learn about Couples Therapy 

It’s time to stop the stigma around couples’ therapy.

Research shows that couples wait an average of 2.5 years before seeking help with their marital problems and that prevention is 3x more effective than intervention.

Do you think you might benefit from couples therapy now or in the future? Read on to understand more about relationship counselling and how it can help you and your partner heal, grow, and move forward.

Kristina is a relationship and marriage counsellor based in Samford Valley servicing Brisbane Northside and further afield with online services. 


Watch Kristina's video on how to Listen to your Partner's Dreams & Feelings

Meaningful relationships are where we get our greatest joy as humans. As tribal creatures our ability to be vulnerable and connect with someone else goes right to the heart of what we crave in life.

Creating meaningful relationships isn’t always easy. This is because our brains have evolved to help us survive. It’s easy to get hooked up in the fears and anxieties of modern life when we have glossy social media posts, unrealistic romantic movies and societal expectations all around us for comparison. Consequently, our mind is constantly checking “Am I good enough?” and “Do I fit into the tribe?”

Furthermore, even literature gives a picture of happily ever after or dying of heartbreak. So what can we expect in a happy relationship? What is realistic in today’s world?


evidenced based therapy

Dr John Gottman and the Gottman Institute have been researching and collaborating with relationship researchers around the world for the last forty years. What has emerged is a solid understanding of what makes a successful relationship “the masters of relationships” and what happens when relationships don’t work – “the disasters of relationships”. This research is utilised by Gottman trained therapists to help couples develop the skills that they need to create satisfying relationships in their lives.

The Sound Relationship House framework has been developed by Dr John Gottman and Dr Julie Gottman-Schwartz as a result of this research. This framework includes data from studies of thousands of couples including longitudinal (over several years) studies, and including couples from all walks of life. The Sound Relationship House provides a great blueprint for creating healthy meaningful relationships.

Helping Couples Heal & Move Forward

Brisbane North relationship counselling

Kristina is trained in Gottman Method for Couples (Level 3), an evidence based couples therapy backed by 40 years of research. Gottman Method Couples Therapy provides:

  • Proven strategies and tools to help couples successfully manage conflict
  • Skills that empower partners to discuss their worst gridlocked issues
  • Methods to help couples process their fights and heal their hurts
  • Techniques for couples to deepen their intimacy and minimise relapse

If you’d like to learn how to get to know your partner’s inner world, create fondness and admiration for each other, keep a positive perspective, find dreams within conflict, create shared meaning and support each others dreams and aspirations – working with a marriage counsellor can help you develop the skills to build your own sound relationship house.

Below, we describe the phases of assessment and therapy that Kristina can take you through so you can begin to build healthy and meaningful relationships in your life.


Watch Kristina's video on how you can make repairs in your relationship using evidenced-based research

Couples therapy Brisbane

Relationship Health Assessment (phase 1)

Brisbane North couples counsellor samford

Couples therapy begins with a thorough Relationship Health Assessment to understand your unique situation and goals:

1. Starting with the completion of an online assessment (about 90 minutes each, in your own time) before your first appointment, the results are sent to Kristina for analysis.

2. This is followed by around 3 hours with Kristina to understand your issues and how they have developed over time. You & your partner will meet with Kristina for the first 90 minutes conjointly, then you will see her individually for 50-minutes each.

3. The final phase of the assessment is a 1-2 hour detailed feedback session with collaborative planning for the therapy & intervention phase. This includes goal setting for your relationship and the future.

Click here to learn more and register your interest.


Therapy & Intervention (Phase 2)

OngoinFollowing the initial Assessment phase, you & your partner may decide to engage Kristina for therapy sessions.

Kristina works with couples using frequent and intensive initial treatment called Marathon or Intensive Therapy. This is a powerful alternative to traditional hour-long weekly therapy sessions and provides a condensed and intensive approach to address specific issues and get your relationship back on track.

Therapy options include:

Ongoing Couples Therapy Sessions:

Join Kristina for therapy sessions typically lasting 90-minutes up to 3 hours at a time. These sessions are available in-person at her consulting rooms in Samford Valley or online via Zoom.

Click here to learn more and register your interest.

2-Day Couples Retreats:

Kristina also offers Intensive Couples Retreats & Mini-Retreats in the beautiful Samford Valley.

Intensive couples retreats are suitable for clients travelling from out of town or for those who find it hard to carve out ongoing time from their regular schedules.  Zoom (online) sessions are available for the assessment and follow up sessions for those clients outside easy travelling distance.

Click here to learn more and register your interest.

Watch Kristina's video on what Diffuse Physiological Arousal is and how to manage it to reduce conflict in your relationship

Integration & Relapse Prevention (Phases 3 & 4)

Integration: In the later stages of treatment, you will meet with Kristina less frequently whilst you test out your new relationship skills with each other / at home. In this phase you will see your new strategies & behaviours in action.

Typically couples might meet with Kristina for 1-2 hours per month in the integration phase.

Relapse Prevention: After therapy, you might find you both like to attend occasional check-in sessions to fine-tune certain skills or to receive support with a big change or development. This relapse prevention phase helps protect couples from relapsing into prior habits or behaviours.

Couples in this phase tend to find that 3 and/or 6 monthly follow-up appointments help guard against relapse, or perhaps a set of sessions prior to or during a big change or development.

Couples therapy Brisbane

Couples Therapy FAQs

Couples therapy Brisbane

How many sessions will we need?

There is not a universal approach so it will differ from couple to couple however research has shown that for couples seeking relationship enhancement, it averages 5–10 hours; for distressed couples, 15–20 hours; for couples with serious comorbidities or a recent extramarital affair, it averages 25–50 hours.

Kristina aims to teach you the skills you need to build and work on your relationship in the future, together at home/without her there!

We recommend minimum 90-minute sessions at the start of your couples therapy journey.

How frequent are the appointments?

Research shows intensive initial treatment can be of assistance. Depending on your situation, booking several intensive sessions in close succession can be helpful.   For those looking for an even more focussed approach, Kristina offers intensive couples weekends and mini-retreats as described here.

Please note Kristina is often booked several weeks to months in advance. Please contact our Practice Manager for availability information.


How much does it cost?

Check out our fees page for a breakdown of costs.

Should we meet in-person or online?

Both are good options – it’s about what works for you as a couple. We find some couples love the online option; it takes away the need for childcare, travel & traffic and can be a good option if one or both of you are feeling a bit apprehensive at the start of this journey. Being in the comfort of your own home can help you relax and get the most of out of the session. Kristina also offers evening online appointments so you can put the kids to bed beforehand. Read Kristina’s blog post about how Zoom couples therapy sessions work best.

Conversely, if you choose an in-person appointment, Kristina has a beautiful consulting room in the Samford Valley which can free you from the stresses of your everyday life at home and bring you to a more neutral setting for the two of you to be in. It’s your choice and you can try both.

Will you be told there’s no hope for your relationship?

No. Kristina is committed to your overall health and wellness. The skills you learn will help you repair, rebuild or rejuvenate your relationship – if that’s what you want; they will help you separate and coparent on good terms if that’s what you want; and they will enhance your relationships with family, friends and work colleagues too.

When is couples therapy not advisable?

If there is serious violence in your relationship including threats of or fear of serious violence on the part of one or both partners.

If there is untreated, diagnosed mental illness (bipolar, psychotic disorders and major clinical depression), not including past and successfully treated mental health conditions that are currently stable and/or in remission.

If one or both of you have suicidal or homicidal thoughts, or a history of serious harm inflicted on another person.

In these cases, please speak with your GP for referral for specialist treatment.

Get in Touch

Call 0487 480 120 
Book an appointment online

Kristina Challands Psychologist

Get in Touch

Call 0487 480 120

Book An Appointment Online

Kristina Challands Psychologist