Welcome our new therapist Rachele Davis to the team!

We are super excited – Marriage Works is expanding with the talents of Rachele Davis coming on board. She starts 28th July so hurry to book as she has limited availabity and we certainly don’t want you to miss out. Rachele is seeing Individuals only at this stage.

Rachele is an Associate Member of the APS.
Celebrate with a bugle for Rachele!

Rachele has a wide variety of experience working with clients in her career already.  We feel so lucky to have a provisional psychologist with access to the latest therapy innovations joining us in Randwick.

You are getting a fresh face as Rachele heads towards completing her psychological registration with the College of Professional Psychology.

This means Rachele graduated from the University of Wollongong in 2014 with a Bachelor of Arts (Psychology Honors), with a major in Psychology and minor in Philosophy. Rachele is a dedicated and skilled therapist, she completed her Clinical Resource Therapist qualification in 2016 with the Resource Therapy Institute of Australia.

Her skills include working across the lifespan with children, adults and families. Rachele wants you to know she work from a strengths-based frame work with a client centered approach. Since provisional registration she has gained experience working with physical/intellectual disabilities, a range of mood related and developmental disorders, anxiety related disorders and personality disorders.  Rachele’s therapeutic toolkit includes Resource Therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Motivational Interviewing and Solution Focused Therapy.

Rachele’s specialty areas of interest

include working with those of you who have phobias – fear of flying, addictions, social phobia, agoraphobia anxiety, depression, trauma and stress-related difficulties.

Lynn our latest therapist to join Marriage Works family!
Don’t let fear of flying keep you grounded!

Rachele is available on Fridays for individual adult appointments in Randwick.

You will also benefit from a special session rate. Please enquire with me Philipa 0434 559011. Book early to get your preferred time, as she has limitd appointment slots.

Welcome Rachele!

Rachele is an Associate Member of the APS.
Rachele is an Associate Member of the APS.

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Is your partnership in danger of being a House of Cards Relationship?

In the House of Cards American hit television series, husband Francis Underwood’s ruthless ambition has taken him to great political heights. With wife Claire successful and supportive in her own right.

There is a price to be paid unfortunately!

Kevin Spacey as Francis Underwood in House of Cards.
Kevin Spacey as Francis Underwood in House of Cards.

At one time this was a passionate meeting of hearts. Sadly as Francis’s need to win at any cost (Boy nothing will stand in his way!) makes them the ultimate power couple externally.

house-cards-729_20140218162857797518-620x349
All is not well in Claire and Francis’s marriage. It really is a House of Cards.

Whereas Claire has sacrificed her needs in service of her desire for power also. This childless couple fostered their careers, which has become the baby to be nurtured and developed. Meantime their relationship founders.

Both partners have become lonely. So much so they have found lovers. But even this distraction does not fulfil their needs. Somewhere along they way they lost each other. There is a fantastic episode where you see the house the first owned, with flowers and it looked like a home – their humble beginnings. Very different to living in the White House as the President of the United States of America

Now of course this House of Cards is a fictional television series, well worth viewing. And the characters portrayed are flawed characters to the extreme in this intense drama series. I am certainly not suggesting your marriage or personal situation is similar to the Underwood’s.

in House of Cards. Wife of Francis Underwood, President of the USA in the TV series.
Robin Wright – Claire Underwood in House of Cards. Wife of Francis Underwood, President of the USA in the TV series.

The House of Cards relationship is really a metaphor for the instability of what appears to be the perfect partnership. A really strong gust of wind will blow that tower over in a millisecond.

This partnership is characterized by its inner workings. What began, as a loving match of two, over time turns into a husband and wife team great at the practical matters, functioning as business team.

People will often admire this marriage from the outside, as they see two people working side by side, looing like a co-creation partnership. Usually this couple is a great parenting team, ferrying children to sports, dance and all manner of activity, running a household, finically secure and to all appearances successful.

In this relationship style each partner has a sense of the fragility of the relationship. It is the elephant in the room as they just get on with getting on. The foundation laid at the beginnings with good times and dating, has not progressed into a sound structure to withhold the inevitable crisis in any relationship.

This couple bonded together as a pair. But struggles when children are introduced in the mix. Often with Mum (or Dad) finding their love and attention needs being met by the kids. Dad (or Mum) feeling on the outer of this emotional bond either directs their needs into productivity and shifts his focus further into work, sport, or problems with another person or addiction to address this emptiness.

Both recognise on some level each others desires and adult needs are not being met but communication and vulnerability are generally avoided for safer topics of parenting, holidays or investments and such.

No emotional risks are taken, or if one partner attempt to reach out they do it in a manner doomed to fail, with anger, ultimatums, repeated criticisms, seeking solutions, demands and other ineffective immature communication practices.

This leads to the escalating fights. Where both stand wary and further drives a wedge in their partnership. The trade off is silent stagnation.

The secret to addressing the House of Cards relationship is to get really honest and be open to change. You need to really shift you’re Axx in gear as my dear Mum would say. And really hear your partner, listen to understand without defending, solution finding and see how it is for them, and give empathy. Share honestly your feelings with I statements and without accusation or blame.

Healing can happen with effort. If you recognise your insecurity is affecting your self worth, and your relationship. Take steps to deal with it.

If you can acknowledge your relationship as a House of Cards Series, don’t wait for nature to take its course.

Share your love, repair you
Share your love, repair your relationship today.

Take affirmative action and learn how to express your needs and desires and work with your partner to understand their heartfelt concerns and work together as friends building the structure of House of Care.

Start putting your relationship as the priority. The kids will thank you, work will improve, and your happiness will grow in your partners glow.

Is the House of Cards Relationship something you can identify with?

Perhaps you recognize the red flags?  Or possibly you now see it looking back after a loss. Please share your thoughts, comments and insights. I will respond.

Thank you and good luck!

Philipa

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Communication problems?

We are interested in hearing about the difficulties you face in talking to your partner.

Do you struggle to be assertive?
Perhaps you always try to let it go only to explode with overload?
Are you a peacekeeper, avoiding conflict at any cost, only to pay the price of disconnection?

You are not alone – poor communication skills are the number 1 issue couples face.

Need validation and communication skills?
Not feeling heard or understood? Feeling Stuck? Marital Therapy helps!

Chris and I want know your struggles, helps and hurts.  We are in the process of developing some exciting online resources.

We want you to talk your way to intimacy and healing in your relationship.
Please tell us your needs by sharing a quick comment, thank you!
You will be helping others too.

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Welcome to 2017! Relationship Hell or Relationship Heaven?

For many  of us 2016 involved highs and lows. I am certainly glad to be in 2017.
What does 2017 have in store for you? Will it be an easy time or continuing pain?
I’m hoping you want change old patterns and restore harmony.
Too often couples who are stuck in vicious communication cycles feel helpless and desperate. Repeating the same arguments without resolution or relationship repair. You have to have the tools!

air yourr elationship bridge
Build a strong bond in your relationship to bridge your issues in 2017

Well today is January 1st the day for resolution. So what will be the change you make ?  Personally I am aiming for more praise of others and sharing this joy. People really thrive with positive encouragement.

Please let us know your wishes for this year in the comments below.

Want expert relationship counseling? You have found couple therapists providing psychology services for your benefit.

We are back on deck from 10 January, hurry appointments fill fast, so call today for your free 15 minute consult 0434 55 90 11

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Happy Thanks Giving! What brings you relationship peace?

It’s nearly Thanks Giving in America, what a lovely celebration. Happy Black Friday to all our U.S. friends!

air yourr elationship bridge
Build a strong bond in your relationship to bridge your issues.

In Australia we can use this opportunity to notice what we are Thankful for.

Too many times Chris and I see couples fixated on the problems they’re having, to the exclusion of all the positives in their partnership. This causes more angst than peace and fuels many a fight.

Be a circuit breaker today in your relationship.

Stop for five minutes, take stock and do a quick relationship gratitude inventory:

  • What do I like about my partner?
  • How do they enhance my life?
  • How does he or she encourage my growth?
  • Think back to a time when you were both really happy and at peace, really step into that moment. Enjoy that sense of togetherness.
  • What in my heart of hearts am I grateful for in my relationship?

Your challenge is to share this lovingly with your spouse or partner. Notice what happens.

Please let me know how you go with this. Share below your experiences.

Couple Love by Samantha Villagran Mexico
Couple Love by S villagram Mexico

 

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Best on Screen Affair Apology with Robert De Niro

Over the weekend I saw The Intern with Robert De Niro and Anne Hathaway starring. ( Spoiler alert I am going to give some things away!)

Anne’s character is a very busy productive woman who has started a very successful internet company, and reluctantly she takes on Robert De Niro as her intern. Well he wins her over of course with his usual charm!

Sadly Robert’s character sees Anne’s screen husband cheating with another school mum. A tad cliche I know. He doesn’t share this until she blurts out her concerns on a business trip. She has known for a while but has hoped it will all go away or ‘he would get it out of his system’.

The ostrich approach rarely works.

The husband’s screen presence is that of a nice guy who has strayed out of his marriage feeling lonely in his chosen role as primary caregiver to their daughter. He comes to his own truth about what is important to him and he decides it is his wife, her having her career and him learning about what led him to step outside of his marriage and breach their marriage vows.

In the best affair apology scene ever ( please feel free to share if you have others you recommend) he confronts the situation head on.

He goes to her work and fesses up. He takes full responsibility for his actions and choices ( Note he does not blame her, her work, or the lack of time, sex or intimacy). He acknowledges the impact of his unfaithfulness on her and their marriage ( owns the consequences) and commits to change for the future of their partnership by doing what it takes to achieve a new strength in their marriage to repair this marital crisis.

I urge anyone interested in recovering from the effects and impacts of infidelity to watch this, I am sorry it may be painful and sad especially if you are newly aware. Healing can happen with help. And please tell me your memorable moments from the silver screen that have helped you. Look forward to your comments.

Call us today to find out how to repair your relationship crisis.

Philipa 0434 55 90 11 or Chris 04111 44 646

Here’s the video trailer 

Welcome Psychologist Chris Paulin to Marriage Works!

I am super excited to announce Consultant Psychologist Chris Paulin has joined Marriage Works. Chris is a highly experienced therapist,  conveniently based in Woollahra/ Bondi Junction Sydney Eastern Suburbs NSW.

Chris is pleased to be offering his skilled counseling ability to couples and individuals in distress, who want effective help today.

Chirs Paulin Marriage Works Male Counsellor
Marriage Works Male Psychologist Chris Paulin

Chris is available in Woollahra/ Bondi Junction.

Please contact him directly to secure your appointment today on 0411 144 646.

Medicare Psychology rebates or Private Health Insurance rebates may apply.

 

Australian Psychological Society (APS) Associate Member Logo
Associate Member Australian Psychological Society

 

 

 

Couples, singles & all we wish you a Happy 2016!

Welcome us all to this New Year. Let us hope it brings many more happy memories. This is a great time of year to make a fresh start in your relationships, whether it be your partnership, marriage, family or friendships. Say Gidday today and make your loved ones feel special.

Chris Welcome in 2016 in Sydney
Welcome to 2016, love & blessings to all from an excited Philipa & Chris xox

Book your appointment today by calling Philipa now 0434 55 90 11

Jane Caro “Don’t just ask for help, pay for it.”

In her Sunday Life magazine column this week Jane Caro tells us of her struggles as a young woman entering a male dominated field. Read Peggy Olsen from the Mad Men TV series.

From her experience she argues everyone can benefit from seeing a professional counsellor.
I’ve heard Jane speak at an engagement a few years ago and was impressed then.

Jane is a wise woman. She found a counsellor ( not friend,mother or glass of wine) to help with her concerns.

I have to share the counsellors take on her being told she ‘was getting over emotional’ after fighting for her work product. The therapist backed her and said ” How much reaction is enough? How much reaction is too much ? And who decides?” Here she learnt to step away from the judgement of others and set her own boundaries.

As Jane says “just because someone was blaming me for something, it didn’t automatically mean it was my fault or even my problem.”
So true ! We choose our responses and only need to take responsibility for our own stuff.

I loved the counsellors next piece of wisdom when Jane is accused of being selfish. She says ” Do you know what it really means when someone calls you selfish? It means, ‘Don’t you be selfish, let me be selfish.’ It’s just another criticism woman hear usually when they dare to put their own needs first. ”

These life lesson have stayed with Jane enhancing her emotional intelligence and confidence.

Jane recommends counselling to all. With the proviso that it’s with a paid health professional who’s a well trained practitioner who wants to help you.
Thanks Jane for sharing your life lessons.

Couple Love by Samantha Villagran Mexico
Couple Love by Samantha Villagran Mexico

E.V.A.N – your secret weapon for ninja communication skills!

Love in bloom
Love in bloom

Are you stuck in unhappy hurtful cycles of despair as you try and make your point? Only to feel rejected and unheard as an argument escalates out of control.

What started out as a simple request begins a foray onto the battlefield of being heard and understood. Trouble is no one waves the white flag; instead both of you dig in and the trenches get deeper and deeper. You both are fighting for right, as is your right. Yet somehow you feel stuck in this battle drama and it really doesn’t feel right.

With both feeling wrong or wronged and the gridlock em-battlement continuing you form a siege mentality. This is where you find yourself bunking down in your respective foxholes, so far you can’t see or hear anything but the battle cries.

There is always a message in these interactions that gets lost in the fallout of grenades launched to your partner that harms. Once you take the pin out of those things it always seems they just have to explode and leaves your partner in pain. And then you feel the pangs of regret and remorse knowing you’ve taken it too far.

Hi-fi-grenade-couple-fight
Don’t pull the pin on your relationship!

American marriage psychologist John Gottman estimates that 60% of all problems couples encounter are ultimately irresolvable. This is because the issue isn’t the problem itself. Rather it is how couples learn to manage the perpetual chestnut problems over the distance. This point is vital to take on board in your marriage.

Stop the fight today. Yes that’s right you need to stop the fight by using your words in a new way.

Yes different words and actions will create new outcomes in your relationship. Learn new skills, deactivate your buttons and release those old trigger points.

It is a total myth that arguing means trouble. What it can mean is dialogue around an issue, which is vital in understanding problems and working together as a team.

Often what gets in the way of this is the circuitous loop of lament as you constantly relay things repetitively without getting each other. It gets boring I am sure not just for you but your partner as you will not feel heard by your partner.

Luckily communication is the most easily remedied issue in couple therapy.

Unhelpful habits can be redirected and channelled into newfound paths of comprehension for you and your partner. Yay!

Sure it will take time, practice and effort but the rewards are there for the taking and begin immediately you change your actions in response.

Once you are aware of your unhelpful habits and patterns you can then progress to creating new neural pathways by changing your interactions.

Yes you will be rewiring your own brain – which I think is pretty neat really.

Wow I can hardly believe when I studied psychology and counselling we thought the brain only had a limited number of neurons for use within one’s lifetime. And if those got damaged or destroyed as in the case of a brain injury with the likes of an accident or alcohol, that was it. There were no more brain cells to be had to recreate connections and atrophy sets in.

Brain_2Now we know from the neuroscience that our brain has the most amazing capacity to heal and repair. For me this is feels akin to being in a time when the world was flat and discovering then it’s round. Thank you Aristotle, Pythagoras, Copernicus and go Columbus for setting sail!

Time to interrupt those habits by using the E.V.A.N approach. E.V.A.N is a simple formula for hearing your partner to practice and become instinctually a great listener. Yes this is possible!

So let’s meet E.V.A.N.

E stands for Empathy. This is where you let your partner know you get their feelings. So you have a go at guessing what they are feeling. Get it wrong no worries let your partner help you and reflect this.

V is for Validation. With your tone and words you convey you understand or are trying to. (Does not mean you agree though!)

A is both for Appreciation and Acknowledgement. You thank the person for sharing this and acknowledge to courage it may have taken to say something uncomfortable.

N is vital for establishing the Needs. In assertive communication we want to get our needs across to our partner without damaging or setting them into defence mode. Find out what your partner needs by asking them gently.

Putting E.V.A.N into practice.

Empathy

Partner A: Gosh it seems we sit in front of the telly a lot honey on a Saturday night. (Said in a heated manner)

Partner B: (using E) Honey it sounds like you might be (be tentative not absolute here) feeling frustrated and possibly be a bit bored.

Validation

Partner A: Yes now you say it I am frustrated and bored.

Partner B: (using V) You know I can understand that. (This is all you really need to say). It has been a while since we had a night out and we have been working hard) Notice how there is no defence – this partner shows understanding, not problem solving though or agreeing or disagreeing.

Acceptance and Acknowledgement

Partner B: I appreciate you letting me know this.

Partner A: Yes you got that. (Tone softened, snuggles into partner on the couch feeling heard and appreciated.)

Need

Partner B: So honey what can we do about this? What do you need? (Uses teamwork to help the relationship by asking for partners input.)

Partner A: Maybe next week we can have a night out.

Both partners can be proud of the way they managed this interaction and avoided what can often be a typical fight and escalation into hurt. This with the added bonus of coming up with a plan to work on reconnecting their relationship.

Well done.

So why don’t you practice it and let me know how you went. I would love to hear about it. Plese add your comments and thoughts on your trials of E.V.A.N.