How do you work?
I provide relationship check ups and support to couples of all types, ages and stages. I specialise and am trained in Gottman Therapy which was developed by psychologists and husband and wife team, John and Julie Gottman, out of their almost 50 years of work researching and supporting couples through conflict.
In my work with you, you are the expert on you and your relationship. I am there to support you to better understand one another’s needs and communicate more effectively with one another to manage conflict and build the relationship that *you* want. While I will prompt, ask questions and support one or both of you with difficult emotions as we go, you will spend more time talking to one another than talking to me. You can’t take me home with you at the end, so the goal of therapy is to make my role redundant.
What to expect
Many people have hesitations about coming to therapy for a number of reasons. Some people have had negative or detrimental past experiences (me too). Not all of us enjoy or are used to talking about our feelings and talking to a stranger about them can feel confronting. Regardless of whether you have been to therapy before or have never been to therapy, it is usual to have some anxiety coming in. It’s my job to help you feel as comfortable as possible.
The good news is that therapy is one place where it is all about you and your goals. So in the first few sessions of therapy, you can expect that we’ll spend some time talking about your experience and perception of the relationship, your expectations and hopes so that I can gain the best possible understanding about what is most important to each of you. Therapy is a place where we can work together to find tools that work for your different individual needs and both of you together that you can take home and practice.
Some things therapy is not
One of the things that can bring people to therapy, or put them off coming, is the thought of a therapist acting as a referee who decides who ‘wins’ and who ‘loses’ on an issue or in the relationship. In good therapy, and using the evidence we have, couples succeed best when each person feels that their needs are heard and considered. There are no losers. When we get stuck in conflict, we can have a difficult time really understanding one another and seeing a way forward. Gaining a better understanding very often opens up new solutions and reasonable compromises.
What can you help us with?
All kinds of things! I understand that people’s lives are complicated and there are lots of things that can impact on the relationship from mental health challenges to experiences of abuse and trauma from one or both people’s past, breaches of trust, balancing work and family, and differences in expectations around sex and intimacy.
I have particular interests in helping couples stuck in demand and withdraw patterns of connecting where one partner feels overwhelmed and the other partner feels like their partner isn’t meeting their needs (which is a very common experience). Often the way we connect, relate to one another and handle conflict has been influenced by our family, past relationships and negative events we may have experienced. I can support you with recognising and regulating your own difficult emotions and supporting one anothers triggers and needs during conflict. I can support you with finding ways to communicate through challenging issues without them escalating. I can support you to increase feelings of trust and connection. I can also help where one or both partners are autistic and navigating different needs and styles of communicating and connecting.
How long will it take?
Time and money is almost always a factor and I can work with you to take this into account and find the most sustainable way forward. It is good to plan for at least 3-5 sessions in the beginning to allow me to understand both of your needs together and separately, uncover some of the strengths of your relationships, the parts you want to strengthen and improve, and start working on them together. It is a learning process and learning anything new takes time. Depending on where you’re at, your commitment to the relationship and how confident you feel as we go along, can depend on how soon you feel ready to go it alone. There are no lock in programs, and you’re always welcome to come back at any time if things change, or you want to pick up where you left off. Much of what you learn together will become ongoing skills you practice together at home.
What will it cost?
Before we meet, I’ll ask each of you to complete a detailed questionnaire online, privately in your own time to give me an overview of how you each see the relationship. This is at no cost and there is no obligation to continue if you don’t want to go forward. From there, we’ll typically book an initial joint 90 minute session. The initial session will be $250 total, and includes a thorough relationship check up assessment prior to the first session. Subsequent sessions will be 50-60 minutes and cost $150 total. Discounts are available where all partners are concession holders. Please get in touch if cost is or becomes a barrier for you.