Claremont Medical Centre
206 Stirling Hwy
Boorloo|Perth Australia 6010

Couples Counselling &
Marital Therapy

The terms ‘couples counselling’ and ‘marital therapy’ are interchangeable in our use of them. Through individual and couples sessions, we can work together to identify and resolve issues, improve your communication skills and build a long-lasting partnership. Couples counselling can also be used to navigate a separation amicably or move forward when conflicts cannot be resolved.

Through couples counselling, we can:

Strengthen your relationship

  • repair damage
  • heal emotional injuries
  • overcome resentment, frustration or disappointment
  • enhance communication

Handle crossroads

  • resolve conflicts about the relationship’s future
  • assess whether the relationship is redeemable or if a separation is needed

Navigate a separation

  • disentangle attachments with a view to separating
  • support amicable separation
  • co-parenting advice and support

Relationship difficulties

There are times when the relationship itself is in trouble, where there is conflict or distance, when the relationship has grown stale and intimacy dried up, or a feeling of deadness or loneliness has replaced a former closeness. Couples counselling aims to renew, restore, rejuvenate, even renovate a tired relationship, bring life to your connection to each other and ideally, have fun together again.


Almost every consulting couple needs to improve their communication whatever other issues are presenting. Some couples have never communicated well. That may work when things feel good and go well. When issues arise, there is no substitute for full and frank communication.

Some couples fall into what could be called ‘a protection racket’ where hurtful truths are withheld to protect the other’s feelings. This not always wrong but if it goes too far, it becomes a formula for stasis.

Some people need to learn how to put words to feelings and desires because they have never developed this facility. Therapy is the best resource to develop an emotional vocabulary, so helpful for working through complicated feelings and issues.

Free initial consultation

You can make a full appointment from the get-go if wanted but we often suggest a free half-hour initial consultation first. It gives an opportunity to meet, discuss what you are seeking help with, and then if you wish to proceed we can discuss appointments and fees.

Call us on 08 9383 3132 or email info@amygdala.com.au to book your free initial consultation.

Part of communication involves the ability to negotiate, a function that is key to the success of conflict resolution and to relationships that continue to work well. Part of negotiation is compromise and learning how to think laterally to make compromise possible is part of effective communication.

An example is: we want to go out for dinner, but you want Japanese food and I want an Aussie steak dinner. How to compromise? Maybe we could both be happy with Italian food. Or maybe you decide where we eat this time and I decide next time. Sometimes, even when compromise seems impossible, we can find a way. Of course, it gets harder when the decision is whether or not to have a baby! It also becomes more important.

Sometimes, we get so busy there just doesn’t seem enough time to sit down and talk through what needs to be discussed. Sessions provide a space for this to happen. We find couples speak to each other directly in sessions in a way that never happens at home.

Who decides what happens?

Decisions about staying together or separating, whether betrayal, dishonesty, infidelity or disappointment can be overcome, whether differences between you are irreconcilable and whether issues can be resolved – or not – belong to you. The ultimate judgment in these matters must be yours. You are the beneficiary or suffer the consequences of such major pivotal life decisions. The whole of your future and that of your significant others will be different depending on which path you take. Therapists facilitate the process through which such matters are brought to clarity which helps to make the right decision. Some therapists cling to neutrality in these matters whereas we may be willing to offer an opinion, if wanted. But the final call rests with you.

Respect and trust

Respect and trust are foundational for relationships, for all sorts of relationships, especially primary love relationships. Some people do not understand how certain attitudes or behaviours affect their partner. Some do not realise they are being disrespectful; they may not mean to be. 

  • Trust is essential, and so is being seen to be trustworthy,
  • Transparency and accountability serve trust and respect,
  • What is permissible and what isn’t, needs explicit clarity,
  • Where is the line between appropriate and inappropriate? What if it is crossed? What are the consequences? What is a deal-breaker?
  • How can we repair the damage and heal the hurt caused by breaches of trust or disrespect?

These are vital issues and questions. They can make all the difference between a successful long-term relationship or one that flounders on the rocks of transgression and emotional injury.

Sex and sexuality

Most couples, though not absolutely all, believe that sexual intimacy is desirable in a relationship. Indeed, it can be a critical factor in whether a long-term relationship feels satisfying or not. It is noticeable how when intimacy is firing, the small differences and little niggles of everyday living seem insignificant. Without sexual intimacy, little things can become big things.

Many couples have sex in their customary way but have never talked about it. They can be surprised to discover that discussion sheds light on feelings they weren’t aware of. We are experienced in talking about sex in its most graphical detail, but we do not push anyone to talk about such private matters beyond what is comfortable or wanted. We aim to be sensitive and cautious in opening up discussions about sex and sexuality understanding that sexuality is at the core of your identity as a person. We also know that such discussions can make a world of difference when sexual experience is enhanced and both the feeling of pleasure is intensified and the feeling of union between you is intensified. As so many have realised, a working sexual relationship makes you happy!

When the past is present

Many individuals are affected by trauma, often childhood trauma, which can be simple or complex trauma. Invariably, past trauma creates issues in present relationships. We cannot stress strongly enough the urgency of addressing the consequences of trauma and how they present in your current relationship. Here, sometimes individual trauma-informed therapy is indicated and may be recommended. Dr Resnick has studied, taught, published, and lectured at professional conferences on this subject.

What can change and what cannot change

Many people find it hard to understand how talking helps, how change can happen or even why anything should ever change. “A leopard cannot change its spots.” That is right but people can change attitudes, values, behaviours, habits, and understanding each other. Even couples that have been together for decades sometimes need to get to know each other in ways that have never happened. And such recognition can be transformative.
So much can change for the benefit of seeing what you have not seen before, realising how you affect your partner, expressing how you are affected by your partner, voicing what you want or need from your partner and equally protesting what you find objectionable.

At the same time, some things cannot change, and you have to learn to live with them – if you can. You cannot expect a dog not to bark but you can expect each other to hold your tongues in favour of care and respect over hostility. It helps to recognize the difference between your personality (this can change but usually takes time) and your conduct (this can change in an instant). I can’t be taller, but I could be fitter. I can’t be younger, but I could act younger. These sorts of differences make a difference.

Couples therapy structure

The structure varies depending on what is needed, as does the frequency of sessions. Often, we recommend a series of appointments with an individual session for one and then another individual session for the other and then a joint session with both of you together. We can repeat that pattern or, alternatively, sometimes we only do joint sessions with both of you in attendance together. You can also let us know your preference.

Next steps

You can make a full appointment from the get-go if wanted but we often suggest a free half-hour initial consultation first. It gives an opportunity to meet, discuss what you are seeking help with, and then if you wish to proceed we can discuss appointments and fees.

Call us on 08 9383 3132 or email info@amygdala.com.au to book your free initial consultation.