful. It can be experienced as a way to re-establish a sense of self esteem, or of a way to express their deep hurt for 8164886_mwhat their partner has done.


Stay tuned for the next 4 reasons affairs happen in my next blog next week.

If you have had an affair, or your partner has, you can be helped to work through this by seeing a relationship counsellor.