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 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.

Psychologist Interview with Maria (Relationship Counselling Perth)

psychologist perthMaria is a Registered Clinical Psychologist and is a registered provider with Medicare, and provides marriage and relationship counselling Perth. She is experienced in working with children, adolescents, adults and couples.

To read more about Maria or view her psychologist profile, click here. 

 

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

 

There are many common relationship problems that couples present to me with.  Sometimes infidelity may be an issue, or even the threat of infidelity where there has been communication where one partner may perceive the person their partner is communicating with as a threat.  Also I see a lot of couples where they are having problems navigating the demands of parenthood.  At times there is also post-natal depression involved.  Sexual differences in relation to libido is also a big issue that I see with couples, especially where the females libido is much lower than the males.  I also see couples where they have engaged in their late teenage years and by their late 20’s their values are very different, both partners have “grown up” so to speak and are no longer on the same page when it comes to their values.  Couples where one partner believes the other partner has narcissistic characteristics is also common, as well as women engaging following their break up with their partner due to narcissistic characteristics.  Couples presenting with either one partner or both partners where there is a mental illness is also a common presentation.

 

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

 

It is quite common for the first session to be anxiety provoking.  It takes a lot of courage to go and see a stranger and talk about deep relationship issues.  Generally by the end of the first session some positive rapport has been established to be able to continue with the process.  There are many techniques that can be used to help improve the couple relationship.  It is also important to note that Psychologists are trained to not take sides when it comes to couples counselling.  This is often a genuine fear for individuals attending relationship counselling.

 

 

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

 

I’m not sure about one word, however I think the most valuable advice for couples with children is to regularly take quality time out as a couple in order to stay connected, and to be prepared to support each other through the parenthood journey.

 

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

 

I believe the most important advice is to engage with a qualified Psychologist who is able to help you rebuild the relationship.  A Psychologist can help you both move past the affair by examining the factors that motivated one partner to be unfaithful.  They can also provide techniques for trust to be restored back to the relationship.  Couples counselling can help both partners become aware of and take responsibility of the part that each of them played in the affair taking place.

 

5. 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 would say that about 75% to 85% of couples who come in for counselling manage to successfully recreate a happy relationship.  I have had many clients years later re-engage with me due to a hiccup in their relationship.  It is wonderful to see these clients again and to know that they were able to manage and move on from their difficulties.

 

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

In today’s society where family breakdown creates devastating consequences, I am grateful that I am in a position to be able to help and support individuals to work through their relationship issues successfully so that the family unit is strong, especially for the children of these families.

 

If you would like to make a booking with Maria 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.