Couples counselling for heterosexual, same sex and non-binary couples
Considering couples counselling or marriage counselling? I am committed to competence in working with a range of relationship, sex and sexuality issues including alternative sexualities and LGBTQI related issues. I take a sex positive approach & will not shame or shun you for the questions or concerns you bring to me.
You may be experiencing the following:
- Lost sight of why you’re with your partner, need to find a way to reconnect, deciding if it’s time to end your relationship
- Feeling lonely in your relationship and confused about what to do
- Afraid because you think your partner is going to leave you
- Frightened to be alone and smothering your partner which pushes them away
- Insecure, clingy and jealous of your partner and can’t trust them
- Desire differences between partners
- Enhancing sexual satisfaction
- Orgasm and arousal difficulties
- Withdrawn from your partner and avoiding sex or intimacy
- Withholding love and sex from your partner to punish them for past hurts
- You want support around coming out – sexual and gender orientation, kinky, poly/non-monogamous
- Questioning your sexual identity or preferences
- Sexually attracted to other people and scared you will act on these feelings
- Cheating and lying in your relationship and you don’t understand why
- Don’t know how to move forward after one of you had an affair
- Sex and aging
- Often angry and picking fights with your partner and don’t know how to stop
- Unsure how to manage “couplehood” after having a new baby
- Afraid of repeating the same relationship patterns your parents had
- Feeling hopeless because you don’t know how to communicate so that your partner can really hear you
- Stuck in endless cycles of blaming and hostility
- Wondering if you’re as happy as you could be, but unable to pinpoint an exact issue.
I’m a specialized and expertly trained couples therapist working for your best interests. Relationship counselling is my specialty. I have worked with heterosexual as well as LGBTQI people for decades and am competent in working with many sex and sexuality issues.
Relationships Are Challenging
Relationships represent the greatest challenges and opportunities for us as individuals. It is in our relationships that unresolved issues are activated. These issues give us important clues as to where we need support in our development to become more mature and healthy human beings.
I know that relationships are challenging; yet I believe in, and have witnessed, huge growth in the couples I’ve worked with. At Successful Relationships, my husband Simon Mundy and I focus on helping couples achieve real happiness so you can thrive, build stronger families and become caring role models for your children. Using a “nuts and bolts” approach based on 40 years of research which identifies what actually makes couples happy, premature and unnecessary separation can be prevented.
I know many ways to help you resolve conflict and negotiate solutions that satisfy both you and your partner. Over the thirty years I’ve been in practice I’ve been able to help hundreds of couples regain closeness. I may be able to help you. Intimacy issues, sexual desire, infidelity, communication breakdowns are the most frequent issues that couples come to see me about. You don’t have to struggle alone to cope with your relationship issues. At Successful Relationships we help you solve your current problems as well as giving you a set of skills and tools that will last a lifetime.
I also do couples intensive retreats in Faulconbridge, which is 1.5 hours outside of Sydney in the Blue Mountains. I can also do them in Sydney by special arrangement. Intensives consist of 17 hours of couples therapy, the equivalent of 12x ninety minute couples sessions. A private intensive couples week-end may be the ideal solution for you if you can’t find an well-trained couples therapist near home. In addition intensives are useful if you can’t come to regular weekly or fortnightly sessions. If needed, we can follow up the intensive with Skype sessions from your home.
Couples counselling & marriage counselling
In couples counselling and marriage counselling, I take a much more proactive role than I do with individuals. My goal is to help each of you improve your responses to each other without violating your core values or deeply help principles. The major aim of counselling is to increase your knowledge about yourself, your partner and the patterns of interaction between you. I call this the “dance” that you do together.
Couples counselling becomes effective as you apply this new knowledge to change ineffective patterns (the dance steps you do together) and develop better ones. This means you have to do the homework in between sessions so your relationship can change.
Before coming to your first couples session I ask you to read this page to familiarize yourself with my methods of working. This helps you to prepare yourself for counselling, by bringing your answers to the three questions on this page.
The Importance of Communication
The three most important qualities for effective communication are respect, openness and persistence. These are needed so that you can hold on to yourself despite your partner’s reaction. Ineffective communication is the number one presenting problem in couples counselling. Effective communication means you need to pay attention to:
- Managing your unruly reactions, such as refusal to talk or anger that is too intense.
- How you are communicating – your tone and manner.
- What you want from your partner during the discussion.
- Clarifying your beliefs and attitudes about the problem so you recognise what the problem symbolizes to you.
- The outcome you want from the discussion.
- Listening to your partner’s major concerns.
- Practicing how you can help your partner become more responsive to you.
Actions of True Intimacy
Are you willing to go beyond flowers, dinner and chocolate? True intimacy is the best gift you can give. It will last much longer than a box of chocolates and a bouquet of flowers. A committed partnership points to the mutual respect and clarity that form the basis for genuine intimacy. I can help you explore the following methods which can deepen your intimacy.
- Make it emotionally safe to bring up difficult subjects.
- Listen with openness and curiosity.
- Attempt to bring out a fuller range of feelings during discussions and disagreements. This is how you really get to know your partner.
- Respect your partner’s desire for greater distance or closeness as expressing a need for comfort and safety—not as a personal rejection or desire to smother you .
- Listen without comment during disagreements, despite strong feelings being stirred.
- Maintain perspective. See your partner as a human, with wounds and faults – just like you, not a divine being or demon.
- Be honest with yourself. True intimacy with another can’t really happen until we are intimate and honest with compassion to ourselves.
- Dare to expose your imperfections and fears. This is especially difficult since it goes against the instinct for self-protection.
- Practice not depending on your partner to fulfil all your emotional and social needs.
- Don’t use affection, sex and loving behaviour to reward or punish.
Understanding is more than just repeating back what your partner is telling you. If you really understand, you will be able to recap the importance, significance and/or implication of what your partner is telling you. In order to really understand, you will probably need to recap the facts and emotions of what you hear, ask questions for clarification, and ask about the implications or symbolism of what they are telling you. Understanding and acceptance is something we all crave. Giving it is a priceless gift.
You deserve the best trained relationship coaches if you’re planning to invest time and money in your relationship. If you’re not ready to book an appointment, call us on 0421 961 687 to book a FREE 10 minute phone consultation to discuss how we may be able to assist you.
Vivian Baruch provides relationship counselling, marriage counselling, relationship coaching, sex therapy & clinical supervision online and services the following areas: Penrith, Glenbrook, Blaxland, Springwood, Faulconbridge, Hazelbrook, Lawson, Wentworth Falls, Leura, Katoomba, Blackheath, Mt. Victoria, NSW. She also conducts couples intensive retreats in Faulconbridge & Camperdown, NSW.