Leanne has been a registered psychologist since 2009 and she specialises in relationship counselling. Leanne provides marriage counselling and relationship counselling Sydney, Windsor Downs & Riverstone.
- What has made you interested in helping couples with their relationships?
Relationships are a vital component of life. If a relationship is in trouble it has a flow on effect to the children, friends and other family members. It also affects people financially and emotionally in a way that some people find very difficult to recover from. If I can help a couple to see themselves and their relationship in a different light, to help them see past the hurt and anger and get real with their feelings, then that is a very satisfying feeling. Relationship counselling Sydney.
- What do you find are the most common relationships problems that you see in couples coming in to see you?
There are two main problems that I see over and over. These are discrepancies in libido, where one person has a high sex drive and the other a low sex drive, and the other is difficulties in communication. Both problems can be worked through. It is a matter of understanding each other on a different level. For instance many people with a high sex drive feel that they are being rejected, whilst people with a low sex drive feel that the expectation to “perform” is making the problem worse. Relationship counselling Sydney.
With the communication there usually is more going on than is initially presented. Sometimes it is a simple matter of putting down the technology and actually talking to each other with no distraction. Getting back to basics, like it was in the beginning where you gave each other 100% of your attention.
- What would you like couple clients to know about the couple counselling process before they come in?
Couples counselling is not a magic solution that can solve all problems instantly. It takes time and commitment. It takes bravery to admit that you are wrong (because there is no blame and we all make mistakes and can learn from this) and it takes real effort from both people to create long lasting change. You have to do things in between sessions, and your therapist will give you tasks to work on. They most likely will be small things but can still be difficult on an emotional level. Relationship counselling Sydney.
- If you had one word of advice for couples with children, what would it be?
Don’t give up. If there is any love left between you work on your relationship. When you hurt each other you are hurting your children too. Don’t think because they are young they do not hear it. Children are very intuitive and even babies can feel the anger in the house. Your children need you to behave like adults, and when we are angry that is not what happens.
- What advice would you give to couples trying to rebuild their relationship after an affair?
There is always a reason that an affair occurs. An affair is a symptom of a problem within the relationship. And, if true forgiveness can occur then a relationship can actually be stronger than it ever was. An affair allows raw honesty of all emotions, problems and solutions. It gives you the opportunity for real growth.
There are of course exceptions to this, like if the person who has had an affair is still in the affair, blaming their partner for their behaviour or not acknowledging that what they did was not hurtful.
- What, for you, are the most important things that couples need to remember if they want their relationship to thrive, instead of just survive?
It sounds clichéd but communication is the key. Really talking to each other, not just about day to day things but about actual emotions. And listening. All too often someone tried to express how they are feeling and the other person disregards it with statements like “that’s stupid”, “whatever” or even worse. Often people become defensive when they do not like what they are hearing. But if a couple can learn to listen to each other without cutting each other off, disrespecting the other or blaming then this is when real connection can blossom.
- What proportion of your couple clients manage, with your help, to successfully recreate a happy relationship from the difficult one that they came in with?
This is a really difficult question. If both people attend willingly, still in love and with a desire to change then most of them successfully create change and begin to feel that old feeling again, or at least a new level of respect and understanding of each other. Relationship counselling Sydney.
If one half of the couple is coerced into attending, still having an affair or ready to leave the relationship then the success rate is much lower.
- What do you find is the most satisfying and fulfilling part of this work that you do?
I truly love it when a couple comes in and says that things are better. It doesn’t really matter how better. Better is better! Especially after one session! But when a couple really starts to see how they are contributing to the problems and how they alone are responsible for their own behaviour that is really very rewarding. Empowering people to make change to their own lives is exactly what this job is all about.
If you would like to make a booking with Leanne or any other of our psychologists, you are welcome to fill out an enquiry form here, or call our friendly receptionists on 1300 830 552.