Couples & Relationship Counselling Melbourne
When hurt, confusion and conflict become prominent features of intimate relationships, Couples Therapy can provide support through offering a deeper understanding of self, other and relationship. Whether you are in crisis or curious, gaining the perspective of an experienced therapist can help intimate partners heal, grow and love again.
How Couples Therapy Can Help
In intimate relationships, we create a world of language, rituals and rhythms which are uniquely possible with that special other. No two relationships are the same and it a precious gift when we find somebody with whom we find pleasure in the present moment and share hopes for the future. Healthy intimate relationships also support personal well-being and growth, through providing support and comfort in challenging times.
Though love may start with such promises, often historical wounds or patterns of conflict emerge which get in the way of the care, kindness and curiosity which marked earlier days. Hurt, confusion and conflict may begin to become a more frequent occurrence and distress heightens as couples question the longevity of their bond. Whilst confusing, these difficulties can be understood as the growing pains necessary for relational and psychological healing. With supportive guidance from an experienced couples therapist, partners can be supported to transform their suffering into insight and intimacy.
All couples benefit from support
Couples Therapy is becoming increasingly popular due to valuable influences from social media, the US tv show “Couples Therapy” and public voices such as renowned therapist Esther Perel. Couples therapy is now seen as a normal and practical approach to the natural complexity of relationships and seen to offer the possibility of thriving rather than surviving in long-term relationships. Instead of being something to hide or be ashamed of, intimate partners are coming earlier to couples therapy and benefitting from the insight and tools they can gain.
Couples therapy at The Spring Clinic in Carlton, begins by offering a safe and supportive environment for couples to discuss what have felt like previously overwhelming issues. Often the process of having an empathic, third perspective and a therapeutic container to discuss challenging topics is a transformative experience for couples. Opening the line of communication between partners is the first pathway into renewed connection.
A client-centred approach to couples therapy
Our couples therapists take your lead – each session begins with what is important to you and your partner. From there, our couples therapists weave in the right questions, reflections and activities to help you to understand the source of your challenges. Couples therapy is a kind of theatre, a space to express, play and enact the drama of love under the guidance of an informed therapist. Your couples therapist becomes a participant in previously stuck dialogues and supports the emergence of more productive ways of communicating.
What Couples Therapy Can Address...
When a partner is nonconsensually sexually or emotionally intimate with a person outside of a relationship, there is a rupture in the previously safe and supportive bond which has taken time to build. Experienced as a trauma to the betrayed partner, infidelity often needs to be addressed under the guidance of a couples therapist who understands the psychological and relational impact of such events. Trust takes time to rebuild and couples therapy provides a non-judgmental and compassionate approach to helping partners to reflect, take accountability and heal trust.
Managing Mental Health Issues
Intimate relationships are fonded upon mutual care, and that means, that your partner’s struggles in part become your own. Navigating complex mental health issues in one or both partners in relationship can be stressful and it is often of benefit to seek couples therapy to better comprehend what occurs with mental health issues and how you might manage these experiences together. Addressing mental health issues in couples also includes taking accountability for our own well-being and the impact of our behavior on partners.
The end of a cherished relationship is a heartbreaking experience, especially when they are multiple ties to relationship including family, a shared home, visions, ethics or passions. Couples therapy can guide couples through the difficult terrain of separation and offer not only a more peaceable ending, but also the possibility of maintaining respect, care and connection as friends, coparents or coworkers. Couples therapy for separation is a brave and beautiful process which is a special interest of some couples therapists at The Spring Clinic.
Couples are often scared to speak honestly and openly about how they feel. This tendency often mirrors implicit rules about communication learnt in family households throughout childhood and it can take some gentle support from a couples therapist to begin talking about what affects us most deeply in relationship. For couples who struggle with communication, couples therapy provides a model for discussing feelings and thoughts which had previously felt taboo. Couples often begin to talk more freely outside of sessions and can begin using the communication tools offered by their couples therapist at home.
Codependence can be understood as a lack of physical, but also emotional separateness in relationship. We may loose sight of our individual selves – what we feel passionate about and feel irrevocable of our partner’s experience. Codependence creates a number of issues in relationships including chronic emotional reactivity and a loss of relational chemistry. Couples therapy can help to redefine the boundaries between self and other, opening the opportunity for a relationship of two inspired, grounded individuals who co-create instead of co-dependence.
Making Shared Life Decisions
No couple is immune to the natural complexity of life, and there are often moments of confrontation about important shared decisions which arise in the lifecycle of an intimate relationship. Moving home, having children, parenting, financial decisions and negotiations about daily living can often become points of tension leading to recursive, seemingly irresolvable conflicts. Couples therapy can provide new ways of having difficult conversations about important life decisions and help you to resolve your valid though opposing perspectives.
In committed relationships, our partner becomes our team-mate, working together to build and sustain a cherished vision of life. The creation and maintenance of a relationship, household, family or shared workplace may lead to conflicts regarding roles and responsibilities. We may be partner, workmate and co-parent, all within one relationship and this naturally leads to challenges about contributions and decision making. Couples therapy can provide a forum to more productively explore feelings and desires regarding roles and responsibilities, leading to a happier, more collaborative bond for partners.
Polyamory is a consensual relationship structures in which partners have multiple sexual or emotional bonds. People who embrace polyamory are often reflective and ethically minded, holding in their hearts a faith in the abundant possibilities of love. There are unique challenges to this relationship structure, as multiple partners opens the way for not only more love and pleasure, but also more relational complexity. Whether you are newly polyamorous or are in long-term poly connections, we have couples therapists at The Spring Clinic who are specially trained in supporting polyamorous relationships maintain loving, sustainable and secure relationships.
Some couples experience emotional distance in relationship, whereby they might feel that they are “ships in the night” or “roommates”, instead of the intimate partners they once were. Emotional distance in relationships is often a sign of unexpressed desires, needs and conflicts, which couples therapy address through offering a safe, communicative environment with a trusted therapist. Your couples therapist can also give you exercises and tools to use at home to help you to open up more vulnerably in relationship and regain emotional intimacy.
Loosing 'the spark'
Feeling a sense of connection, vitality and chemistry in relationship is a vital difference to being in a platonic relationship. Couples can becomes distressed when they “loose the spark” and often arrive at couples therapy feeling worried that it might be impossible to uncover. The couples therapists at the Spring Clinic can offer insightful and unexpected perspectives, exercises and processes to rekindle desire and excitement in relationship – often leaving couples more empowered and inspired than ever before.
Differences in Sexual Desire
In Couples therapy, differences in sexual desire is called “desire discrepancy” and this is a very common issues which couples therapy can resolve. Our therapists are knowledgeable about the subtle, intricate nature of desire and can help you and your partner to better understand, dialogue about and master what increases and decreases your desire to be sexually intimate. Couples may be surprised to learn how relationship dynamics might be contributing to sexual intimacy, rather than simplistic ways of making meaning, such as “I’m just not attracted to my partner anymore”.
Couples therapy almost always includes addressing chronic patterns of conflict, because conflict is only natural when you attempt to meet two unique, sometimes contradictory perspectives. At The Spring Clinic, your couples therapist will have a range of approaches to help you and your partner understand and change rigid patterns of conflict. Clients come to couples therapy often desiring tools to have more effective communication, and whilst exercises and communication skills are often taught in couples therapy at The Spring Clinic, couples are often surprised to find that the understanding of themselves and their partner which they gain through the process of couples therapy is the greatest tool for overcoming what feels like intractable issues.
Our Couple's therapists draw on a range of therapeutic modalities to help you and your partner reconnect.
Our couple’s therapists at The Spring Clinic have a diverse range of training which they flexibly apply to the needs and goals of each couple. Their training includes the Gottman Method of Couples Therapy, Emotionally Focused Therapy for Couples and the Psychobiological Approach to Couples Therapy (PACT).
Having a broad toolkit allows your couples therapist to adapt to the style and challenges of each couple. These methods include behavioral techniques (exercises, conversation models, psychoeducation) and process techniques (therapeutic interventions to guide couples to a greater awareness of here-and-now relational experience and reconfiguring old pattern so reactivity into moments of connectivity).
The Therapeutic Approaches used at The Spring Clinic
Hover below on the method names for more information about specific couples therapy modalities...
The Gottman Method is a golden-standard, evidence-based practice for Couple's Therapy. Based on 50 years of research, this method offers a range of practical exercises and communication tools couple's can begin benefiting from immediately. This structured approach can support recovery from infidelity, trauma and gridlocked conflict.
METHOD COUPLES THERAPY
Emotionally Focused Therapy for Couples helps couples recover from chronic conflict through accessing a more open, empathetic and emotionally available bond. The EFT therapist helps partners identify their deepest emotional needs and desires, and safely express them in relationship - leading to more fulfilling and supportive bonds.
Attachment theory suggests that the bond between an infant and their primary caregivers becomes the blueprint for future relationships. When individuals experience repeated, maladaptive patterns in their intimate relationships, attachment repair may be therapeutically supportive.
PACT or The Psychobiological Approach to Couples Therapy is a new and innovate model. In therapy, we use PACT to focus on the embodied responses of couples to each other and facilitate each individual being able to read themselves and their partner more accurately. It is a lively and brave
PACT (Psychobiological Approach to Couples Therapy)
What Is Psychotherapy vs Psychology?Psychotherapists and psychologists have distinct training paths. Psychologists typically complete undergraduate and postgraduate studies, which generally emphasize ethics in practice, the study of human behaviour, and research. Their clinical training includes manualised and evidence-based treatments like CBT, ACT, and Schema Therapy. On the other hand, psychotherapists undergo undergraduate and sometimes postgraduate training, with a focus on human development, clinical skills, and tools for case conceptualisation. Psychotherapy is characterised by a developmental approach to understanding minds, rigorous case conceptualisation, and active interventions during therapy. Integrative psychotherapists incorporate both evidence-based and non-measurable research-tested approaches. This includes using the therapeutic relationship as a source of healing.
How Does Psychotherapy Help Me?Our psychotherapy services provide a transformative experience, where you'll receive support to delve deeper into self-understanding and acquire the skills and tools necessary to restore your psychological well-being. Psychotherapy is an immersive and engaging journey of growth and transformation, guided by a genuine and authentic relationship with a compassionate, perceptive, and inquisitive therapist.
How Many Psychotherapy Sessions Should I Go To?Your psychotherapist will discuss the expected length of treatment following your intake appointments, although a greater frequency leads to greater results, faster. Research shows that more individual sessions closer together led to more efficient results than therapy spaced out over weeks. New clients are seen weekly or fortnightly at a minimum, as integrative therapy is a learning process that necessitates consistency and repetition (just think about all that happens in your life in a given week!). More chronic psychological challenges usually necessitate long-term therapy (6 months to a year +), otherwise more specific and recent concerns might be resolved through a short-term treatment model (6-10 appointments).
How to Find a Therapist in Melbourne for Psychotherapy?We have a compassionate, caring and curious team of psychotherapists at The Spring Clinic, Melbourne. You can review the profiles of our therapists online or call our lovely receptionist Charity on (03) 7035 9031 for a free consultation call to discuss which therapist would best suit you. Our therapists have multiple degrees from institutions including Melbourne University, The Ikon Institute, Sydney University and Monash University in Australia; and are certified by the governing bodies of the ACA or PACFA. Once the right therapist is found, you can book in for an intake session which provides the space for you and your therapist to get to know each other. Normally, there are 2-3 intake sessions which are more interview based than psychotherapy sessions, which usually offer some emotional relief or insight prior to therapeutic treatment. After these meetings, you and your clinician will find a collaborative agreement about treatment and begin working together to meet your aspirations.
What Should I Expect From Spring Clinic Psychotherapy Services in Melbourne?The Spring Clinic located in Melbourne offers mental health support services from professional and registered psychotherapists. Expect warm, friendly and compassionate encounters, from the first moment of contact with our lovely receptionist Charity to your therapeutic treatment with your specific psychotherapist. Your psychotherapist will be a respectful and kind person, who is sensitive to the experience of sexual, gendered, cultural and socioeconomic marginalisation. Our clinic is quiet, inviting and relaxing – as we believe our clients should feel that The Spring Clinic is a nice place to visit. Your information will be protected by confidentiality agreements and your therapist will always follow the codes of conduct outlined by their governing bodies.