What happens in relationship counselling?


Relationship counselling, couple counselling or marriage counselling can help if you are finding that you and your partner are arguing over the smallest things and these discussions get gridlocked and escalate into counterproductive and destructive behaviours. Some people come to counselling because their relationship seems stale and they feel that they have drifted apart. Sometimes you can have a big issues such as money, sex, infidelity, parenting, mental illness and you need some assistance to negotiate these issues together.


Relationship counselling helps with the following critical areas:



In addition to dealing with specific issues such as recovering from an affair, managing mental illness, parenting issues, sex issues or substance abuse; couple counselling focuses on the following:

  • Recognising (and avoiding 4 destructive behaviours) criticism, stonewalling, defensiveness and contempt in your relationship
  • Softening the way issues are raised (start-up) making it more likely you can resolve things
  • Encouraging compromise, negotiation and sharing influence in the relationship
  • Soothing physiological arousal (through relaxation techniques and time limited time outs)
  • Recognising (and responding to) repair attempts (couples who effectively repair stay happily married)
  • Reducing negativity by increasing positive activities called the ‘Rituals of Connection’. These are standard and every-day ways the couple connects and feels bonded to each other. Negativity is the best predictor of divorce.
  • Reducing reliance on the counsellor, we normally start with 4 weekly sessions then eventually move to fortnightly, then monthly then finally to a check-up after 6 months.


It is important to choose a counsellor who is registered to a nationally recognised professional body such as the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Authority or The Australian Psychological Society and also that they have training and significant experience in relationship counselling.


If you would like more information about our relationship counselling Perth based service click here