Couples Counselling

Even the best relationships experience tough times. At Oak Tree Counselling we have helped numerous couples learn how to communicate better, how to get their needs met, and how to deal with conflict better. We have helped couples heal old wounds and resentments, regain lost trust, reignite lost intimacy, and enjoy each other more again.
We provide a safe private setting, and an experienced relationship counsellor to listen to your issues, and give insight into how things can be improved, and coach you how to get there. We are not here to judge, and we won’t take sides; both partners are treated as equally important. However, be prepared to be challenged on how you currently do things. How much you will get out of the sessions will depend on how much you are willing to try something a little different. If you keep doing the same thing you are going to get the same results. For us, couples counselling is not just about listening and talking, it’s about providing you with practical tools and solutions to reach your relationship goals and get the results you want.

Why come to couples counselling?

Couples come to us for many different reasons, and at different stages of their relationship. Perhaps you are looking for pre-marriage counselling, or have just started to notice that your relationship is not quite what it was. Other couples find that they are arguing all the time, have many years of hurt and resentment built up, have mismatched libidos, or have little in common anymore. One of you may have had an affair, or you may be on the verge of separation where something must change in order for you to want to continue the relationship. The common thread is that every couple wants to have a happier, easier relationship.


 

Probably the most common issue we see is how couples deal with differences of opinion and with conflict. Couples either withdraw meaning nothing ever gets resolved, or disagreements escalate resulting in one or both parties feeling unheard, misunderstood, and unappreciated. Hot topics include; a partners’ difficult behaviour, allocation of workload, differing expectations and values, money, sex, children, and in-laws. These are all issues we are used to seeing and have a proven track record in improving.

Positive changes can sometimes been seen as early as the 3rd or 4th session, even with couples who have come to us saying that they are done with the relationship and ready to move on. The earlier in your relationship you come the better, but we have helped couples who have been together for 30+ years. As long as you are both willing to try, there is hope. With an experienced fresh pair of eyes, some insight, and a new way forward, loving feelings can reappear surprisingly quickly, even after years of absence.

What to expect?

The first session is dedicated towards giving you both the chance to describe what your relationship is like for you. You will also be asked about your goals for counselling, and your commitment levels. What would success look like? Do you want this to work, and are you prepared to try something different? By the end of the session your counsellor will be able to recommend what needs to be done, approximately how many sessions would be required, and how often to come. It is then discussed with you whether this is workable, and if and how you would like to continue.

For complex issues (but not for all couples) it is usual to see you as a couple first, and then to see each party individually for a session each before coming back together as a couple. This helps your counsellor make a more thorough assessment of the issues you are facing.

What if my partner won’t come?

This is a very common. Sometimes partners are afraid of being ambushed, or blamed, or shamed. Sometimes they don’t think there is a problem (which is in itself a problem), or they are scared that the problem is bigger than it actually is and what that might mean for the relationship.

Sometimes a reluctant partner can be persuaded to come if they are approached in the right way. We suggest focusing on the hopeful outcome; that you want to improve your relationship together and learn how to do things better. By using the words “I” and “we” your partner will feel less blamed. Inform them that counselling will be focused on meeting both of your needs in the relationship, that this is a joint project rather than an adversarial one, and that they won’t be ganged up on. Reassure them that you do care about what they think and need.

If this approach doesn’t work, we often carry out relationship work ‘by proxy’ with just one partner. This gives you the opportunity to be heard and supported through your frustrations as well as being coached to make small changes in how you handle your relationship which hopefully will have a knock on positive effect on how your partner reacts to you. This can be surprisingly successful. 

What next?

If you have any questions we are happy to help. Please call us on 03 8060 8808 or Clare on 0424 069 889. Bookings can be made by telephone or by using the “Book Now” function on our website. The “Book Now” function also shows our availability for the next month. Our fees can be found under ‘frequently Asked Questions’

 

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