Psychologist Interview with Charley (Marriage Counselling Perth)

Psychologist Interview with Charley (Marriage Counselling Perth)

relationship counselling PerthCharley is a registered psychologist and an associate member of the Australian Psychological Society and the Australasian Society for Traumatic Stress Studies. She has experience as an adult, adolescent, child and couple therapist and is also a trained trauma specialist. She utilises mindfulness on a regular basis and enjoys seeing people transform as they find calm in the midst of chaos.

To read more about Charley or view her psychologist profile, click here.  Marriage counselling Perth.


  1. What has made you interested in helping couples with their relationships?

I enjoy working with couples. I find the dynamics and the different issues they have interesting. I get a sense of satisfaction in my knowledge and ability to help couples manage their crises.


  1. What are the most common relationships problems that you see in couples coming to you?
  • Infidelity (cheating)
  • Past trauma like childhood sexual abuse interfering with the relationship moving forward
  • Communication
  • Feeling disconnected
  • Conflict avoidance
  • Anger management
  • Sex (erectile dysfunction, porn or sex addiction)


  1. What would you like clients to know about the couple counselling process before they come in?

I prefer to see partners together from the start. I like to be transparent and will state what I see from the start. I will also tell you at the end of the first session, what I plan to do to help you.


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

One word for parents with children – children are our potential. They are small and powerless but what you give them, they will take into the world to create their own lives. You need to give them what they need to do that and grow with them. What you get back, is personal growth and a good relationship with your children. I always believe children deserve respect and in return you get respected.


  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?

Often people come to therapy when they are on the edge of a crevasse and about to fall in. Although I’m used to this and help to manage the crisis before therapy can begin, it’s important to get to counselling therapy as soon as possible. There are answers that I have that you may not have. There are skills I can give you to improve your relationship and help you be happier with each other. We are relationship experts and have the best therapy for you.


  1. What do you find is the most satisfying and fulfilling part of this work that you do?

I enjoy my work with couples because I feel like I’m in my element. There’s so much going on to take notice of. There’s so many dynamics happening in the therapy room. I find it rewarding when I see the changes take place. I feel best equipped to do couple work than any other type of psychology work.


Marriage counselling Perth

If you would like to make a booking with Charley 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.

Overwhelmed? Here are the steps to take to get help

Overwhelmed by hurt, disappointment and worry? Going through difficulties in your relationship can be agonisingly painful, and even more so because of the contrast it gives us from when we were so in love and everything felt so wonderful, safe, and positive. And as well, it often has an upsetting contagion effect on so many other areas of our lives.

There’s not a person alive who hasn’t suffered through relationship troubles. They are part of being human, but we now have ways to make the understanding and recovery of these so much faster.

This is our specialty at the Hart Centre – helping you move from devastation to relationship happiness with some added insight so that you reduce the chance of this particular kind of problem happening again.

So here is the simplest process you might want to follow:

Step 1 Phone us on 1300 830 552 or send us an enquiry email

You will speak to our caring receptionists Libby, Caroline or Michele about how we can help. Usually an in-person counselling appointment with one of our trained relationship psychologists near you will be your best bet, and they can help you choose the best one for you by asking you a few questions and then setting you up with an appointment as soon as possible. Occasionally a Skype appointment may be better for you, if you can’t get to an in-person appointment.


Step 2 Confirming all the details

We’ll then send you a confirmation email with your appointment time, address and directions if you need them; So let your partner know these details too.


Step 3 Get your head together (optional)

If, individually, you have the time and energy before your appointment, it can be helpful to go over in your mind what are the major problems for you, so you can get clearer about the priorities to talk about with your psychologist. He/she will be keen to have each of you talk about the particular problems you are experiencing.

If you don’t have the time or can’t get your head together enough to do this step, don’t worry as your Psychologist can help you get clear about all the things going on in your mind.


Step 4 Go to your First appointment

It can be comforting to know that your Psychologist is very experienced in relationship difficulties and you will find him/her very caring about you and your unique situation.

He /she will want to really hear from each of you. We are trained listeners, so we don’t take sides and we won’t make judgements. By the end of the session he/she will be able to give you an insight and summary of what your problems are and get you started with some specific strategies for how to improve things.

We also make sure to keep a positive approach to help counteract the negativity that often is created when relationship problems are present. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and it may take 6 to 8 sessions for most couples to completely overcome their problems, but you will start by understanding what’s been going on, and feel better and better as you make the changes over the following weeks.


Step 5 Book your next appointments

Make sure you keep up the momentum of positive change by putting time into each making the necessary changes. You’ll find that if both of you put in the effort, amazing improvements will happen the fastest.

We know the art and science of how to create awesome relationships, and we look forward to helping you get started in turning yours around and back into a positive direction.

Did Your Relationship Start on Rocky Ground?

Sometimes one or both people in a relationship struggle to come to terms with the conditions under which it was formed.

Common examples are where:

• trust breaches occurred

• one or both people were already in a committed relationship

• one or both people were in a dysfunctional state such as drug-affected, unwell, or in some sort of crisis

• there was an unplanned pregnancy

• there were some other difficult situational factors such as an illness, injury or a death.

In such circumstances, meeting one another could have been experienced as fraught, upsetting, complex, controversial or shameful in some way, contributing to a sense of the relationship being somehow sullied or spoiled before it had the chance to develop. The memories or perceived impact of these beginnings could seem to be ‘hanging over’ the relationship creating a negative atmosphere and the potential for further damage to be caused.

Regret about the way the relationship was formed can be heightened by a wish that you and your partner had some version of a normal or acceptable beginning, or perhaps even a ‘fairytale’ one that you might have encountered in novels or movies – the type that many people grow up believing or at least hoping will happen to them. These sorts of regrets and fantasies are understandable as it is the nature of the mind to dwell on the past and create idyllic alternative scenarios.

What to do about it

Couples who feel that they missed out on a normal or fairytale beginning to their relationship, yet who seem to have come to terms with it do at least two things well. Firstly, they fa

relationship rocky ground

ce the issue head on. As with so many relationship problems, the key is to develop insights into your own and the other person’s experience. It’s a good idea to encourage each other to tell the story, uninterrupted, of how your relationship was formed. This way each person can develop their understanding of what their partner is carrying with them. There’s no need to try to persu

ade your partner that it wasn’t that bad, only to let them know that you are trying to understand how it might have been for them.

Secondly, these couples give careful thought to how they present the beginnings of the relationship to people outside it. There are three options. The first is to keep the

story completely private. The second is to tell everyone the whole story ‘warts and all’. The third is to agree upon a story that is somewhere between these two options.

An alternative approach is to tell different stories to different people depending on how well you think they’ll understand and not judge you. The important thing here is that each of you is comfortable with how your relationship is being portrayed to others and that your story is consistent with your partners.

A narrative therapy technique

A narrative therapy technique that can be beneficial to couples who are grappling with perceived difficult beginnings to their relationship is known as ‘re-writing the narrative’ or ‘re-storying the relationship’. This is a creative exercise that involves partners expressing how they wished they had met. You can make it as long and elaborate as you like. Just have fun with it. What happens for some couples is that these invented narratives can sit alongside the actual narrative. Over time, especially if you keep embellishing the story with each re-telling, the invented memories may become as compelling and important as your actual ones. I mean, memories are just constructions anyway!

For example:

‘I’d like to think we were secret childhood sweethearts and when we finally ‘came out’, we resisted all comers who tried to break us up.’


‘We actually met at the Beijing Olympic Village after we’d both won gold in the gymnastics. We then retired and spent the next six months as professional dancers on a cruise ship in the Pacific before eloping in Vanuatu.’

Remember, just as many fairytales have tragic endings, many relationships that have a non-fairytale beginning end up being fantastic and fulfilling, perhaps even more so as a result of your overcoming the initial adversity together.

If you’re looking for help with your relationship from one of our experienced psychologists across Australia, please contact us.