★★★★★Couples Counselling Testimonial: "Since seeing you last week things have been great and it looks like we are back on track. We have reconnected amazingly over the weekend. Thank you." Ryan and Kimberly, (Couples Counselling). Elanora.
NB: Family violence (including chronic verbal abuse) automatically discounts couples from marriage counselling. See Is Couples Counselling is Right For You? Common Reasons for Couples Therapy Regardless of how long you have been married, or the nature of your marital problems, marriage counselling can offer huge benefits to a married couple. Even when your problems don’t seem that major or significant, marriage counselling can still benefit a couple striving to maintain a successful marriage – in fact, marriage counselling is best commenced before conflict becomes entrenched. Nonetheless, marriage counselling can help to repair damaged marriages, or in cases where the parties don’t want to continue, can ease the process of separation towards mediation.
Many couples decide to come to counselling to learn to deal with conflict and arguments. Common issues include:
Trust has been compromised in your relationship
You’re not feeling heard
You feel unacknowledged or under-appreciated
You or your partner have become distant or withdrawn, anxious or clingy
You are trying to repair things after an affair
You or your partner have lost interest in sex
The roles you have taken on (spouse, parent, bread winner) are not what you expected
You’ve lost a sense of identity in the relationship
Anger or stonewalling have become the predominate way you or your partner communicate
There is a lot of blame and a lack of responsibility
Ghita Therapy Methods Ghita uses a combination of the following methods:
How Does Therapy Improve Communication Skills in Couples? One of the areas where marriage counselling can definitely benefit a married couple is in the arena of communication skills. Relationships are one of the most difficult things we attempt as humans and communicating with each other is one of the single most problematic areas for many married couples. Working with a marriage counsellor such as Ghita can help each partner to learn to more carefully listen to what is being communicated to them, to reflect that message back to their partner and to then carefully proceed to send their own message back to their spouse. This process is called “active listening” and is one of the most effective communication techniques ever taught to couples.
How to Reconnect With Each Other One issue that couples may bring to marriage counselling is a desire to reconnect and recommit to their marriage. If you have been married for a number of years, it can be challenging to come up with new and innovative ways to reconnect. Over time, we become settled in a rhythm and routine that may eventually become mundane and even boring. Several sessions with a marriage counsellor or psychologist can help a married couple look at each other with fresh eyes.
Very often, Ghita will give weekly assignments to be completed between sessions to aid the process towards restored intimacy and reconnection. These assignments can be as simple as having a date night instead of eating at home every evening, or as intimate as asking a couple to engage in sexual activities they might find exciting and imaginative. With a new vision of each other and increased feelings of intimacy and emotional commitment, a couple may feel more reconnected to each other and encourage them to recommit to their marriage.
How Long should The First Session be? For couples experiencing relationship problems, the average length of sessions is between 1 and 3 hours. Clients can decide how long they will need for the first session.
How Long Does Therapy Take? Most couples come for a few sessions and then book in for top-ups as required.
How Much Are The Fees? Marriage and couples counsellors on the Gold Coast can charge up to $497 per hour. Ghita Therapy charges $200 per hour.
What if we Have Tried Couples Counselling Before and it Wasn't Successful? Couples counselling is a process that requires clients to open up and to commit to the proven formulas designed by top researchers in relationships. It does require an open heart and full trust in the professionalism of your therapist. If you don't like their approach or method, you can shop around for a better fit. We understand that it is very 'personal' and it does make people feel vulnerable and uncomfortable - afterall secrets come out and the therapist has to unpack belief systems and often a lot of mistrust. We are not magicians however, and damage that has taken years to evolve may or may not be able to be undone. If we believe that your relationship is beyond the 11th hour we will recommend a mediation service for you to help you through the separation process. It may help to read some of the information below:
When the Honeymoon is Over It’s easy to be considerate and loving to your partner when everything is going well, the sun is shining, and employment is high. But when the power bill has not been paid, you’re tired or emotional, and your partner is getting cranky and blaming you for the problems in their life, that is when you get tested.
No Magic Wand at The 11th Hour Counsellors cannot be expected to ‘fix’ a relationship where a lot of damage has been done over many years.Counsellors cannot make one person cooperate if they don’t want to. If one party is about to walk out, is hostile to the process or therapist, or has already walked out of a relationship, there may be little that we can do. Furthermore, if there is any family (domestic) violence in a relationship the partners are better off having individual counselling and working on their issues alone before they spend money on repairing their marriage or de facto relationship. If the family violence is more than verbal abuse a counsellor may consider the relationship to be irrepairable and recommend mediation.
Problem Solving Learning how to think differently about a problem is often more effective than thinking about what action you need to take. The fact is, your partner is limited in his or her ability to respond to you and vice versa. Accepting this fact is a huge step towards maturity. When working towards improving your relationship, your attitude towards change is more important than the action you need to take. It is relatively easy to determine what to do and how to do it. The real challenge is getting yourself to actually do it; which is why people go to therapy to stay on track. People often say, 'We know what we need to do, we just need someone to keep us honest and to make us do it.'
Focus on Changing Yourself Rather Than Your Partner You can learn a lot about yourself by understanding what annoys you and how you handle it. Couples Therapy works best if you have more goals for yourself than for your partner. I am at my best when I help you to reach the objectives you set for yourself. You can’t change your partner. Your partner can’t change you. You can influence each other, but that doesn’t mean you can change each other. Becoming a more effective partner is the most efficient way to change a relationship.
“The more you believe that your partner should be different, the less initiative you will take to change the patterns between you.” - Ghita
Good Marriage Counsellors Have to Reality Check Counsellors such as Ghita, try to be as neutral as much as possible, however sometimes it is their job to challenge people with story inconsistencies, contrary body language and to do a type of reality checking. Moreover, this can be hard for some people to accept if they are not in touch with their emotions, or they they have a habit blame others to avoid conflict. While counsellors try to appear unbiased and sensitive to both parties, in order to do their jobs properly and to keep therapy on track, they do have to call clients out on their junk and tell clients when their behaviour is counter-productive, alienating or abusive, otherwise therapy is derailed and all the good work can be lost.
To get the most out of your money in session, the counsellor's job is not to be your buddy, but to show you the best methods for getting your relationship back on track, and sometimes this means asking you to take responsibility for past events so that you can move forward and focus on the future.
Renegotiating Marital Agreements: The Chore Wars Another benefit of marriage counselling is that it can be an opportunity to renegotiate marital agreements that were made in the past. Often, it can be difficult for a couple to approach marriage agreements (agreements about roles, responsibilities, household chores, finances, etc). Often these agreements have been reached at the beginning of a relationship at a time when we were younger and perhaps less experienced in life and in marriage. However, over time, our needs and desires may change and the role we were once comfortable in may become restrictive or uncomfortable.
A prime example of this is a spouse who has agreed to set aside their own career in order to raise a family, allowing the other spouse to focus their attention on being the primary breadwinner for the family. While the family is young, this may be an entirely comfortable and even enjoyable agreement. However, once the children grow older and begin to be more independent, either as teenagers or into early adulthood, the stay-at-home spouse may want to return to the workforce at least part time.
Approaching changing this agreement may be difficult because it may upset the family balance or financial arrangements. By working with Ghita, marital agreements can be approached and renegotiated with her mediator’s presence. Additionally, she may be able to offer suggestions that may not have occurred to the couple that may ease the negotiations or the transition to a new agreement.
Can I Attend by Myself? Certainly. If your partner refuses to attend marriage counselling sessions, you can still attend individual sessions. It's more challenging to mend a relationship this way, but you can benefit by learning more about your own reactions and behaviour.
5 Ways to Help Your Marriage Using Individual Counselling:
Be Honest About Your Own Emotions in order to comprehend why you feel the way you feel and how you can self-regulate/ gain control over those emotions.
Examine Childhood Fears, Mistrust, Anger, Self-Esteem Issues that are triggered by your partner. How can you work on yourself to improve your interactions with others, instead of allowing your inner-critic to sabotage your relationships. Would you like to try individual counselling or NLP?
Communication Style: How is your communication style hampering your relationship? Could you deliver your phrases better? Do you state your needs in a positive or negative way?
Understand your Partner's Love Language and your own. This goes a long way to understand how to love each other and get brownie points. [Book: The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman]
Expectations of Partner Roles: Is your expectation of your partner based on your parent's traditional roles? Is it reasonable? It is always a good idea to examine and be honest about what you expect of your partner (in terms of spouse or parental roles) and then compare these to what is normal in the modern era.
Anger Issues in One Party If one partner has anger issues, depression, serious addictions, severe anxiety issues, or is verbally abusive etc., it is best if they do individual psychotherapy with a psychiatrist before investing in couples counselling.
Walk-Outs Sometimes, during couples counselling one party will become angry (or defensive) and walk out of the session. This is not unusual in this type of sensitive therapy. Please note that counselling fees must still be paid and appointments require 24 hours notice of cancellation. See Cancellation Policy or FAQ
Some Final Thoughts:
Reflect on your objectives for being in therapy
To get to the bottom of a problem often means you first accept how complex it is
Trust is the foundational building block of a flourishing relationship
You create trust by doing what you say you will do
Think about your next step that supports or relates to your larger objectives for attaining the kind of relationship that you wish to create, or the partner that you aspire to become
You can’t create a flourishing relationship by only fixing what’s wrong. But it’s a start
If you don’t know what you feel in important areas of your relationship, it is like playing high stakes poker when you see only half your cards. You will make a lot of dumb plays
The possibility exists that we choose partners we need, but don’t necessarily want
It’s impossible to be in a highly interdependent relationship without ever being judgemental, or being judged
If you strive to always feel emotionally safe in your relationship and get it, you will pay the price by becoming dull
If neither of you ever rocks the boat, you will end up with a dull relationship
Conflict is the normal emotional reaction to feeling a threat or high stress. Improving your relationship means better management of these reactions
Everything you do works for some part of you, even if other parts of you don’t like it
Relationship Top-Ups It is highly recommended to have top-up sessions from time to time, or as required. Some couples use this formula to stop old habits reforming, or just to stay as loving and supportive as possible. It's important to remember that there is an initial free 10 minute phone consultation available to help you decide whether Ghita would be a good fit for you. And you can read about what to expect from your couples session or try the Couples Quiz. Call Ghita today on 0439 888 070.