Relationship counselling, also known as couples therapy, offers a supportive space for partners to explore the challenges that will naturally arise in every relationship – even in situations where you may have decided to explore other partnerships. Whether your relationship is simply about co-parenting, or about building a committed life with one another, relationship therapy can help to improve connection so that natural disagreements don’t become disconnecting or hurtful conflicts. By looking at underlying emotions, strengthening communication, and facing obstacles (rather than burying our head in the sand) you can get clear about the ways you might be able to overcome challenges, together. The guidance of a skilled therapist can make all the difference in this context – whether you are facing intimacy issues, communication breakdowns, or trying to navigate major life decisions or crises. And this applies to romantic or sexual  relationships of all kinds – not just the traditional notion of a ‘monogamous couple’.

What happens in relationship therapy exactly?

Relationship therapy usually involves a combination of counselling techniques, open dialogue, and skill-building exercises tailored to the unique needs and goals of each relationship. This involves using evidence-based approaches such as the Gottman Method, Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), and PACT. 

Remember – there is no one reason why couples come to relationship counselling – that can be as unique as each relationship! But if you’ve ever wondered what sort of challenges get addressed in this context, and how a relationship therapist might help in each particular scenario, then here are some examples:

  1. Communication Challenges: Partners struggle to effectively communicate their needs and emotions, leading to misunderstandings and conflicts. Example: The therapist teaches active listening techniques, such as reflective listening, to help partners better understand each other’s perspectives.

  2. Intimacy Concerns: Couples experience a lack of emotional or physical intimacy, leading to feelings of disconnect. Example: The therapist facilitates open and honest discussions about each partner’s desires and boundaries, helping them reconnect on a deeper level.

  3. Infidelity: One partner has been unfaithful, causing trust issues and emotional distress within the relationship. Example: The therapist guides the couple through a process of addressing underlying issues, rebuilding trust (if desired), and establishing new ways of being in the relationship moving forward.

  4. Major Life Transitions: Couples struggle to navigate major life changes, such as starting a family or adjusting to retirement, leading to tension and uncertainty. Example: The therapist helps the couple explore their fears and expectations surrounding the transition, offering support and guidance as they adapt to their new circumstances.

  5. Conflict Resolution: Partners frequently engage in heated arguments or power struggles, unable to resolve conflicts constructively. Example: The therapist teaches conflict resolution skills, such as using “I” statements and practicing empathy, to help the couple find common ground and work through disagreements peacefully.

  6. Parenting Differences: Couples disagree on parenting styles or decisions, leading to tension and disagreements in their relationship. Example: The therapist facilitates discussions about each partner’s parenting values and goals, helping them develop a unified approach to co-parenting and decision-making ahead of time.

  7. Sexual Concerns: Couples experience sexual dissatisfaction or differences in libido, causing strain on their relationship. Example: The therapist provides education about sexual health and intimacy, encourages open communication about sexual desires and preferences, and offers techniques for enhancing sexual connection.

  8. Coping with Trauma: One or both partners have experienced trauma, such as childhood abuse or loss, impacting their ability to connect and trust in the relationship. Example: The therapist creates a safe space for partners to share their experiences and process their emotions, using trauma-informed techniques to promote healing and resilience.

  9. Cultural or Religious Differences: Couples navigate cultural or religious differences that influence their values, beliefs, and relationship dynamics. Example: The therapist facilitates discussions about each partner’s cultural or religious background, helping them find common ground while respecting their individual identities.

  10. Financial Strain: Couples face financial stress or disagreements about money management, leading to strain in their relationship. Example: The therapist helps the couple explore their financial goals and priorities, develop a budgeting plan, and communicate effectively about money matters to reduce tension and build financial security together.

Breaking free of stigma and traditional notions of a relationship: Diversity, non-monogamy, and talking about sex

Relationships are an ever-evolving adventure, punctuated by challenges, crises, and moments of growth. At Sydney City Psychology, our overarching approach is to help empower individuals to have fulfilling and sustainable relationships that align with their unique values and desires. This means relationships of all kinds and configurations, with a focus on fostering clear and responsive connection, enabling conflicts and differences to be addressed with care and collaboration rather than contention or dismissal. We tailor our approach to suit the unique dynamics of each relationship, and to break free of stigma and marginalisation of diverse groups. 

For same-sex and LGBTIQ+ couples, we understand the importance of providing a supportive and affirming environment. Our therapists are deeply committed to fostering openness, communication, and resilience while addressing the specific challenges and needs faced by minority and diverse groups.

We also want to create a space where sex can be spoken about freely and openly, because sex is often an important part of intimate relationships. We can help you to address sexual challenges, enhance sexual connection and satisfaction, and facilitate open conversations about the important sexual aspects of relationships. We believe that sexual satisfaction is integral to mental health and wellbeing, and we’re here to explore these topics with you.  

Finally, if you are exploring non-monogamy or alternative relationship structures like polyamory and throuples, relationship therapy can help. These non-traditional arrangements often require a high level of communication, trust, and emotional intelligence to navigate well, so therapy can be particularly helpful in empowering you to have fulfilling and sustainable relationships that align with their unique values and desires.

Where can I go to find relationship therapy?

At Sydney City Psychology, we offer online and in-person relationship therapy. This includes couples therapy, sex therapy, and relationship therapy focussed on the unique romantic and sexual needs of each relationship. Whether you’re part of a married couple, navigating the complexities of LGBTIQA+ relationships, facing separation and co-parenting arrangements, or exploring alternative relationship structures like polyamory and throuples, we are here to offer support. 

Ready to embark on a journey of growth and fulfillment in your relationship? Contact us today to begin your transformative experience.

If you’re ready to strengthen your connection, get in touch today to book a session with one of our psychologists and relationship therapists, or to discuss other options that might best suit your therapy goals.