top of page

Frequently Asked Questions

If you did not find the answer to your question below, please get in touch

Image by Joshua Sortino
  • Would our relationship benefit from couples counselling?
    If you’re suffering, it’s time to get some help. While crises and difficulties are painful and trying, they can also offer opportunities for personal and relationship growth. Research shows that working with a specialist couples counsellor has significantly better results than trying alone. If you answer YES to one or more of the statements below, your relationship would likely benefit from couples counselling. Couples counselling can be beneficial in these situations: You keep having the same fight - over and over again; You lost connection to your partner, and you get more emotional support outside of your relationship than in it; You and your partner have experienced a major rupture or transition in your relationship; Your partner asks for couples counselling - your partner is communicating a desire to understand, connect or repair; You aren’t the partner you want to be – you don’t play by your values and priorities; You are coping with an issue that might be affecting your relationship (such as mental health or substance use); You’re unhappy with your sex life – loss of desire or lack of intimacy; You feel stagnant or stuck in familiar patterns; You have problems communicating with each other - talking with each other has become difficult or highly negative; Negative outbursts are frequent, and one or both of you have displayed out-of-control behaviour that is harmful; You seem to be avoiding conversations about any difficult issues/topics; You feel you lost yourself in this relationship, and you don’t know who you are anymore; You started a new relationship or preparing for marriage and want to maximise your opportunity to build a loving, fulfilling and lasting relationship; You love your partner but don’t know how to overcome the anger and resentment you feel for them; You experience contradictory feelings and attitudes towards your partner and oscillate between being in and out of your relationship (even mentally); You want to leave, but you are scared that you may make the worst mistake of your life; Your relationship too good to leave and too bad to stay; You wonder if this relationship is good enough or if you would be better with someone else. Timing is essential There's no need to wait until we’re in crisis mode to come to therapy. Rather than viewing counselling as a last resort, consider it the strong foundation to build your relationship on. According to relationship expert Dr. John Gottman, couples endure an average of six years of unhappiness before getting help. That is six years of built-up resentment before they start addressing the issues. Most relationship problems start small and then grow in size until they get resolved.
  • How do we get the most out of couples counselling?
    The most efficient way to change a relationship is to become a more effective partner. If you already decided to begin your couples counselling, I applaud your bravery and courage! Starting couples counselling can be a daunting prospect for some. There are abundant opportunities to grow and shape your relationship future. You will be investing a considerable amount of time and resources. Therefore, understanding what gives your couples counselling the best chance of success makes lots of sense. Below are some essential concepts and principles that can really make a difference in the value that you will be taking away. 1. Change the Focus. Most couples come to counselling with a belief that their partner is the problem in their relationship, and they define the success of the process by the speed at which their partner is changing. For effective counselling, it’s essential to realise that you are the only person who you can change and that you need to turn the gaze to yourself. Understanding what your contributions to the problems and taking responsibility for your actions are the desired focus. Together, we aim to identify how each of you contributes to the relationship dynamics and how you can begin to work more effectively as a team. 2. Knowing What’s Your Goal for Couples Counselling. Many couples who are struggling want the pain and hurt to stop. While that makes lots of sense, and it will be one of the first things we will attend to, it’s equally important to understand what it is that we will be working together towards. What kind of partner do you aspire to be, and what relationship do you want to co-create? How would you each and together benefit from this change? Sometimes, clients don’t know what they really want or where they stand in the relationship. In these situations, we will start with understanding and clarifying your options and desires. 3. Stretching Towards the Change You Want. You will never explore different worlds if you always keep sight of the shoreline. Willingness to get out of your comfort zone, being open-minded to new concepts and taking emotional risks is at the heart of the success of your counselling process. To connect, we need to approach our partner with softness and vulnerability, which can sound like a challenging prospect to some couples coming to counselling. 4. Your Attitude Towards Change Is Key. We are strongly pulled to the familiar, and change is always a stretch that requires energy, motivation, time and resources. Persisting is crucial when the process is uncomfortable; you may experience a setback, or other issues competing for your time and attention may emerge. 5. The Work You Do Between the Sessions. During the counselling sessions, we will explore different ways of thinking about your situation and learn new skills. From most of the sessions, you will leave with a recommendation for activities to undertake at home. Home is your training ground where you can put your new skills into practice in day-to-day situations. Prioritising connection with your spouse and creating a daily practice of it will nurture your relationship and support the process.
  • How do we get started?
    I applaud your courage to dive into counselling, and I’m looking forward to working with you! My booking system will take you through the following steps from the start to your booked appointment. 1. To better understand your situation before our first session as a couple, I would like each of you to complete a Relationship Questionnaire. This will provide me with insight into the issues you are facing in your relationship. To understand more about each of you as a person, please complete the Personal History Form. 2. Review and sign the Disclosure Statement 3. Book a suitable time for your first session via the booking system on the website 4. Complete the payment to secure your booking You are welcome to contact me before the booking if you have any questions about the counselling process, myself, or to check if we are a good fit for the particular issue you may bring. If you are interested in an Intensive session, please contact me by email to discuss if that’s suitable for your situation.
  • What if my partner does not want to come for couples counselling?
    There is often one partner who is more motivated to engage in couples counselling. Your partner may be less motivated or completely reluctant. There are lots of reasons why people are shying away from the idea of couples counselling. Concerns of being judged or perhaps asked to make changes that don’t make sense to them could be a few of the reasons. Others find talking about their feelings and thoughts with a stranger rather difficult. These are completely usual and valid reasons. If your partner does not want to attend couples counselling, here are a few ideas on how to offer them a different perspective: Talk to your partner honestly about your concerns and desires. What would you like to experience in your relationship, and how would you both benefit from this? You can suggest couples counselling as an effective tool to help you make these changes easier and faster. Try to approach the conversation with empathy and understanding, emphasising that counselling is not about assigning blame but rather about strengthening the relationship. Sharing some thoughts about the benefits of couples counselling and how it can help improve communication, resolve conflicts, and enhance the overall quality of the relationship may be useful. You can also share some websites of the counsellors you would find to be a good match. If the format of couples counselling is not appealing to your partner, consider other options, such as couples workshops, retreats, or online programs. These alternative formats may be more approachable or appealing to your partner and still provide opportunities for growth and healing within the relationship. You can invite your partner to engage in learning and growing your relationship through other resources like reading books or blogs together or listening to podcasts or YouTube videos of relationship counsellors and therapists. That may increase their interest in engaging in couples counselling. Start relational individual therapy. We can control how we are and what we bring into the relational space. The changes you make will highly likely have a positive impact on your relationship dynamic. Taking steps to grow yourself can potentially create an opening for your partner to reconsider couples counselling in the future. Individual Relational Counselling
  • What if I need to change or cancel my appointment?
    If you need to cancel a booked session, please do so with at least 24 hours advance notice. If your session is cancelled with less than 24h notice from the appointment start time, please note that you will be invoiced for the entire cost of your scheduled appointment if it is not timely cancelled. Cancelling with advanced notice allows me to offer your session to other clients who may be waiting, and keep a steady income.
  • What times are sessions available?
    My working hours are Tue to Fri 11 to 4 pm, Thu 9.30-4 pm. My last couple’s session starts at 2.00 pm. I have limited availability to see clients on Saturdays (11-4 pm). I work from a private space in Henderson, Auckland and online using the Zoom platform. The Intensive Sessions are available mostly over the weekend (Sat or Sun) in the counselling space in Glen Eden. Other locations for the Intensive session are negotiable.
  • How many sessions will we need?
    Change is not a fast process. It’s rather a succession of many small steps taken over time. It simply takes time to create a relationship that flourishes. For enduring change to occur, we need to learn new skills and apply and integrate them into our daily lives. Change starts with increased awareness of one’s own behaviour and continues with the conscious choice of effective behaviour over the old, ineffective, and often deeply ingrained pattern of relating. To give your relationship a fair chance for enduring change, most couples need at least 8-10 sessions. At the start, I meet with couples weekly, then progress to fortnightly /monthly. This is not in any way the prescribed length of couples counselling. The time frames for couples work vary and depend on their goals and current circumstances. I am flexible to work with your needs and preferences regarding the intensity and frequency of our counselling.
  • I don’t know where I stand and what I want from my relationship. Is couples counselling useful to help move on from relational ambivalence?
    Do you experience contradictory feelings and attitudes towards your partner? Are you oscillating between being in and out of your relationship (even mentally)? Do you want to leave, but you are scared that you may make the worst mistake of your life? Is your relationship too good to leave and too bad to stay? If these questions feel familiar, you may be stuck in relational ambivalence and wondering in the gloomy lands of uncertainty. If you have been weighing the pros and cons of your relationship for some time, you may perhaps also experience immense decision fatigue and feeling trapped. Relationship ambivalence is an increasingly common experience, fuelled by growing uncertainty around us, endless choices in front of us and our own beliefs about relationships. The uncertainty it comes with is taxing; it can increase anxiety and affect self-confidence. The problem with ambivalence is that it leads to reduced investment in the relationship, creating a cycle where the less we invest, the more ambivalent we become. Couples counselling is one of the useful tools that can lead you to more clarity, open different perspectives and see the bigger picture. It can help you explore your motivation for being in the relationship, what is blocking our ‘knowing’ or if this relationship is viable or worth it for you.
  • We are in Crisis! Effective Steps for Relationship Crisis Management
    A relationship crisis could be defined as an intense stress or conflict that threatens the stability and viability of your relationship and the well-being of both partners. Many ways can lead to this deeply stressful point, being it a culmination of issues that had been brewing for some time or a major breach of trust as an affair or other betrayal. In these moments, we are often left paralysed, unable to think, feel or act. Here are a few ideas on what to do if you and your relationship are in crisis. 1. Crisis is a temporary, heightened state that activates our limbic system and sends us to the fight /flight/freeze response. It can significantly reduce the availability of the executive function part of the brain (the smart brain). The number one rule of crisis is not to make it worse – mitigate harm. We need to be aware that we are very vulnerable to emotions, unable to think straight and tread accordingly. 2. Self–care. I understand that you may feel awful, desperate, sad, angry, betrayed and very lonely. This is the time to take it easy and look after yourself. Get your smart brain back. Attend to the basics – sleep, nutrition, work. Avoid substances that are likely to get your brain to an even worse place. Practising breathing exercises and relaxation can help restore balance. 3. Connect. Seek support from your friends, family or anyone else who you trust. If you feel you have no one to talk to, call one of the phone helplines. While talking to others does not usually solve the problem, it can help you to put things in perspective and lighten the heaviness of the situation and how you feel. 4. Foster safety. Quite likely, both of you are on high alert. Fostering safety by acting and communicating safely, you are helping to calm both of you down and working towards a space where you can restore effective communication. Threats to leave, blame, criticism, and stonewalling are not promoting safety. Instead, tell your partner simply what you need, e.g. “I need to move out for a week.” Be neutral and kind. 5. Prevent further damage to your relationship. Remember that you can’t take back your words said in rage and desperation. 6. Try to see a glimpse of your partner’s perspective. It may be incredibly hard during a crisis as we are fighting for our own survival, and our survival brain is not relational. And you are dealing with so much already. But you can try. You can try to see that they, too, are hurting and feeling awful. They, too, are defensive and fighting to get through the basics of their day. 7. Refrain from assumptions and narratives about your partner and their motivation. “I know you don’t care anymore; you can’t love me if you have done this; you hate me”. These are largely your projections and interpretations that can be really hurtful for you right now. Give your partner the benefit of the doubt instead. Once things calm down a bit, you can ask questions and clarify your understanding of your conversations and events. 8. Seek professional counselling: Finally, I highly recommend seeking out the support of couples or individual counsellor. When you come for your initial counselling session, the crisis may be well over (or not). However, the problems that lead you to the crisis are still present, and now it may be a good time to start unpacking them and working towards your preferred relationship. If the crisis brought you to the brink of divorce, discernment counselling can help you to evaluate your options, offer clarity and support you in making the best possible decision for your future.

Effective Crisis Response

  • Remember, the crisis is a short-term event, and you will not feel like this forever.

  • You don’t want to worsen it by hurtful or ineffective communication and actions towards your partner or yourself.

  • You may not have much control over the current relationship situation; however, you still have control over yourself, your behaviour and your actions.

  • Your brain is in a heightened emotional state, and you can’t think straight. Not a time for decision-making.

  • You can improve your well-being by breathing, exercising, being in nature and connecting with friends or family.

  • If you feel at risk of harm from your partner, leave to a safe place if that’s possible, engage Shine for assistance with domestic violence (0508 744 633) or call the Police (111) if in immediate danger (push 55 if you can’t speak).

  • If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts, seek professional help NOW 

Lifeline –
0800 543 354 (0800 LIFELINE)
or free text 4357 (HELP)


Suicide Crisis Helpline –
0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO) 

Please note that I am not able to provide crisis service and support.

If your situation is very stressful, I will do my best to offer you the earliest appointment available, usually within a few days.

Signs that you should be concerned and consider couples counselling

  • You keep having the same fight - over, and over again;

  • You lost connection to your partner and you get more emotional support outside of your relationship than in it;

  • You and your partner have experienced major rupture or transition in your relationship

  • Your partner asks for couples counselling - your partner is communicating a desire to understand, connect and repair;

  • You aren’t the partner you want to be – you don’t play in accordance to your values and priorities

  • You are coping with an issue that might be affecting your relationship (such as mental health or substance use);

  • You’re unhappy with your sex life – loss of desire or lack of intimacy;

  • You feel stagnant or stuck familiar patterns 

  • You have problems communicating with each other - talking with each other has become difficult or extremely negative;

  • Negative outbursts are frequent, and one or both of you has displayed out-of-control behaviour that is harmful.

  • You considering to leave your relationship but don’t know how – or if I really should. 

  • You seem to be avoiding conversations about any difficult issues / topics

  • You feel you lost yourself in this relationship and you don’t know who you are anymore

  • You started a new relationship or preparing for a marriage and want to maximize your opportunity to build loving, fulfilling and lasting relationship

  • I love my partner but I don’t know how to overcome the anger and resentment I feel for him

  • Do you want to learn how to hold two competing ideas and still be able to love each other?

  • Are you sick of blaming and fighting? Do you want to become who you aspire to be?

  • Are you in limbo of not separating and not committing?

bottom of page