Psychologist Interview with Katie (Marriage Counselling Perth)

Psychologist Interview with Katie (Marriage Counselling Perth)

relationship counselling ardrossKatie has been practicing as a psychologist for over 12 years. During this time, she has developed a passion for working with couples and families as she believes these relationships can be central to the well being and health of individuals.

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

 

 

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

My initial experience as a psychologist was working with individuals and I soon became aware of how significant our relationships are and the impact they have on our mental health. This lead me to working with both couples and families as a whole and I have seen a significant improvement in outcomes, particularly long term.

 

2. What are the most common relationships problems that you see in couples coming to you?

The most common problem cited by clients are communication issues. This often relates to differences in how affection is expressed or valued; differences or difficulties in expressing how a person feels, or blaming their partner for how they feel; or expecting your partner to predict your needs. Often therapy involves getting back to basics and getting to know your partner again, what their hopes or dreams are both individually but also for the relationship.

 

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

This is an opportunity to move past those issues that have become gridlocked and result in having the same fights over and over. It is not a matter of deciding who is right or wrong or resolving a particular issue, but rather developing the skills in order to manage all conflict that will bring about lasting change.

 

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

By committing to improve your relationship you are effectively helping your family as a whole.

 

5. What advice would you give to couples trying to rebuild their relationship after an affair?

If both parties have a desire to remain in the relationship and are willing to follow the process in order to repair and forgive then the result can be a more open, honest and fulfilling relationship than you’ve ever had.

 

6. What, for you, are the most important things that couples need to remember if they want their relationship to thrive, instead of just survive?

Remember the reasons why you chose to be with your partner, and continue to choose your partner on a daily basis. This enables you to focus on your partner’s positive qualities rather than only seeing the negatives. Also small things matter, sometimes it’s the smallest of changes that can have the biggest impact.

 

Relationship counselling Perth and Couples counselling Perth.

If you would like to make a booking with Katie 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 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.

Psychologist Interview with Chris (Online Marriage Counselling)

chris online counsellingChristine offers online counselling through Skype or Zoom. She is a registered psychologist with 14 years of diverse experience in private practice as well as psychology consulting to the private sector in Australia, USA and UK. Christine is an associate member of the Australian Psychological Society.

To read more about Chris or view her psychologist profile, click here.  Online Marriage counselling.

 

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

To be in true connection with another, where we can feel secure, loved, bonded, valued, respected and as though we have a companion and ‘fellow adventurer’ through all that life has on offer, is so beautiful. I know from my own background and family history, that I have carried some beliefs, ways of being and self-perceptions that have not always led to having rich and meaningful connection in a partner relationship. Having explored and ‘trial tested’ on myself a wide-range of strategies (from wide and varied sources and perspectives) to heal my own blocks to being in a healthy union, I feel so blessed to be able to share what I personally have had work for me, with others who may be desiring to create and maintain a loving relationship with their partner, family members and so on.

  1. What are the most common relationships problems that you see in couples coming to you?

As I reflect on this question, after seeing couples over the past 13 years, there are some clear and consistent challenges that couples often want to move beyond. They include:

  • Not feeling seen, heard, valued or respected by their partner
  • How to communicate lovingly and in a way that meets the needs of each other
  • How to work through conflicts that may arise so both people can have their needs met
  • How to keep the love and ‘spark’ alive once kiddos are part of the equation
  • How to make the couple relationship a priority when life is so busy, and life seems so full of routine
  • How to keep intimacy and sex-life awesome
  • Navigating a fly-in-fly-out (FIFO) lifestyle if one person works away from home
  • How to work together as a couple with challenging family members (e.g. in-laws, own parents, ex-partners who may be a co-parent, step-kids)
  • How to survive an affair
  • Anger issues
  • How to support a partner with depression, anxiety, high-stress etcetera
  • How to transition from being partners to parents
  • How to stay connected when have different parenting styles

 

  1. What would you like clients to know about the couple counselling process before they come in?
  • Both parties need to be genuinely committed to the common goal of having the relationship succeed
  • New ways of thinking and behaving takes time, effort, and consistency – there are no ‘one-hit-wonders’ and both parties in the couple need to make the effort required for sustainable change to happen
  • Transparency, vulnerability, honesty, and being able to have the hard conversations in sessions (and back in daily life), so both people genuinely understand each other’s perspective is vital
  • Understanding that a range of tools and strategies may be needed for long-term success – there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ process
  • All sessions with me are needs-based to each couple I work with
  • I will ask you to explore, try-out, play with, and adapt the tools and skills we go through in sessions at home – you will need to have a felt-sense that they work for you, in your unique circumstances
  • If there is love between a couple – ANY challenge can be overcome!

 

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

Self-Care

 

  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?
  • Being present for each other on a daily basis is important
  • Be willing to have conversations that may be difficult – where you say what is real for you whilst being respectful to yourself and your partner
  • Genuinely listen to each other without being defensive or judgemental
  • Do not let things fester
  • Take accountability for what you contribute to the relationship when it is going great and going poorly
  • Commit to recognising there is history in your relationship and then focus on what factors will lead to health moving forward
  • Both parties need to be constantly investing time, energy, presence, love, kindness, quality communication, honesty and vulnerability
  • Be mutually supportive of one another
  • ‘Choose’ each other every day – invest time in identifying what you love and appreciate about each other

 

  1. List 5 qualities that your friends and family would describe you as having.
  • Genuine
  • I call it as I see it
  • Intuitive
  • Problem-solver
  • Respectful

 

  1. List 5 strengths that you have as a Psychologist.
  • I tend to see what lies under the surface that can be difficult for the client when they are ‘in it’
  • Non-judgemental
  • Present
  • Adaptable and flexible in co-creating strategies (with the client) and solutions that are based on the needs of each client’s unique needs
  • I never ask a client to try tools and strategies that I have not rigorously trialled on myself

 

  1. How many years’ experience do you have practicing/helping clients?

I have been a registered psychologist since 2004

Online Marriage counselling.

If you would like to make a booking with Chris 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 Peter (Marriage Counselling Adelaide)

Peter’s passion is Relationship and Marriage Counselling in his Adelaide clinic. Peter’s services are available in his own dedicated, personal, and homely counselling consulting room, or by Skype or telephone. Expert relationship counselling Adelaide.

To read more about Peter or view his psychologist profile, click here.  Marriage counselling Adelaide.

 

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

Relationships make people happy. Happy people are sociable. Good relationships raise the potential for very happy couples. Relationships with our partner helps define our lives, along with our other relationships with our colleagues, children, parents, close friends. When relationships are glowing, so are we. We can make relationships glow, because we can decide the terms of our relationships. Improving our relationship with one person increases our potential to improve other relationships. Counselling for relationships helps people become happier.

 

  1. What do you find are the most common relationships problems that you see in couples coming in to see you?

I see five categories of relationship problems:

(1) when a relationship isn’t working, it may be that one or both people is not feeling secure. Someone is not safe being who they are. Living through positive values and beliefs helps people transcend problems and allows relationships to flourish;

(2) People need to be mentally, emotionally, and physically fit to make relationships work. Energy is important. It encourages thinking and reduces impulsivity, making assumptions, and increases and maintains effort. Self-regulation and managing energy are powerful forces for healthy relationships;

(3) A relationship is a system. It has many interconnecting parts, a Kabbalah of interacting aspects of relational life which create a unique culture built of knowledge, experience, and creativity, which fills all members with confidence. Relationships are about activity, decision-making, problem solving, building trust, and weeding out toxicity. Conceiving a relationship as a system develops patience and tolerance, and helps people make the right call at difficult moments;

(4) Adaptability. Over time in a relationship people play many parts from friend, through lover, to partner, husband/wife, mother/father, maybe business partner, aged parent, ex-husband/wife and so on. These mental, emotional, and behavioural shifts require different ways of meeting our needs and wants and meeting our intentions and expectations while remaining authentic and allowing new versions of the people in the relationship to develop;

(5) Making choices rather than falling into habits. We always have choices, and making choices creates personal power and control, and also develops responsibility. We are responsible for our relationships.

 

  1. What are the most common problems for women and men individually in relationships?

Relationships prosper when the above factors start to operate freely. Problems in these five areas affect men and women equally, but sometimes differently, in relationships, and I find it a useful template for seeking out the nature of problems. Marriage counselling Adelaide services.

 

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

People will be given support and practical guidance to develop confidence and skills to develop their relationship their own way and deal with relational stress, so they find the pathway they are looking for to take them from their present sate to the one they desire.

 

  1. What has been the couple you remember who has made the biggest turnaround, from being in severe trouble to transforming their relationship into a happy loving one?

A couple who separated on the birth of their child, because the father did not want a child, and believed he was talked into having the child, who later in the year re-united and the husband became a very loving and happy father and husband with a very contented and loving wife in a great relationship, and who are now contemplating a second child together.

 

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

Happy parents = happy children — refer to Q1

 

  1. What advice would you give to couples trying to rebuild their relationship after an affair?

Respect and accept the pain of the faithful partner to help rebuild trust, be open and disclosive to reduce distress in this partner and in the relationship, acknowledge the pain of your faithful partner to open the gateway for healing, take responsibility, avoid defensiveness, and both partners should expect setbacks and painful feelings, should maintain boundaries and avoid anything that creates risk, and he non-faithful partner must close off the affair, while both should e mindful of meaning about what happened and live in the present, and realise there will be pain on both sides so both people need to face fears, grief, losses, and need to examine the personal decision making in the relationship, as per Q2.

 

  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?

The information in Q2 is relevant here. Couples need to be relationship ready, with their mind, brain, body system in the right place, and know that coming together as a couple requires skills and learning each can acquire, so it becomes important for couples to take up the tools, techniques, and strategies to create and build lasting relationships. Relationships incur trouble spots and

disagreements, which means also acquiring the means to deal with them, which refers to all aspects of effective communication, understanding, and appreciation. Finally, if you find yourself in a rut, throw away the shovels. If you keep on doing what you have always done, you will dig deeper and get what you’ve always had. Change, and some new beginnings are called for.

 

  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?

It depends how success is judged. Some relationships end in counselling, and sometimes only one walks away happy, sometimes both have sense of happiness and relief. Occasionally, one person is attempting to use the counselling process against another, and find when they cannot do this, they exit the process. Often the other person stays! At times, a person can uncover the nature of the personality of the other, and change the way they process through counselling with greater empowerment. At other times couples work systematically through problems to happiness.

 

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

The new beginnings people create. Personal power, growth of personality, growth in knowledge and skills, and development of creativity is like money in the bank for couples. It can be saved and spent wisely and becomes useful and enriching, optimising the relationship. New insights can be created and the relational Kabbalah enriched. Seeing couples using their growth and energy to make changes can be personally satisfying. Seeing life together through new and different eyes, seeing people create new and significant options for themselves, watching couples grow and work towards their dream, while developing resilience, relapse prevention, and preparing for difficulties, all as part of core competencies, is satisfying and fulfilling, as you see what they have achieved.

 

  1. List 3 qualities that your friends and family would describe you as having.

My Wife tells me I have good interpersonal skills, and I express myself well, and I am intuitive, warm, and accepting, empathic, and focused on the client, encouraging them to do the work. I will leave it at that.

 

  1. List 3 strengths that you have as a Psychologist.

It is said I am helpful, mindful, effective, and that I reduce distress and promote good mental health while encouraging prevention through the work I do. It is for others to say.

 

  1. How many years’ experience do you have practicing/helping clients?

The APS sent me a 20 year membership award at the start of last year. The two years before that 20 years commenced I worked in a community health centre. The five years prior to that I worked as a Lecturer in Psychology, following a stint as a student counsellor. Marriage counselling Adelaide.

 

Marriage counselling adelaide.

If you would like to make a booking with Peter 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 Ros (Marriage Counselling Adelaide)

Relationship Counselling AdelaideRos has worked in a variety of practice settings for over 15 years. She now specialises in relationship counselling with individuals, couples and families. She is a psychologist, family therapist and a qualified family mediator.

To read more about Ros or view her psychologist profile, click here.  Marriage counselling Adelaide.

 

 

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

Modern couples have come to expect a more equal partnership in their relationship which is a major shift in perspective. The fact that the majority of relationships break down means that many people do not have the necessary skills to do relationships and need help. These skills are learnable and will make a difference to whether relationships last and thrive or are chronically miserable. People who are in thriving relationships are generally happy, resilient and healthy. They are also effective parents. Therefore healthy relationships contribute to individual well being and protect against mental distress. For all these reasons and more, I find that the couple client is a very important and interesting group to work with.

 

2. 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 comprise of the inability to manage conflict effectively; emotional distance between the partners due to exclusive focus on work, children; sexual and emotional distancing; power struggles in narcissistic relationships; and affairs. Essentially, distressed couples have forgotten how to be generous and kind to each other.

 

3. What are the most common problems for women in relationships?

The most common problems for women are that they can not trust their partners to be there for them when they need them and that there is not enough intimacy and emotional connection. These complaints cause them to distrust their men’s reliability, accountability and whether they will be “met”, emotionally.

 

4. What are the most common problems for men in relationships?

The most common problems for men in relationships  are that there is too much fighting and there’s not enough sex. They are often lonely, and actually want more emotional connection

The most common problems for men originate from how they have been socialised as boys to be “unemotional” and not to show “vulnerability”.

When conflicting with their partner, they are at a loss and react by shutting down and emotionally withdrawing.

Men assume that they have to fix the problem central to the conflict and women tend to reinforce that position. When they fail, men experience a deep shame and feelings of failure and defectiveness. These feelings make them confused and they turn away from their partners therefore worsening the situation.

 

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

They need to understand that each person will be listened to in an even-handed way, that I would encourage them to speak in turn about their issues from an “I”- position and when not speaking, to listen with respect and as openly as possible. I will also be inviting them to tell me what they expect from therapy, how they might know that therapy is successful.

 

6. What has been the couple you remember who has made the biggest turnaround, from being in severe trouble to transforming their relationship into a happy loving one?

The couple I remember are a professional couple in their 40s, he was a banker and she was a management consultant and they had met during their internships at a major company. They had big incomes, three teenage children and their busy lifestyle was made possible by support from her parents and a housekeeper. They appeared to be the polished couple who had it all but when they came to see me, they had not been sexually intimate for 4 years. Underneath their glamorous exterior, they were emotionally disconnected. Therapy was their last attempt to repair.

Over 18 months, I saw them using the Gottman approach for several sessions and then individually. On their own, each expressed a deep sadness and longing for the other. She was repeatedly disappointed by his inability to be there for her and he was intimidated by her strong intellect and capability. Eventually, he decided to leave and was surprised by her distress when he told her. She was also surprised by her vulnerability and in a joint session, she was able to speak to him from her vulnerability and he was able to get over his anxiety, reach out and comfort her. In a poignant moment she was able to tell him that she needed him to care and protect her and that she no longer wanted to be the “iron lady”. He confessed that he was intimidated by her confident exterior which made him feel diminished and disrespected. She was able to hear him and they both committed to keep talking and to reengage.

 

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

Make one another your main priority and keep being curious abut each other’s changing needs and fears. Good relationships are incrementally built by one positive interaction at a time.

 

8. What advice would you give to couples trying to rebuild their relationship after an affair?

While affairs can be the cause for divorce, research shows that most affairs begin in an attempt to find friendship, support, attention, caring, consent and respect outside a relationship because of the severe lack of these qualities. The betraying partner is often emotionally disconnected from the other.

There are three phases to recovery: atone, attune and attach and it will be slow.

 

9. What, for you, are the most important things that couples need to remember if they want their relationship to thrive, instead of just survive?

  • Spend time together on a regular basis and communicate in a relaxed manner about your desires and dreams
  • Maintain your personal interests within reason because this will breed resentment
  • Support each other’s passions and dreams
  • Learn to maintain an open-ended dialogue and learn to be a good listener; learn to take turns
  • Avoid the “blame game”. It is human to be wrong; reflect before blaming
  • Foster your relationships with family and friends; don’t isolate yourselves into a “twosome”.
  • Ramp up your positive interactions; avoid bad behaviour and realise that you need to do more than “I’m sorry” to repair a rupture
  • Have realistic expectations; every relationship has problems and research shows that 2/3rds are unsolvable and the skills to manage and repair disruptions can be learned.

 

10. 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 estimate that 75 – 80 % of my couple clients find new hope and learn new ways to manage conflict and increase their appreciation of each other.

 

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

The most satisfying part of this work has always been to witness very difficult cases achieve the impossible, to witness how the human spirit can rekindle and try one more time; to have the privilege of making a difference to one life.

 

12. List 3 qualities that your friends and family would describe you as having.

I actually asked the question of two close friends and was told: empathy, intelligence and kindness; and curious, persistent, diligent (comments from a GP).

 

13. List 3 strengths that you have as a Psychologist.

My first strength is my breadth of knowledge areas. My first training in the biological sciences in which I specialised as a researcher in molecular biology. This gives me a felt understanding of the interconnectedness of physiological and energy systems which readily extends to relational systems and body-mind connections. I readily use biofeedback techniques and concepts in my treatment approach and I look for opportunities to enhance connectivity. The interpersonal neurobiology pioneered by Dr Dan Siegel fits nicely in this framework. My second training is in sociology which introduced the whole areas of inequality and gender dynamics and the formation-dissolution of groups, of organizational politics and policy-making, of the power of social influence at community and national levels. My third training is in psychology which enables me to develop instruments/ approaches to put into effective practice at a person to person level. My fourth training is my doctoral thesis in gender and education which brings into sharp focus the intersection of family, social and national dilemmas in our modern globalised society. Writing the dissertation enabled me to pull together a good amount of my past trainings, and developed my ability to think in a hard-nosed evidence – based way when working in therapy.

My second strength is my interest in keeping up-to-date with effective treatment approaches. For example, the two outstanding marital therapy approaches are the Gottman approach which is based on longitudinal research findings over 40 years and Sue Johnson’s Emotion Focused Therapy (EFT) which has been shown to have lasting results following intervention. I have trained in Levels 1,2,and 3 in the Gottman Approach and I have done the externship in EFT and will be pursuing Core Skills training in 2018.

My third strength is my ability to draw on my vast background in helping clients and running programs. I have been a researcher in academia and a high school school teacher. I have worked in palliative care, in child adolescent mental health, in prison, in the defence force, in EAP, and in private practice in doctors’ rooms and in my own practice. I have been instrumental in bringing a behavioural program to South Australia and in the installation of the Canadian Sex offender and Violent Offender treatment programs into South Australian Corrections. I have an appreciation of the FIFO lifestyle and the impact on relationships as my work at Defence SA required me to travel to Defence bases across the country at short notice and to be on-call for emergencies for deployed forces. As such, I have counselled in almost all kinds of settings: in a prison cell, aboard an aeroplane, in hospital wards, in coffee shops, by telehealth, in classrooms and in home visiting. I have collaborated with all types of allied health, school staff, military staff and medical staff. Marriage counselling adelaide.

 

14. How many years experience do you have practicing/helping clients?

I have been a practicing psychologist for 7 years and before that a clinical social worker and family therapist for 16 years. Therefore, I have been working in the couple/family space for 23 years.

Marriage counselling adelaide.

If you would like to make a booking with Ros 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 Joanna (Marriage Counselling Perth)

relationship counselling PerthJoanna is a highly qualified registered psychologist in Perth who provides therapy for people of all ages, including families and couples. She provides a confidential and professional service and is committed to ensuring that all clients receive the highest standard of care and a positive experience of counselling. Marriage counselling Perth

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

1. What has made you interested in helping couples with their relationships?
I think that a supportive, trusting, loving relationship can be the most amazing experience in our lives. I think that if both people are committed to achieving the relationship that they really want, then they can have that.

 

2. What do you find are the most common relationships problems that you see in couples coming in to see you?
Communication issues are the main problem that I see. Not identifying their own feelings, which means we cant communicate those feelings to our partner. Also, outside stressors being reflected into the relationship.

 

3. What are the most common problems for women in relationships?

A feeling of a lack of emotional connection with their partner.

 

4. What are the most common problems for men in relationships?

A difficulty expressing emotion and communication, and a misunderstanding of why intimacy is important to a man in a relationship.

 

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

That my job is to help the couple reach what THEY want to achieve in a relationship. That I will see both of their points of view and will really understand where each person is coming from. And that my job is to consider all of the factors to understand what the roadblocks are to achieving their goals. Also, I am a complete optimist and absolutely believe that if you do the work, you will see the outcome. Also, it’ going to be hard work sometimes to change patterns of behaviour.

 

6. What has been the couple you remember who has made the biggest turnaround, from being in severe trouble to transforming their relationship into a happy loving one?

A couple who had been so committed to attending regularly, and who were totally open to hearing how their approaches towards each other would need to be different. Whilst of course, there was sometimes defensiveness, their trust in my goal (which is their goal) really allowed them to make some amazing changes.

 

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

One word’s a bit hard – I’ll try one sentence. It’s about you guys first, the rest will follow.

 

8. What advice would you give to couples trying to rebuild their relationship after an affair?

Patience and true compassion. These two things are the absolute key.

 

9. What, for you, are the most important things that couples need to remember if they want their relationship to thrive, instead of just survive?

Putting each other first, compassion, appreciation, treating each other like their most prized possession. I say to couples, that having someone in your life that wants to be open and share their most vulnerable secrets, fears and dreams is a privilege and should be treated as such.

 

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

Seeing people be really engaged in the process and be on board with being open – that way you know even when they’ve finished therapy, they can continue this way if they wish to.

 

11. List 3 qualities that your friends and family would describe you as having.

Warmth, caring, supportive

 

12. List 3 strengths that you have as a Psychologist.

Rapport building, an interest in a wide range of presentations and conditions, being open to diversity (including philosophy’s, religions and cultures.

 

13. How many years experience do you have practicing/helping clients?

9 marriage counselling Perth

 

14. What is the question/fear that most couples express?

Most couples say to me at some stage, “I’m worried that it wont last” (the changes), or “I’m worried that it wont work”. To which I say there is no “it” YOU’re the “it”. You decide whether you make sure you’re working on the changes or not, you decide whether you make those changes long term or not. Offering marriage counselling Perth.

 

If you would like to make a booking with Joanna 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 David (Marriage Counselling Perth)

relationship counselling PerthDavid is an experienced clinical psychologist with a history of helping couples with relationship issues. In his practice he sees men, women and couples wishing to improve their lives and deal more effectively with problems of mood regulation, difficult emotions, life change and substance abuse.

To read more about David or view his psychologist profile, click here.  Marriage counselling Perth.

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

I have always been interested in ways and means to reduce suffering. For most people the most significant part of their personal life has to do with their relationships. Initially this is as children growing up in a family. Then as young adults forming significant friendships and romantic relationships. Finally as established adults we form a primary caring partnership with another adult.

Our relationships contain the core of what concerns us.  Understanding how to improve relationships and reduce conflict within our primary relationship yields the most significant rewards in terms of personal growth and happiness. I have seen many couples benefit from relationship therapy.

In terms of my interest in helping couples I also feel satisfied that my interests and skills provide a good match with the work required in couples counselling. I feel confident in getting positive outcomes as couples are generally highly motivated and results are fairly quickly achieved (which is gratifying for everyone).

 

  1. What do you find are the most common relationships problems that you see in couples coming in to see you?

‘Communication’ is the term most commonly used by couples coming to therapy to describe their ‘problem’. However the term ‘communication’ covers a range of different issues. Some of them have to do with the manner in which partners approach conflict. Some of them have to do with central question of “how close shall we be?” There are often differences in the degree of  emotional intimacy that each partner prefers. There are often differences in expectations about what is ‘OK’ and what is not  ‘OK’ – classically around the use of alcohol, amount of time out with friends etc. Then there are ‘boundary’ issues. These concern difference in expectation about how we should be with different people including mothers, other family members, work colleagues and ex partners. There are other communication issues that concern the degree to which each partner understands and listens to the other.

Another common problem is the degree to which either or both partner feels respected and/or appreciated.

Apart from what may be described  as ‘communication’ issues there are a range of issues that could be described as “trust issues” from present or past infidelities, emotional affairs, jealousies and differences with expectations of interpersonal behaviour.

Then there are a range of sexual issues, from mismatched libidos to differences in attitudes to sex as well as sexual preferences.

Each individual is unique and each couple is especially unique so the particular issues pertaining to a couple needs to be sensitively explored as it usually involves a combination of individual and relationship problems. Delicate exploration opens up a dialogue where intentions, visions and perspectives can be understood better to enhance the quality of the relationship.

 

  1. What are the most common problems for women in relationships?

Although it is hazardous to generalise, in my experience women are generally better communicators than men and also care about the quality of the relationship more than men.

Of course there are many exceptions to this broad generalisation. In being keenly aware of the quality of the relationship in terms of its level of intimacy, co-operation and appreciation, when relationships are deteriorating, becoming stale or routine it will usually be the woman who is concerned. They also may be more likely to personally feel a sense of ‘failure’.  This may be because women see a high quality relationship as of central importance and feel a sense of responsibility to make the relationship work. This may not be felt the same way by many men.

This is the condition in which many women enter therapy. Sometimes they have been dealing with a bad relationship for a very long time and have given up any hope of improvement and are feeling ‘stuck’. Sometimes they address the problem early (which of course is better). Many relationships can be improved at this point if the couple can find a way of communicating that breaks away from the familiar ‘attack-defence’ cycle. This can reflect a very common symptom of  the stage of the relationship that is defined by the ‘power battle’. Therapy can be particularly helpful here by getting partners working together in a co-operative way where there are no ‘victims’ or ‘villains’.

 

  1. What are the most common problems for men in relationships?

Again one does not like to generalise, but often for men there is frustration at not seeming to meet their partner’s expectations. Often feeling like they are constantly being criticised, not appreciated and not able to find a satisfactory way through the ‘maze of discontent’ they feel from their partner. There are many men who feel that the sexual side of the relationship has reduced to a point that is distressing for them. This issue needs to be explored sensitively. Some men are trying to meet an expectation that they think is widely endorsed. For others sexual relations are seen as an indication of  appreciation. In both of these cases talking about it can help. Offering marriage counselling Perth.

Many men struggle with anger management, being often unable to find a way to understand their frustrations in such a way that they can remain calm and effective in their communications.

 

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

That this is a positive process of getting past some issues that have been causing distress for some time. It works! Given the opportunity to be honest, reflective and sensitive a lot is often achieved in the first session. The therapist is there to be helpful, the therapist’s role is to remain neutral and focused on what will be most beneficial to your relationship.

In some ways it is useful to think about the relationship as being the client or patient. The therapist is not interested in saying one party is wrong and the other party is right. This almost never happens, and it doesn’t happen because the therapist’s role is to be helpful in promoting, protecting or enhancing the relationship. The effectiveness of the counselling process is quite dependent of the degree of honesty of each partner. Coming to relationship counselling prepare to be honest, calm, sensitive and motivated to enhance the relationship.

 

  1. What has been the couple you remember who has made the biggest turnaround, from being in severe trouble to transforming their relationship into a happy loving one?

There have been many couples I have seen that have been on  the brink of separation, whereby after one or two sessions a bridge has been formed and a process of opening up has started. Some couples only have one or two sessions, some couples have been coming back for years. Breaking out of the “attack-defence” cycle is the single most important move. I have seen this so often in so many different variations it is hard to single out one. I often expect the first session to be a crisis management situation and my immediate goal is to keep the channel of communication open so the healing process can begin. I have a procedure for extreme crises so that both parties can step away from the emotional stand-off and begin the repair process.

 

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

You both share the love of your children and want their interests to be put first. Attending to your relationship issues so that they can be managed peacefully and with a high degree of respect is the best gift you can give your children. Although you may love your child more than you love your partner, for the child they have two parents and will be damaged in various ways through any witnessing or experience of bitter or ugly conflict between their parents. Marriage counselling perth.

Children have a right to two loving parent figures, and as much as humanely possible the two parents should do what they can to provide this for their child. They should also protect the child from exposure to negative behaviour, especially between the two people they depend on and love the most.

 

  1. What advice would you give to couples trying to rebuild their relationship after an affair?

An affair is a major breach of trust. Repair start with understanding. A full audit of the issues associated with the affair needs to be conducted. Counselling is very important in guiding a couple through the stages of understanding the motivations, the thinking, the beliefs and any other way that the affair was made possible. A clear understanding of how choices are made as well as the way we ‘neutralize’ our guilt is important.  The partner who has been betrayed needs to come to a sufficiently good understanding of how the affair happen before they can realistically approach the question of whether they should trust again. The ‘affair partner’ needs to understand they have a considerable journey to go in to understand themselves and to provide convincing evidence that they do understand themselves and the factors involved in the choice to cheat.

Slowly, based on these building blocks, the relationship can start to mend based on a process of the betrayed partner opening up to the possibility of trust and the affair partner proving continually in little and larger ways that they are now more self aware and worthy of the trust their partner is placing in  them.

 

  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?

Relationships are precious and they require nurturing. Anyone can have a garden. If it is not tended it gets over-run and scrappy. Some plants you do  not like take dominance and others you do want are crowded out. Tending to a relationship one needs to be a good gardener, supporting the relationship and your partner in areas that require greater sensitivity and nutriment. Being careful to pull out bad habits before they take over.

Good communication- (here meaning openness and honesty and consideration) is at the heart of a thriving relationship. Giving love in a meaningful way (according to you partner’s love “language”) is positively nurturing the relationship. Being considerate in all its various manifestations (tolerating small differences, being reliable, attending to partners needs) is important.

 

  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?

Almost all of the couples that continue to see me report significant improvements in the quality of their relationship. From my initial referrals  perhaps one in ten up to two in ten do not proceed in couples counselling. Sometimes this will be because they got what they need out of one or two sessions. Sometimes it may be because the need for separation became clearer after one or two sessions. Most couples however very much want to see their relationships succeed and for those  couples the combination  of intention, increased perspective and skills is sufficient to either “re-invent” the relationship or get it back on track.

 

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

Helping find new ways of seeing things, thinking about things and understanding things. My role as a therapist is not primarily to “fix” things but to work creatively and effectively with individuals and couples to find pathways through the current situation to better ways that work. It can be sometimes challenging – but this is what I love. We need to be sufficiently sensitive and understanding of all the emotions, the thoughts and the actions involved to look at what can be achieved. I also personally get a great deal of satisfaction through working closely with people and feel privileged to be trusted with matters that are very personal and very deep.

 

  1. List 3 qualities that your friends and family would describe you as having.
    1. I am somewhat quiet, choosing to listen more than speak and to consider deeply what I hear.
    2. I am aware of how we all appreciate validation and affirmation. I like to be considerate rather than abrasive
    3. Positivity . I see little value in negativity, criticism, cynicism, gossip, pessimism – the whole palette of negativity. I notice the toxic effect of these states when they do arise. Rather I believe the posture and approach we take colours our perception and our world. I prefer to look at the wondrous, the generous and the caring and be grateful for the connections between us wherever they arise.

 

  1. List 3 strengths that you have as a Psychologist.
    1. I listen well and want to help. I take my time and encourage others to speak. I always keep in mind the three cardinal virtues of a psychologist: empathy; unconditional positive regard and; genuineness.
    2. I am open minded and ‘non-judgemental’. I feel very open and find no desire arising to judge the situation other people find themselves in. I believe we are all individuals with a unique path to follow and it serves no value, and indeed is quite arrogant to feel dismissive or judgmental about the choices and situation others find themselves in.
    3. I am genuinely curious and want to understand the situation and circumstances of my clients and see how they can be helped.

 

  1. How many years experience do you have practicing/helping clients?

In direct client work I have 20 years experience. I have almost another 20 years experience in research and other roles looking at solutions to behavioural problems of various kinds.

 

 

If you would like to make a booking with David 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 Wendy (Marriage Counselling Perth)

relationship counselling perthWendy has practiced psychology for over 20 years during which time she has worked with adolescents and adults individually, as couples and in family groups.  She currently works in general private practice as well as the forensic area and has extensive experience in assisting people with depression, anxiety, emotional management difficulties including anger, as well as those suffering loss and grief.

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

 

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

I place high importance in assisting couples have a respectful, loving and happy relationship as I consider it to be the most salient requirement for happy and healthy life for those people. Stress is known to negatively impact on the immune system, so a supportive and loving relationship assists us in dealing with health issues and life stressors. If the couple has children, then modelling a functional and protective relationship will assist those children to grow into healthy, happy and well-adjusted children.

 

  1. What do you find are the most common relationships problems that you see in couples coming in to see you?

Many couples with young children suffer from a significant deterioration in their communication as they deal with the stress of managing a household, often with long work hours and minimal sleep. Jealousy is a common issue, often entering a relationship after a breakdown in communication between the couple. Phubbing and preoccupation with being entertained by various technology reduces communication and connection, causing people to feel isolated and lonely in their relationship.

 

  1. What are the most common problems for women in relationships?

Partner infidelity (or suspicions of), a loss of sense of self, feeling isolated, building resentment at their perceived lack of equality with regard to household chores and time to themselves.

 

  1. What are the most common problems for men in relationships?

Partner infidelity (or suspicions of), feeling shut out and confused about what they want as they perceive they are getting “mixed messages” and are unable to please their partner.

 

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

That you cannot change another person, they need to do that for themselves. Also that changing established patterns of behaviour is a process and it will take time and diligence. It may sound simple, but feeling good after airing your problems in one session is not going to achieve change. You need to pay attention to the way you respond to your partner and break unhelpful habits.

 

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

Make time to spend with each other, doing something that is fun for you both, that is laugh together. Marriage counselling Perth offered here.

 

     7. What advice would you give to couples trying to rebuild their relationship after an affair?

That rebuilding trust will take time. If someone is hurt, then they will be on guard to avoid being hurt again – that is a natural and protective response to any painful situation. The hurt person will need time to work through their hurt. They will also need time to rebuild their trust in the person who was unfaithful. That person has to prove that they can be trusted again by being totally transparent and honest, which means being accountable. With time and goodwill from both sides the trust can be rebuilt, but it will be fragile for some time. So doubts and fears need reassurance, not anger responses.

 

    8. What, for you, are the most important things that couples need to remember if they want their relationship to thrive, instead of just survive?

Have fun together and maintain respect for each other as individuals who have the right to be different.

 

    9. 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 don’t keep track. Those who want to work on their relationship usually do with success. However, with some couples one has already decided they want out, so they are not invested in working on the relationship.

 

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

Assisting people to be nicer to others and to themselves, which results in them having a happier life.

 

    11. List 3 qualities that your friends and family would describe you as having.

Integrity, compassion, respect for others. I offer marriage counselling Perth.

 

    12. List 3 strengths that you have as a Psychologist.

Knowledge of the profession, self-awareness, professionalism.

 

    13. How many years experience do you have practicing/helping clients?

27 years to date, or longer if you count volunteer crisis work when studying.

 

If you would like to make a booking with Wendy 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.