There is a myth in society whereby we believe that we some how naturally know how to be in relationships. No one really teaches us how to be in a relationship, sure we might watch our parents or friends, be educated by dramatic versions in movies/series or read about ‘top ten tips for relationships’ in our media, but when it comes to the day-to-day practicalities of being a relationship, many of us find it difficult and often don't know why.
Coming to see a relationship counsellor is one of the most natural things to do. If we were sick, we would see a doctor, if we had a tooth ache, we would see a dentist, if we were needing our taxes done, we would see an accountant so why would we not see a relationship counsellor if we were having troubles in our relationships?
There are some common fears that some people experience when they think about seeing a relationship counsellor which usually centres around being worried that they will be:
feel like they’re a failure,
made to feel weak,
ganged up on, or
told that they’re the problem.
True relationship counselling however is none of these things and is more focussed on connecting with and understanding all parties, so that they can come together and clear what needs to be cleared, take responsibility and develop new ways of being together. It is certainly not about making one person out to be the problem.
The hardest part in relationship counselling is often making the decision to seek support, the second is taking the steps to walk through the door. Outside of these two hurdles, the rest can be deeply rewarding, transformative and enriching. Most of us want to feel safe, supported and adored in our relationships, so why would we settle for anything less?
When to seek couples counselling?
It is never too late and never too early to seek relationship counselling. Most problems in relationships usually stem from issues or grievances not being dealt with sooner, with them building up over time, creating secondary or tertiary problems. Problems can and should be dealt with either in the moment or not long after, however learning how to do this is something we’re often not taught and can seem a little daunting if in the past it wasn’t well handled. So, the best time to seek relationship counselling is the moment you feel like something has got in between you and your partner/s that you can’t seem to resolve, the second-best time is whenever you recognise that you and/or your partner/s need the support. It is never too late to salvage a relationship, as long as both partners are willing to work together and respond to what is needed, then it can in truth be fun, easy and rewarding.
How does couples counselling work?
The purpose of relationship counselling it to support you and your partner/s to find a way to reconnect and restore whatever might have gone wrong, supporting you both to find a way of being together in a way that is supportive, enriching and evolving.
After your initial enquiry, we will make a time to see you and your partner/s separately for a one-on-one session first. This gives you a chance to get to know your counsellor, how they work and if they are a good fit for you. This also gives your counsellor time to get to know and understand you, your goals and what it is that is happening for you in the relationship. After these initial sessions are complete, all parties are brought together to work on the relationship together.
During sessions your counsellor will help all parties to come to a shared understanding of what the problem is in the relationship looking at what might have contributed to the problem and how you can work towards resolving them. With a focus on deepening understanding and learning about each other, the session can be quite powerful both for the individuals and the relationship. At no time are sessions about making anyone wrong for what happened, but working together to take responsibility and make the relationship itself something enriching and advancing.
How much does relationship counselling cost?
Depending on the practitioner’s experience, target market and location, the cost to see a clinical sexologist can vary. For individual sessions we charge $180 AUD per 50 minutes and for session with couples or partners it is $240 AUD per 50 minutes. It’s estimated that it can take between 6-20 partnered sessions depending on the problem and how many people are involved in it. Sessions usually take place weekly, fortnightly, or monthly depending on the problem and availability. At all times our clients ‘call the shots’ on what they feel support is needed, so no one is locked into a certain number of sessions and can cancel at any time if not beneficial.
Can couples counselling save a relationship?
Couples counselling can absolutely support 'save' relationships. If both parties are willing to explore what’s happening, take responsibility for their part and be open to working together harmoniously, then any relationship can be salvaged. Sometimes it can be hard to look at the things which have happen in the past that might have hurt or disappointed us, however once these are seen for what they are and addressed then they need not be something that affects the relationship. There are times however when those in a relationship decide that it is best for them to separate, in these cases relationship counselling can still be of great value as more often than not what we don’t resolve in one relationship we will repeat again in the next. Ending on a harmonious note is usually much better than the other option of ending in hurt, blame and disappointment.
Does couples counselling work after cheating?
Cheating or betrayal can mean different things to different people depending on the structure of their relationship, but the feeling of having one’s trust broken can be extremely painful regardless of what the context is. Although it can be a challenging process, the reality is that anything can be healed if both parties are willing to put the work in. Sometimes a betrayal or affair can provide opportunity to bring a relationship closer together, as often there are a number of things that took place prior to the betrayal which is often the real cause of the 'cheating'. Taking the time to review and address these can be highly transformative and deeply healing for all parties and such, cheating need not be the end of a relationship, but an opportunity to come closer and deeper with your connection.
Do you work with relationships that are open or are consensually non-monogamous?
We work with all relationship structures, be they monogamous, consensually non-monogamous, or open, and we work with all genders and sexualities too. Although we work with closed and open relationships, and are comfortable working with consensually non-monogamous relationships, we by no means claim to be experts in this area and such work with each relationship situation to assess and see if we're the most appropriate support. If not, we will refer you to a more appropriate practitioner.