Couples Therapy and Relationship Counselling

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

Research shows that couples wait an average of six 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.


Watch my 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.  


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.

Watch my video on you can make repairs in your relationship using evidenced-based research


Relationship Health Assessment

Brisbane North couples counsellor samford

Couples therapy begins with a thorough Relationship Health Assessment over 4 sessions to understand your unique situation and goals.

1. Starting with the completion of an online assessment (about 90 minutes each), the results are sent to Kristina for analysis.

2. This is followed by a 50-90 minute conjoint session with Kristina to understand your issues and how they have developed over time.

3. Next there are individual interviews with each partner typically lasting 50 minutes each.

4. The final phase of the assessment is a 2-hour detailed feedback session with collaborative planning for the intervention phase. At this stage we decide on the frequency and duration of the sessions to achieve your goals.

Therapeutic Interventions

The Gottman interventions are designed to assist couples develop skills to repair, rebuild and rejuvenate their relationship. Key elements of the therapeutic process include repairing past hurts and replacing negative conflict patterns with positive interactions; building closeness and intimacy to deepen friendship and emotional connections; and developing new ways to support the relationship and each partner’s hopes and dreams.

During your couples therapy sessions you can expect to:

  • Refresh and deepen your friendship
  • Improve your communication skills
  • Process a betrayal
  • Repair past incidents and misunderstandings
  • Better understand each others fears, hopes and dreams
  • Refine your shared values and purpose
  • Revive your intimacy

When we meet, your key concerns are discussed in a safe manner and you learn the skills to have these sometimes-difficult conversations at home.

In the later stages of therapy, we will meet less frequently whilst you test out your new relationship skills with each other / at home.

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.

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

Intensive Couples Retreats

In addition to providing couples therapy on an hourly and weekly basis Kristina also offers 2-Day Weekend Retreats for Intensive Couples Therapy in the beautiful Samford Valley. Click here to learn more about intensive or marathon style therapy sessions.

Intensive couples therapy is suitable for clients travelling from out of town who cannot attend weekly therapy sessions.  Zoom (online) sessions are available for the assessment and follow up sessions for those clients outside easy travelling distance.

Weekend or midweek dates are available for 2022 & 2023. For more information or to register your interest you can use our contact form. To book an appointment phone 0487 480120 to speak with our Practice Manager.

Online Therapy Programme for Couples

Online video sessions are ideal for anyone looking to reduce travel time or use technology to achieve more. Online couples therapy sessions work the same as they do in person, although with a couple of key benefits that can really add up for couples looking to improve their relationship:

online couples therapy
  1. No travel time – this is especially important for rural clients or even those who don’t live a close distance to their preferred psychologist. Being able to connect with a particular psychologist is important and sometimes rare and now you don’t even have to find one that lives close to you!
  2. Flexibility – I offer online evening sessions so you can get the kids fed and to bed before your session rather than having to worry about leaving work early, getting through traffic or organising a babysitter. This is about finding time that works for you, your partner and your family.
  3. Comfort – meeting a new psychologist or engaging in couples therapy can be daunting the first time. Being able to meet in the comfort and security of your own home is sort of like being able to bring your security blanket to the session. You can get set up on your couch with your partner, your cat and whatever else you need to feel relaxed and ready for the session.
  4. Theory to practice – when we meet your key concerns are discussed in a safe manner and you learn the skills to have these sometimes-difficult conversations at home. Already being in the home when you are practicing these skills and being in the space that your relationship is at home in means that putting those skills into practice can happen quicker and more easily.
  5. Looking for a sea change? – if you want to meet in person for one or more of your sessions, or try an intensive couples retreat, no problem. I have 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 is your choice and we can try both.

I work hard to make sure the couples I work with get these added benefits from online therapy. My experience delivering online therapy services across a range of areas includes:

    • Working as a telephone counsellor at Lifeline supporting people across Australia
    • Providing video sessions for ‘Making Relationships Work’ and Natural Fertility Breakthrough with clients from all over Australia, Europe, Asia, the US & Canada.
    • Using Zoom video & phone options for all clients during Covid-19 pandemic
    • Delivering ongoing support, reminders & advice to existing clients in between sessions via my YouTube channel, email & Facebook page
    • Providing a robust online relationship health assessment and intervention service to couples

Check out this video I put together for some FAQs relating to Online / Telehealth appointments or get in touch here if you have any questions.

Couples Therapy FAQs

couples therapy

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 sessions; for distressed couples, 15–20 sessions; for couples with serious comorbidities or a recent extramarital affair, it averages 25–50 sessions.

I aim to teach you the skills you need to build and work on your relationship in the future, together at home/without me!

How frequent are the appointments?

Research shows intensive initial treatment can be of assistance. Depending on your situation, planning to book several sessions in close succession or sessions in blocks of 2-3 hours can be helpful.   For those looking for an even more focussed approach, I also offer intensive couples weekends as described above.

How much does it cost?

Check out my fees page for a breakdown of costs.

Will I tell you there’s no hope for your relationship?

No. I’m 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

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