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Article by Associated Counsellors

Associated Counsellors & Psychologists Sydney Profile | Email | Website
Associated Counsellors & Psychologists Sydney Counselling & Psychologist treatment for all issues including depression, anxiety, addiction, sexuality, relationships, couple & marriage counselling.


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Most long-term couples will at some stage in their relationship encounter times of conflict or unresolved issues between the partners. Often couples work through these issues themselves. When a couple is unable to do so, both the difficulties in communicating and any underlying issues can cause a loss of trust, feelings of resentment, repeated arguments and a loss of the couples intimacy and sex life. Couples counselling can provide an environment where open communication is promoted and where couples can begin to state their needs and resolve their issues.

Why People Come to Couples Therapy

Common problem areas that bring people to couples counselling include:

  • A lack of trust between the two partners.

  • Frequent arguments, or a repeated argument about the same issue(s).

  • Sexual infidelity of one or both partners.

  •  A feeling of disconnectedness from ones partner.

  • Unfulfilled emotional needs; feeling hurt, angry, neglected or disrespected.

  • Differences in sexual needs, lack of sexual connection or difficulties with sexual intimacy.

  • Conflicts about children or family members.

  • Conflicts about financial or career matters.

  • Conflicts about gambling, addictions or other behaviours.

All these can be examples of the sorts of issues which, if unresolved, can lead to frustration, conflict and bitterness between partners. These problems can start in a relationship because of a personality or character conflict, because of an external change (for example the birth of a first child or a change in the finances of the couple), or because of the actions of one or both of the partner's (eg infidelity, lack of communication, angry outbursts).

How Couples Counselling Works

The aim of couples counselling is to help partners who are stuck in patterns of conflict to finds ways of communicating with each other, to decide how to solve their problems and to achieve their goals. The therapist will help the couple discuss their thoughts and feelings, in order to help them gain a better understanding of their own, and each others position.

Couple therapists will begin by listening to each partner's view of the relationship and their perceived problems or issues. Sometimes the therapist will seek information about the history of the relationship or the partner's personal histories. Often the therapist is able to highlight misunderstandings in the couples communication. This process itself motivates a change in the way each partner feels and behaves toward the other. Often the therapist will also offer a new perspective on the issues at hand or suggest a direction for treatment to help both partners achieve their goals. This may include the teaching of strategies to help improve communications. Each partner's active participation is vital in promoting the success of the therapy.

Couples Counselling and Sex Therapy

Although sexual dysfunction is a common factor in couple's deciding to seek couples counselling, it is not the same as sex therapy. Sex therapy presumes an otherwise functional relationship in which sexual dysfunction is the only problem. Couples counselling focuses on the relationship as a whole.  Most couples find that sexual issues resolve once the intimacy in the relationship is established or restored. If required a Couple Therapists can also refer you on to a Sex Therapist.

Couples Counselling and Family Therapy

Children are another common factor in the decision to seek couples counselling, and are often affected psychologically by the problems which may bring people to couple therapy. However children are not present in couples counselling, which focuses on the relationship between the two partners. Therapy which includes children or other family members is called Family Therapy. If the therapist feels that Family Therapy would be beneficial they will refer the couple for such treatment.

How to Choose A Couples Counsellor

In engaging any professional service you should ensure that your service provider is qualified and acredited. Counselling is no exception. Professional counselling is a skill that requires a high degree of training. Couples counselling is again another area of specialisation within that discipline. In trusting your relationship to a third party, you should ensure that your counsellor has appropriate qualifications , has experience specifically in couples counselling and that they are registered with a relevant professional association such as the Australian Psychological Society, the Australian Association of Social Workers or a Psychotherapy & Counselling Federation of Australia member body. All couples counsellors affiliated with Associated Counsellors & Psychologists Sydney adhere to these standards.

If you would like to book a consultation with a qualified couples therapist, or would like to discuss treatment options and obtain further advice please contact us.

Written by Joanna Fishman for Associated Counsellors <a href="">Google</a>

21 Aug 2012

Last Update: 26 Aug 2013

Article/Information supplied by Associated Counsellors

Disclaimer - Any general advice given in any article should not be relied upon and should not be taken as a substitute for visiting a qualified medical Doctor.