Relationships & Couples Therapy
Our psychologists are trained in Schema Therapy and Gottman Relationship Therapy and use both of these therapies when working with couples.
About 1 in 6 clients we see for therapy come as part of a couple.
Couples seek counselling and couples therapy in Sydney for many different reasons including coping with life’s changes, managing and resolving conflict, improving their parenting skills and dealing effectively with separation and divorce just to name a few.
If you’re wondering, does couples therapy work? The first thing to note is that many couples unfortunately leave therapy as a last resort and this can make the process more difficult as there is often a lot of built up resentments and heated emotions to deal with. It is generally more effective to be pro-active and seek help sooner rather than later, as this can make a big difference to the success of therapy.
Many couples can’t understand why they seem to always “push each other’s buttons” so to speak, they experience quite a lot of misunderstandings and one or both of them often end up feeling “hurt”, “rejected” or “controlled’ in some way.
This is a common dilemma in many relationships. Couple’s often put this down to simple communication problems, but the issue is usually a lot more intricate than that and often involves the triggering of schemas. When we experience reactions that seem to be “irrational” or disproportionate to what our partner has done or said or just plane “over the top”, then it is likely that one or more schemas are involved.
A Schema Therapy Approach to Couples Therapy can be very helpful at getting to the real core of the issue and helping couples become more aware of what is really going on. Once this is achieved, clients are more able to learn new and useful communication skills and learn how to emotion coach each other and avoid heated and hurtful conflict escalations.
The Gottman Approach to Couples Therapy is a well researched, highly effective approach developed and studied over 30 years by John and Julie Gottman (see The Gottman Institute; www.gottman.com). We recommend their book The seven principals for making marriage work as a good starting point for couples to read.
Finding a suitable partner
Many clients, both women and men have a history of difficulties associated with finding a partner who is emotionally available, stable and reliable. This is a common issue in the community and many people find that they have always been attracted to a certain “type” of partner or have typically found themselves involved with perhaps the “wrong” type of person for them. Sometimes the partners we are most attracted to (on a chemistry level) are the ones that turn out to be the least emotionally suitable for us. There is a very fundamental relationship between our early parenting experiences (i.e., our “model of love”) and the type of partner we seek out to meet our love needs in adulthood.
There is usually little coincidence in the world of mating and partner selection, as these behaviours are very much influenced by our family of origin experiences and relationships with caregivers mainly on a subconscious level. If you have observed a “pattern” in your love life which you think is unhelpful or you feel compelled to have relationships with a particular type of person, then we can help you gain key insights and make some positive changes for the better.
If you have been looking for a partner who is emotionally available and reliable, but you have not been able to secure such a relationship, therapy can most likely assist you in that process. We can also help you with internet dating and navigating your way through some of the pitfalls associated with that method.