Relationship Counselling

All of us have our own unique ideas about what makes a relationship great. We are influenced by the relationships we’ve grown up with, such as with our parents and siblings and by our values and beliefs. As we continue to form new relationships, their success tends to be reflected in how well our expectations align with those of the other person (or people). This is especially true for couples and families.

When our expectations don’t align well we can develop problems within our relationships. This can happen for any number of reasons. For example, employees may feel they have been treated unjustly, a couple may disagree on the number of children they would like or perhaps tensions may rise due to different religious beliefs.

Problems can also occur within a family if one member has a chronic physical or mental health issue as this can significantly change the nature of the relationships within that family. Events that lead to a lack of trust or betrayal can also cause significant damage within relationships.

Not all relationship issues are negative, though. Often people may have a happy relationship but are aware there are areas they can improve on. Some even choose to spend time together examining their relationship expectations before making long-term commitments.


Key ingredients for good relationships

While no two relationships are the same, healthy relationships tend to share some common characteristics including:

  • Trust – This is the foundation of all strong relationships. Mistrust can have many negative consequences.
  • Mutual respect – People don’t have to agree on everything to get along, but it is important to respect everyone around us; especially regarding opinions, beliefs, goals and values.
  • Awareness – Giving thought to how our words and behaviours affect those around us can help prevent tension and conflict.
  • Good communication – Being able to share thoughts and feelings appropriately and always being open and honest will help make our relationships richer.


Reasons for seeking relationship counselling:

Separation and Divorce

Couples may choose to undergo separation counselling after one or both partners have made the decision to end their relationship. It is a separate process to relationship counselling as that is centred on finding ways to keep the couple together.

Continue reading about separation and divorse counselling

Affairs and Betrayals

Betrayal comes in many forms including affairs, financial secrets, threats to leave or addictions such as gambling or substance abuse. All of these can have a massive influence on the health, well-being and overall quality of life not only of the person doing the betraying but also of everybody around them.

Affairs and betrayals can bring any relationship to breaking point. Once the bond of trust is shattered, it unleashes an intense tide of emotions in the person that has been betrayed.

Continue reading about affair and betrayal counselling

Cross cultural Relationships

Relationships that involve two people deciding to spend their lives together as a new unit are all cross-cultural to a degree as both parties come from different families and backgrounds. For some couples the differences will be minor and easy to adjust to; however, for others, the differences in our customs and beliefs can become an issue.

Continue reading about cross cultural relationship counselling

Pre-nuptial Counselling

Pre-nuptial counselling gives couples an opportunity to consider in depth the shape they want their relationship to take before embarking on a new life together. It helps them to consider the act of committing to each other in some way and to consider how to prepare for any emotional or practical problems that may arise.

Sharing their fears or concerns early on – under the guidance of an experienced counsellor - can save a couple lots of pain and heartache down the track. While this approach may seem a bit ‘old-fashioned’ or ‘cold’ to some, upon examination many couples have discovered that it is a very constructive and enlightening experience.

Continue reading about pre-nuptial counselling

Family Issues

The concept of family holds different meanings for different people. For some, it is the traditional nuclear family with a married male and female and the children born within that marriage. Some may include step-children, half-siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. Others may define it as a group of people who may not be blood-related but who consider themselves a family, care deeply for one another and rely on each other.

The idea of family therapy might bring up pre-conceived notions of intervention by social workers and welfare agencies that can be difficult to overcome. However, more and more families are turning to counselling to help navigate through change or to find ways to deal with the extreme behaviour of one or more of the members.

Continue reading about family issues counselling

Workplace Relationships

Many of us spend a large part of our lives at work. Even those that work alone still need to engage with other people such as clients and employers at different times. However, most of us also have co-workers. Sometimes we spend more time with them than with our family and friends. The quality of our relationships at work impacts how we feel about our work and can also play a big part in the state of our mental health.

Continue reading about workplace relationship counselling


Who can provide relationship counselling?

Many mental health professionals offer relationship counselling as part of their service. Some define it specifically as couples or family counselling, while others use the term in a broader sense and offer help with all forms of relationships.

When searching for a counsellor, look for those with experience in your area of concern and check their qualifications.

Professional counsellors, psychologists and social workers can provide specialist services for workplaces. In Australia, many practices are registered to offer services as part of an Employee Assistance Program offered by employers. They provide confidential counselling services to employees to help them both at work and at home.

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