When conflict in your relationship is pushing you apart, take the time to learn new ways to be heard and understood in a safe, supported environment. Yes, you can do it online, from the comfort of your lounge room, even after you’ve put the kids to bed.
How does couples therapy work?
I work with Gottman Method Couples Therapy, an evidenced based therapy founded on 40 years of research. I am a certified Gottman educator & workshop leader for the Bringing Baby Home and the Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work programs and I also offer an online relationship health programme for couples – and this is what I am going to cover in this blog.
The online relationship health programme begins with a thorough assessment over four Zoom sessions to understand your unique situation – remember, every couple is different and it’s not about applying a cookie-cutter to your relationship.
The assessment includes an initial online questionnaire you each complete in your own time and then the results are sent to me for analysis. Following this, we meet for a conjoint assessment session to understand the issues and how they have developed over time and then I have individual interviews with each partner. The final phase of the assessment is a detailed feedback session where we plan together for the intervention phase.
The intervention phase – this means I teach couples the Gottman Interventions which are designed to assist couples in developing the skills to increase closeness and friendship behaviours, address conflict productively, and build a life of shared meaning together.
This link includes an introduction to the therapy and research with links to the Gottman Method & Principles. Each of these principles is applied to your unique situation. Think of it like a library of tools and skills we can choose from to focus on what really matters to you both.
But, how does this happen online?
Online or Telehealth is any health-related services delivered by electronic & telecommunication mean which means it’s ideal for long-distance or rural clients to connect with key health services, although today it is used more frequently by anyone looking for convenience, to reduce travel time or use technology to achieve more.
I have experience delivering online therapy services across a range of areas including:
- 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 Telehealth.
Online 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:
Key Benefits for Couples
- 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 have to find one that lives close to you!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 more quickly and easily.
- 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. It’s your choice and we can try both.
How to make it work for you
One thing I am hearing more and more from clients about online therapy is ‘wow this works much better than I expected!’. So below I have put some best practice tips that couples can do to set themselves up for success if online couples therapy is a route you decide to explore.
- Find a nice quiet spot where you can both feel relaxed and you won’t be distracted by external noise or worried about others hearing you.
- Get comfortable – a tracksuit is acceptable attire or your dog on the couch with you – I look forward to meeting him!
- Have your favourite cuppa ready and bring a notepad & pen or tablet with you to make notes.
- Make sure you log in to Zoom a few minutes early and check the mic and speakers/headphones are working well & make sure you disable your notifications so you can focus.
- Ensure you have enough time allocated – I recommend getting ‘in the zone’ 15-20 minutes early to help you both let go of the day so you can really focus on the session and your relationship.
- Feel free to let me know if you are not feeling the vibe and we can talk about what’s not working and we can tweak what’s happening, or I can suggest another psychologist you might like to try if you feel we’re not a good fit.
I hope this blog has helped anyone reading this to understand more about online couples’ therapy and how you can work on your relationship from your own home. Couples who make their relationship a goal are more likely to have long term committed relationships that work, support your family, your health and your life satisfaction. Reading this blog is the first step. To take another step or to learn more you can contact me here or book an appointment here.
For additional information check-out some of these FAQs:
How many sessions will we need?
There is not a universal approach so it will differ from couple to couple however most couples achieve their objectives within 10-20 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 which you can find more about here.
How much does it cost?
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.