Explore new and more satisfying ways of interacting with your partner with our relationship & marriage counselling services. This is a very specialised field and psychologists at The Three Seas Psychology group are fully trained to assist you and your partner, with appropriate relationship counselling.
What is Relationship Counselling?
Relationship counselling is a therapy that can help with many issues such as feeling unhappy within your union or being in an abusive relationship.
A harmonious relationship can enrich your life and make for real happiness. Complex issues like sex, co-parenting, or communication can cause problems but with support from an experienced counsellor can make all the difference.
Our innovative approach may help you understand more about how and why those problems often reach a crisis point. It helps partners, families, or individuals to navigate through the complex area of human relationships. It is not an easy or quick process, but many couples who have put in the work have rediscovered themselves and each other.
How Can Counselling Help You Form A Healthier Relationship?
Couple’s counselling can help you to explore more satisfying ways of interacting with your partner, as well as to manage disagreements before they become toxic. With these new skills, you will learn to communicate effectively and seek to understand why and how you and or your partner become defensive. Therapy will explore and identify both your partner’s and your wants and needs. These skills may also identify and explore why many couples avoid talking about difficult topics such as sex or parenting decisions.
Effective counselling supports lovers and families to open and enrich their lives with more joy and happiness. Couples learn how to bring more patience and care into their conversations. Gradually, both may become more assertive about what’s important to each person without criticism or blame. Most people want those around them to feel comfortable and safe, but triggers and memories of a hard time often leave people ‘sitting on the fence’ when it comes to trying to form close relationships. Relationship therapists will help couples learn how to feel safer, more at ease and how to create meaningful connections.
If it’s your first time seeing a counsellor , you may be overwhelmed, exhausted, and maybe even feeling hopeless, this is a very normal experience for many people. Relationships are powerful and complex; a sudden shift can change everything.
Research suggests that people are happier when they are in a respectful and harmonious marriage. Many couples end their marriage but may not end its problems; instead, it often means they simply carry a suitcase full of the same ‘baggage’ into their next relationship! Couple’s counselling helps you clarify your expectations, enhance your communication skills, and make it possible for even troubled marriages to flourish.
If you decide to end or move forward with your partner, our counselling sessions are a positive step forward. Research suggests that in 70% to 80% of cases, counselling improves interpersonal skills, supports self-development , improves intimacy and trust in relationships.
Two Therapy Options: Individual and Couples
No matter how difficult the relationship, both you and your partner may have contributed to the challenges you are currently facing. Counselling is effective when both parties work together. This strategy enables you and your counsellor to work together and create a plan to help you become aware of your behaviour, feelings, thoughts and how to further improve the quality of your relationship.
But what if your partner is unwilling to go? Or what if you are not comfortable going to counselling together?
More than half of couple’s report that at least one member is reticent. Our skilled counsellors are well-prepared to deal with this common issue. Although joint counselling is the ideal, one person attending still creates positive change.
If you attend threapy on your own, you will master a host of skills, including:
- Communicating your wants, needs, and frustrations more effectively
- Understanding your partner’s feelings
- Coping with unpleasant emotions.
- Resisting the urge to criticise or otherwise behave cruelly toward your partner.
In many cases, individual consultation is highly effective – the couple may resolve their issue after a few sessions. If one person in the relationship decides to seek help it does not mean they are the one with issues. Relationships are dynamic and complex. When one person changes, the other person may adjust their behaviour accordingly and this has the potential to create satisfying relationships.
How is Couples Counselling Different from Individual Counselling?
Couple’s counselling has its unique experience. It’s far more than just individual counselling with two people, and not all individual counsellors are skilled couples’ counsellors. So, what’s the difference? And how can you choose an experienced couples counsellor? Here’s what you need to know.
No ‘Taking Sides.’
In individual counselling, your therapist only ever gets one side of the story. The psychologist’s job is to act as your partner and ally, which means the therapist is on your side—even when they disagree with your behaviour.
Couple’s therapy is fundamentally different. Your therapist can and should challenge both you and your partner’s behaviour, thoughts, and feelings. A good counsellor will never take sides. No partner is to blame .
In a productive couple’s session, you will likely alternate between feeling like the counsellor is on your side and your partner’s. That’s because the counsellor is on neither side and is instead prioritising the relationship.
The Concept of Unconditional Positive Regard
In both couples and individual counselling, the therapeutic practice used is a concept known as unconditional positive regard. Unconditional positive regard means, listening without judgement or shaming you. It does not mean approving of everything you do. You should feel that your therapist accepts and support you unconditionally It is also important to know that your therapist may challenge you if they believe your behaviour is damaging you and or your relationship.
In couples counselling, this tendency to challenge clients is often more apparent, since your therapist’s aim is to gain more information about your behaviour. If you feel judged or shamed, tell your therapist, however, expect that gentle guidance and correction are healthy and fundamental components of effective couples counselling.
Mediation Without Judgement
A good counsellor directs therapy in such a way that it helps you make progress and promotes meaningful discussions. Therapists do not endlessly talk about feelings or allow you to fight without intervening. In this regard, the most experienced counsellors are a lot like mediators, but with one crucial caveat: they don’t judge. A good couples counsellor, will not tell you that you are “wrong” or “evil,” but will instead encourage you to see how your problematic behaviour affects your relationship, your partner, and your overall well-being.
The Primacy of Homework
Couple’s counselling is typically only an hour or two a week. That alone is not enough to improve your relationship. To see real change, you may need to work on the skills that you learn in therapy and be aware that the more you practice the more opportunity your bad habits will dissipate. Many couple counsellors give homework to help you practice and develop new skills.
Even if your counsellor doesn’t give you homework, try making your own. Consider prioritising a particular relationship goal or dedicating yourself to noticing your partner’s needs. You may be surprised by how quickly doing so improves your relationship.
It is important to note this precaution: punishing your partner for the things they say in counselling can harm your relationship. If you cannot talk about problems without getting angry about what happens in counselling, it is important to bring this issue up with your therapist.
The Three Seas, offer comprehensive counselling for couples at every stage of their relationship, from premarital counselling to counselling couples who have been together for decades. Let us show you a path to deep satisfaction in your relationships.
Improved Relationship Techniques
A good relationship may be compared to a harmonious artwork. A successful relationship depends on how good your ‘artistry’ skills are. Skilled relationship artists have satisfying relationships, but those who aren’t particularly adept with basic connection tools are more likely to create muddled messes. The overwhelming majority of problems can be solved if you have the right skills.
For example, if you and your partner always fight about money, you’re lacking at least two skills: money management knowledge and the ability to communicate without becoming hostile. Good counsellors will offer you referrals and educational opportunities where necessary. Another example is if you and your partner are always fighting over a home renovation project. Your psychologist may advise you to work with a home renovating consultant or that each of you list your home remodelling goals before continuing with the project.
Clarification of Relationship Issues
We all enter relationships with a suitcase full of unstated expectations. Many of these expectations – such as the desire not to be physically abused – are so basic that they don’t have to be stated upfront. In most cases though, your expectations may differ dramatically from your partner’s. We all have different experiences that shape these expectations. Growing up in an abusive household, for example, may cause you to believe that a high degree of conflict is normal, but this dispute may be a frightening deal-breaker for your partner.
Likewise, many of us grow up with gendered expectations. Many men are taught not to share their feelings – a dangerous lesson that can prove fatal to their relationships. Women, by contrast, may grow up with a vision of a chivalrous Prince Charming, only to find that a real partner falls far short of these desires. Consultations work by helping you clarify your expectations. Your counsellor will encourage you to list both your conscious and unconscious desires for your love life. From there, you’ll work to determine which of these expectations are reasonable and which are not. For example, expecting your spouse to listen to your feelings is reasonable, while demanding that your partner allows you to verbally berate them is not.
After you clarify your expectations, you’ll then begin working to help those expectations come to fruition. If you want your partner to have more sex with you for example, you may need to offer more assistance with household finances or chores. Whether you work together or separately, your counsellor can help you brainstorm strategies for ensuring both of your needs are met in a healthy and mutually satisfying way.
Increased Couple Intimacy
Many couples use the term intimacy to refer to sex, but the truth is that intimacy is an all-encompassing phenomenon that demands closeness and openness. To have a healthy relationship, it is important to understand all forms of intimacy – physical, sexual, emotional, verbal, and even spiritual if you believe in a higher power.
Equally important is the role expectations play in intimacy. Every person has their unique connection style. Some people share intimacy primarily via sex, others feel closest to their partner when they have deep, probing conversations or when doing everyday activities together. Your counsellor will help you determine what you and your partner need to achieve better intimacy, then will offer you specific tips on how to work toward a model of intimacy that works for both of you.
Bringing Back the Spark after Counselling
Many couples seek help because they feel that the much-lauded and ever-evasive spark has left their connection. Long-term relationships are hard work, and the daily drudgery of chores, obligations, conflicts, and disappointments can take a tole on the relationship. There is good news, that spark can come back if you are willing to put in the work.
Research suggests that couples who pursue novel activities together experience more feelings of magic and romance. They also have more sex. With the right attitude, your sessions can feel a lot like your first few dates – a chance to explore the inner workings of someone you admire and respect.
Solving relationship issues are hard, painful work – as it often is – your counsellor can help you get back the love and magic you once felt. A therapist will cooperate with you help identify your needs, offer you strategies to effectively meet those needs. You may also be given “homework” designed to help you learn ways to feel closer and more excited about your partner. A weekly date, daily conversations, and small acts of love often all brings back the spark in a relationship.
How Can You Make Couples Counselling a Success?
Couple’s counselling is a collaborative experience between you, your therapist, and your partner. It is a cooperative activity that requires lots of work. If you lie in your sessions, don’t follow the tips offered by your therapist, or make your partner feel bad about the things they say, the session will fail. You will get out of this process what you put into it, so embarking upon your counselling journey with an open mind, a positive attitude, and a will to stick with it for the long haul can mean the difference between a poor relationship and a flourishing one.
Ideas to improve your relationships:
- Focus on the things that matter most. Do not bring up petty disputes just to get back at your partner.
- Be honest with your counsellor and with your partner.
- Allow your partner to speak their mind. Don not become angry or aggressive because of what’s said in the session. You may even want to offer each other a “free pass” to say what you like- consequence-free.
- Tell your counsellor if you don’t like the way the help is going or feel a particular strategy might not work.
- Complete the homework assignments your counsellor gives you.
- Actively work to implement the strategies your counsellor suggests.
- Listen attentively and with an open mind; don’t judge your partner or criticise them for speaking up.
- Give some time for the therapy to work. Results can be seen within three to six months, so don’t walk out after two sessions.
- Commit to your partner. If you want to leave or if your partner is abusive, this help will not work. Only attend the session if you are truly ready.
It might feel hopeless and overwhelming now, but your relationship was once a blossoming source of love and beauty. Couple’s counselling can help you once again achieve that beauty and love. Both couples must be willing to work on themselves.
Other Relationships Matter as well
Family relationships may also be challenging and often become an ongoing source of conflict and or distress. Family therapy can help all family members communicate more effectively and help everyone feels heard and understood.
Finding the right psychologist or family therapists can take time, but it is worth the effort. Call our Client Connect Team today, they are experienced at helping you to find the right family counsellor in Melbourne.
If you are not happy in a relationship but you don’t want to leave it, attending The Three Seas Couples Retreat may be an opportunity for you and your partner to rebuild your relationship.
Our program is based on evidence-based psychological techniques that may help you and your partner reconnect.
Some techniques include: understand how to identify unhelpful patterns of behaviour, improve connection and communication skills, rebuild trust and commitment, develop a more intimate and emotionally safe connection and better understand yourself and your partner.
You also have the opportunity to attend ‘The Three Seas Couple Retreat’ for the day or overnight stay. The groups are small and confidential. Along with other couples who are enrolled in the program, you will also have exclusive use of the retreat during your stay.
Couples’ counsellors in Melbourne
We have four locations in Melbourne that cover four broad geographical suburbs:
Melbourne (CBD), Inner Eastern (Richmond), Northside (Northcote) and Southeastern (Knox).
Counselling requires an experienced and professional psychologist. Our practices are comfortable, discrete, and easy to find.
Our Client Connect Team is available to help guide you and find an appropriate therapist. Our counsellors are trained and experienced psychologists.
If you and your partner need help working out your personal problems, getting the help of a trained couples counsellor may be the most efficient and positive way to move forward.
In your counselling sessions, the couple’s therapist will help you develop strategies for how to communicate. The strategies often focus on breaking the unhelpful behavioural cycles that you and your partner may be repeating. Sometimes this requires increasing both partners’ self-awareness – you may not be aware of your behaviour and how it may impact the relationship.
Therapy sessions are confidential. Cases where a court subpoenas records or if someone is in danger, then private information may be made public.
Couples counsellors are trained to be non-judgemental and their aim is to help support and develop relationship satisfaction within yourself and your partner.