Relationship Counselling F.A.Q.s

Most of your concerns, questions and apprehensions on seeking professional help for healing relationships can be found here. For those that aren't, it is always super-easy to reach out to us. We promise we will be right by you.


How do I know if I need marriage counselling or couples therapy?

Sometimes relationships are in a crisis. Or you may be fighting frequently over small things, or having communication problems. Any time that your relationship doesn’t feel nurturing, supportive or satisfying is a great time to seek counselling.

Why should we try Couples Counselling? Shouldn’t we be able to handle our issues on our own?

Research shows that therapy can help many people. Many clients report relief from stress, depression, and anxiety after seeking couples counseling. While you certainly may have the collective resources to handle relationship difficulties on your own, we believe that a caring and objective third party can make the process easier and faster.

We’ve tried therapy before and it didn’t work.

Not all couples therapies or therapists are created equal. Even though therapy hasn’t worked for you in the past doesn’t mean that it can never help you.

We constantly attack each other – how is counselling going to be any different?

Having a third person in the conversation often helps partners speak more respectfully to each other. In addition, the therapist makes it clear that he/she will intervene and help each partner to work on reducing their emotional intensity, and communicate respectfully. Working on communication, emotional reactions and changing perspectives takes time and effort.

Will the therapist take sides?

People sometimes come into counselling worried that the counsellor will take sides against them, especially if there is a lot of blaming going back and forth. However, underneath the hurt and accusation is often a need to be understood and validated. For well-trained, experienced and ethical therapists, it is very important not to take sides. You and your partner should each feel safe and supported working with a therapist with integrity.

Are your counsellors going to tell us what to do?

We are here to help you sort out your thoughts and feelings and explore areas you may not have considered. We can help you become clearer in your mind, so you can make decisions in ways that will help you feel more confident. We won’t tell you what to do, but we will support you as you explore your options.

We went to counselling before and kept rehashing old arguments – is this what counselling is about?

No, we don’t work that way. Sometimes it is important to get an idea about what happens for both of you in discussion or conflict. From there, we focus on what you each want to change and work on, how you are going to do that.During our sessions we practice talking in a different way that facilitates understanding, takes in what the other is saying, and help you learn to deal with your reactions to one another.

How does couple’s counselling work?

We approach your problems from a ‘relationship lens’. This means we understand your concerns within the context of your significant attachment relationships such as your partner, your child or your parent. We look for your strengths and validate your efforts. Your emotions are seen as clues to help us to resolve your distress.

Does going to couples counselling means you’re headed for divorce

If you take two couples with similar issues and similar levels of relationship skills, those who seek counselling are probably more likely to stay together and improve their relationship. Going to therapy does not you’re your relationship is a disaster, it means that you both care enough about your relationship to find an expert to help you repair what’s not working.

Do I need a referral from a GP?

No. You don’t need a referral to make an appointment for any of our services. Just contact us and we’ll help you find the right service for your needs.

Do you meet with us separately?

There are many reasons why partners want to meet with the counsellor on their own.

  • They don’t want their partner to interrupt them or are afraid to express what they think to their partner.
  • They want the counsellor to speak on their behalf and somehow ‘get through to their partner’ when they can’t.

Even though these reasons might seem reasonable they can create more distance between partners. In some circumstances couples may benefit from one-on- one time. However, we tend to encourage partners to do the work with each other present no matter how hard, as that is the best way to work on the relationship.

How long does marriage counselling and or couples therapy take?

There is no particular length of counselling. Most of clients see definite improvement in their relationships by six sessions.

How long are couples therapy sessions?

Sessions are usually around 60 to 90 minutes. People with scheduling difficulties or who travel long distances can schedule longer sessions, if available.

What is the goal of couples counselling?

The goal of the therapy is to lessen fights, conflict, and discord. Counsellors work with each of you to build a relationship that feels safe, secure, and loving.

Can you help with our sexual difficulties?

Sex therapy is very efficient in helping people to re-establish an active and healthy sex life. Working with a sex therapist will help you to recognise any difficulties you’re having and find a way to move on from them. Many people are surprised about how helpful of sex therapy is.

Why is therapy so costly?

Yes, therapy can be costly. At Side By Side we make every effort to justify your investment.In the end, it’s more cost effective to go to a specialist that charges more but gets results than someone cheaper and less experience or trained. Your relationship is worth it.

Do you offer any reduced fee or free services?

No, but we can advise you of reputable services that do.

Do you see same sex couples?

Our counsellors are sensitive and fully aware of the pitfalls of traditional heterosexual bias. All our therapists are also broadminded and have a strong value of inclusiveness. Many of our counsellors are also knowledgeable of LGTBI issues and discourse.

Do you counsel couples in the process of separating?

Yes. Separation can be a difficult time when there is so much uncertainty and stress. Counselling is a very effective way of negotiating a separation or a divorce. There are critical issues of financial separation, children’s living arrangements and other practicalities of raising children as separated parents. Our therapists can help you to process any emotions that you might be struggling to deal with, or bring the relationship to a conclusion with as little pain or misunderstanding as possible.The guidance of an experienced and compassionate counsellor as mediator can assist couples through the process and potentially avoid more costly and confrontational legal avenues.

How do we pay for couple’s therapy?

We accept cash, personal cheques or credit cards. There is a facility to pay or pre-pay on our website.

What if I have more questions?

We are here to help. Please call, or email if you have more questions.