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Counselling & Therapy For Couples and Relationships

People consult me about seeking more satisfying relationships, understanding conflicts, developing greater intimacy or considering separation and divorce.

In relationship counselling or couple therapy as it is also known, people explore:

  • Their levels of commitment to each other
  • Differing and shared values
  • Their relationship roles
  • Communication
  • Negative interaction cycles and patterns
  • Approaches to conflict and repair
  • Emotional intimacy and vulnerability
  • Infidelity and affairs
  • Wider family conflicts
  • The influence of life events, health issues, or mental health upon the relationship
  • Trauma and its legacies
  • Sex life
  • Financial and money issues
  • And more!

How Graeme may help

Relationship counselling differs from individual sessions. It is your relationship that is my client, rather than either one of you. Consequently, I do my best not to take sides with either partner, while still aiming to support you both. Rather, I help you to understand your relationship patterns, what triggers or drives them, how they play out and can escalate, and importantly, how to manage them better so that you feel closer and more connected.

Our work together may include:

  • Understanding what drew you together
  • Recollecting what you admire in each other
  • Exploring what you learned about relationships from the family you grew up in
  • Learning how you trigger each other now in repetitive and hurtful relationship patterns
  • Learning how to manage your emotions and work with each other’s emotions
  • Learning to safely share your inner world with your partner and support each other through life’s vulnerabilities
  • Improving your communication
  • Learning how to repair after a conflict rather than repeat the pattern
  • Reconnecting with your hopes and dreams
  • And more …

I take the view that I don’t know whether you should be together or not (indeed how can any therapist every really know this). Instead, I am offering you an opportunity to explore your relationship, learn from your experience together, and improve it. Even if you go your separate ways, if you have children together, you will still need to have some involvement over time, so it can pay to learn how to not get so caught up in past relationship hurts.

My therapeutic approach to working with couples is primarily systemic. It is often tempting for either party to think that their partner is the problem. Upon investigation however, whether you pursue your partner to get your needs met, or withdraw from conflict for some peace, couples invariably find that they are reacting to each other’s reactions. It can be a bit like a dance, once the familiar music starts to play, you’re on the dance floor playing out the same old moves, time and time again. When you see your relationship problems this way, it is the pattern and not your partner that is the problem. This brings opportunity for each of you to take responsibility for your own part in making your relationship to go better.

I work relationally with you, one step at a time, gently helping you to explore your experience so that as the sessions build, you learn and grow. I am influenced by Emotionally Focussed Therapy, and also Gottman Family Therapy, the two ways of working with couples that have the most evidence to support their effectiveness.

Getting in touch to make an enquiry

I am a counsellor, psychotherapist and supervisor practicing in Sydney, Byron Bay and Bangalow in the Northern Rivers, and also online via Skype and other apps.

It is likely that we will first speak over the phone or perhaps be in touch by email.  I do not have a receptionist so you do not need to worry about whether you will have to repeat your story to another person. When you ring my mobile on 0412 518 024 you speak directly to me. If I am not available please leave me a short message with your name and number. I will ring you back as soon as I am able to respond.When we do speak I am interested in understanding:

  • what has happened so that you are considering counselling now,
  • how you have you been getting by or coping to date,
  • and what you are seeking from counselling or therapy
  • whether you are contacting me for yourself, or as part of a couple,

It is also helpful for me to know how you heard of me.

In deciding whether to make an appointment, you might have some questions for me too, for example:

  • about my qualifications,
  • experience,
  • professional memberships,
  • how I work,
  • my fees and payment,
  • and where to find the rooms

It is OK to ask me about these things and I am happy to address your questions when we speak by phone.

If you would like to make an appointment we will arrange a suitable time, and I will forward you details of the practice location to your preferred email address.