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 am a certified sex therapist and 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
- Stuck in endless cycles of blaming and hostility or feeling distant from each other
- Feeling hopeless because you don’t know how to communicate so that your partner can hear you
- Feeling lonely in your relationship and confused about what to do
- Frightened to be alone and smothering your partner which pushes them away
- Insecure and jealous of your partner and can’t trust them
- Sexual desire differences between partners
- Withdrawn from your partner and avoiding sex or intimacy
- Enhancing sexual satisfaction
- Orgasm and arousal difficulties
- Withholding love and sex from your partner to punish them for past hurts
- Struggling with discovery of an affair & don’t know how to move forward
- Needing support around coming out, sexual and gender orientation, kinky, poly/non-monogamous
- Questioning your sexual identity or preferences
- Unsure how to manage “couplehood” after having a new baby
- Negotiating sex and aging.
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 forty years I’ve been in practice I’ve been able to help hundreds of couples regain closeness. I may be able to help you.
Frequent issues that many couples have
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 in the Blue Mountains, 74 kms from the Sydney CBD. I also do them in Sydney & via Zoom. These intensive retreats are a two day relationship fix consisting 16 hours of couples therapy, the equivalent of 10.5 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 Zoom 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 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 that 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 issues so you can deepen your intimacy:
- How to make it emotionally safe to bring up difficult subjects
- Listening with openness and curiosity
- Bringing out a fuller range of feelings during discussions and disagreements to really get to know your partner
- Respecting 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
- Listening without comment during disagreements, despite strong feelings being stirred
- Maintaining perspective so you can see your partner as a human, with wounds and faults – just like you, not a divine being or demon
- Being honest with yourself. True intimacy with another can’t really happen until we are intimate, honest & compassionate with ourselves
- Daring to expose your imperfections and fears, which goes against the instinct for self-protection
- Not depending on your partner as the only person to fulfil your emotional and social needs
- Stopping the use of 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 a way that makes them feel heard. 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.
Reach out for help
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 15 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.