Psychologists Sydney / Relationship Counselling

Relationship Marriage Counselling

Associated Counsellors is a leading provider of relationship counselling services. We can help you choose the right counsellor.

Sydney’s leading network of marriage & relationship counsellors in private practice.
Locations across the greater Sydney area. Book with one call.
Professionally registered practitioners with an average of 10+ years clinical experience.

On this page you can learn more about how couple counselling can help and how it works. You can also read about how our unique service connects you with the right relationship counsellor.

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Most long-term couples will at some point experience periods of conflict, anger, mistrust or a break down in communications. For many couples, it can be frightening to realise that the old ways of communicating are no longer working.
Such failure to communicate and resolve core issues can then lead to loss of trust, feelings of resentment, repeated arguments and loss of the couples intimacy and sex life. Relationship counselling provides an environment where communication is facilitated to help couples express their needs and to learn the skills to resolve their conflict. Copyright © Associated Counsellors & Psychologists Sydney PTY LTD

Common relationship concerns

Common problem areas that bring people to marriage or relationship counselling include:

  • Frequent arguments, or a repeated argument about the same issue(s).
  • Differences in sexual needs, lack of sexual connection or other difficulties with sexual intimacy.
  • Affairs/sexual infidelity.
  • Lack of trust or jealousy.
  • Conflicts about children or family members.
  • A feeling of disconnectedness from ones partner.
  • Unfulfilled emotional needs, feeling hurt, angry, neglected or disrespected.
  • Conflicts about children or family members.
  • Conflicts about financial or career matters.
  • Conflicts about gambling, addictions or other behaviours.

All these can be examples of the sorts of issues which, if unresolved, can lead to frustration, conflict and bitterness between partners.

These problems can start in a relationship because of a personality or character conflict, because of an external change (for example the birth of a first child or a change in the finances of the couple), or because of the actions of one or both of the partner’s (eg infidelity, lack of communication, angry outbursts).

Many couples also choose to attend pre-marriage counselling to learn about each other and prevent future conflict.

How couple counselling works

The aim of couple counselling is to help partners who are stuck in patterns of conflict to find ways of communicating with each other, to decide how to solve their problems and to achieve their goals. The therapist will help the couple discuss their thoughts and feelings, in order to help them gain a better understanding of their own, and each others position.

Couple therapists will begin by listening to each partner’s view of the relationship and their perceived problems or issues. Sometimes the therapist will seek information about the history of the relationship or the partner’s personal histories. Often the therapist is able to highlight misunderstandings in the couple’s communication. This process itself motivates a change in the way each partner feels and behaves toward the other.

Often the therapist will also offer a new perspective on the issues at hand or suggest a direction for treatment to help both partners achieve their goals. This may include the teaching of strategies to help improve communications. Each partner’s active participation is vital in promoting the success of the therapy.

Sex therapy

Many couples come to counselling complaining of ongoing struggles in their sex life. For most couples, these sexual issues are a symptom of general relationship problems. It may be that there is less affection in the relationship than there used to be, that stress has increased, or that there are some anxieties about sex itself. Most of these concerns can be addressed by your couple counsellor and most couples find that sexual issues resolve once the intimacy in the relationship is restored.

For some couples sexual dysfunction or sexual issues predominate even though the couple is closely bonded and in love. Sex therapy can help when you have an otherwise functional relationship in which sexual dysfunction is the only problem. If required a couple therapists can also refer you on to a Sex Therapist.

Family counselling

Children are another common factor in the decision to seek couples counselling, and are often affected psychologically by the problems which may bring people to couple therapy. However children are not present in couples counselling, which focuses on the relationship between the two partners. Therapy which includes children or other family members is called Family Therapy. If the therapist feels that Family Therapy would be beneficial they will refer the couple for such treatment.

Why Associated Counsellors

In engaging any professional service you should ensure that your service provider is qualified and accredited. Counselling is no exception. Professional counselling is a skill that requires a high degree of training. Couples counselling is again another area of specialisation within that discipline.

In trusting your relationship to a third party, you should ensure that your counsellor has appropriate qualifications , has experience specifically in relationship counselling and that they are registered with a relevant professional association such as:

– the Australian Psychological Society,
– the Australian Association of Social Workers or
– a Psychotherapy & Counselling Federation of Australia member body.

Our network of couples counsellors adhere to all of these standards.

If you would like to book a consultation with a qualified couples therapist, or would like to discuss treatment options and obtain further advice please contact Associated Counsellors & Psychologists Sydney

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Marriage Counselling – Your Questions Answered

  • What is the success rate of marriage counselling?

    On average marriage counselling helps around 80% of couples achieve a satisfying and connected relationship (Journal of Marital and Family Therapy). The degree of unhappiness you feel in your marriage doesn't influence the likelihood of success of counselling ( ).

    Most important to the outcome is the ability of both partners to connect with the marriage counsellor, both partners willingness to come to therapy and an openness to learning about themselves. All of these factors greatly improve your chances of success.

    An openness to working on the techniques recommended by the counsellor outside the therapy room will also impact the overall success you experience as an individual and as a couple.

  • Can marriage counselling help after there has been an affair?

    An affair can leave both partners feeling like their entire world has collapsed but it is important to know that it is definitely possible for a relationship to recover. Counsellors are trained to help couples navigate these situations.

    The process requires the affair partner to truly understand the impact it has had and to develop patience to continue offering support and repair to the injured party. Understanding why the affair has happened is also essential to moving forward and a counsellor can help you to explore this. Most importantly, your counsellor will be able to help you learn how to rebuild broken trust and in doing so, strengthen your relationship.

  • Can counselling help my marriage?

    It can! According to studies cited by the American Psychological Society, it is shown to be effective for approximately 75% of couples. It helps to improve their communication, increase intimacy, better their support network between one another and reduce conflict (

    Your counsellor will provide a safe and neutral space where you can both express your concerns and expectations within the relationship and will facilitate your learning to build on this understanding through teaching you techniques that can be implemented outside the therapy room to promote more positive behaviours and outcomes.

  • Is couples counselling covered by Medicare?

    Unfortunately, no. Medicare does not offer a rebate for couples/marriage counselling. Some private health funds do offer rebates and so it is best to check with your fund.

  • How much does marriage counselling cost?

    The fee can vary dependent on the counsellor you see, but generally couples/marriage counselling ranges between $180 - $250 per 50-60 minute session. This depends on the location, experience and demand for the practitioner you choose to work with.

  • Can therapy make my relationship worse?

    This is extremely rare, but the counselling experience is different for everyone and therefore the impact of counselling on relationships will be varied from one couple to the next. To answer simply, there is no way to pinpoint whether therapy is the cause of your relationship worsening, however, we have provided some important considerations to bear in mind when you are attending counselling:

    1. There is no quick fix and dependent on the issues you are bringing to counselling it can take time with some sessions being more progressive or ‘successful’ than others.

    2. Couples counselling requires an open mind from both parties, remember, you are there to discuss concerns and/or issues within the relationship which can often be sensitive or upsetting.

    3. Your counsellor is there to facilitate difficult conversations while remaining neutral and objective, however, in some instances, they may offer new or different perspectives. It is important to remember, they are not trying to be judgemental or point blame, this is simply them offering a new way of thinking about the situation.

    4. Not every counsellor will be right for you. It is important you feel comfortable with your therapist and have a general likeability toward them as this may impact your perception of any questions they ask or guidance that they offer.

    5. In some cases couples decide to separate after counselling, however, this is not considered a failure if both parties have come to a joint understanding about their decision and if they are able to separate amicably.

  • Is there any free marriage counselling available?

    You can contact your local church or university as they may have free services available. Alternatively, Relationships Australia offers lower-fee counselling which is scaled depending on your joint level of income.

  • Is it too late for marriage counselling?

    On average people wait for six years whilst dissatisfied in their relationship before seeking counselling according to relationship and marriage expert Dr. John Gottman.

    Counselling can support you through any stage of your relationship including separation, providing both people are willing to attend. The only time we suggest that marriage counselling may no longer be an option is when someone has said that they no longer wish to continue the relationship and will not consider therapy.

    While this can be frustrating or upsetting for the partner, unfortunately, this is usually an indication that therapy will not be effective as one party has no intention of rekindling the relationship. The other indication that counselling is not suited is if there is significant violence or control from a partner who refuses to seek help.

  • Can I go to marriage counselling on my own?

    Absolutely. It is common for people to attend counselling on their own to discuss any concerns or issues within their marriage. This can also be a great alternative for people if their partner has expressed they do not want to attend counselling.

  • How many sessions will we need to see a difference?

    It will vary from couple to couple and depend on the depth of the issues bringing you to counselling but the average number of sessions couples find the most benefit from is usually between 6 - 12 sessions and more for some couples.