It is incredibly important that you attend the first session together. The success of our work will be highly dependent on the relationship we form in our sessions and your confidence that we are neutral and unbiased.
We see you both at the first session so I can hear your story together. You’ll each attend a one-on-one session with us next, before we return to joint sessions. Occasionally it might be beneficial to have an individual session during the therapy, but if we see one of you for an individual check-in, we like to balance that out by seeing the other individually also. It is very important that neither of you feels that your therapist is more aligned with one partner than the other.
People who don’t feel heard or appreciated in a relationship may try to talk to their partners in a way that comes across as critical. Hearing often how much your partner would like you to change can be dispiriting and disheartening.
A misconception many people have about counselling goes something like this: “If we go to counselling and I can explain what you are doing wrong, you’ll finally be forced to hear me, or the counsellor will explain it to you, and you’ll have to change and everything will become better.”
There is a tiny bit of truth in this – people do seem to hear each other better at relationship counselling. But counselling isn’t a place where one person is allowed to criticise and run down their partner at length. That would be destructive and at You, Me & Us we would see that as incredibly unproductive.
Our therapists focus on helping you to express your hurt, pain and frustration that drives the comments that your partner might hear as critical – you’ll be able to hear each other more easily and become closer.
Our sessions run for one hour and 15 minutes – sometimes we go over, but we try hard to avoid that. Most practitioners run 50/60 minute sessions, but we find with two people to be heard, we are just getting into the heart of things at that point. Stopping feels unproductive and disappointing.
We understand that for some couples the cost of counselling is an important factor in deciding whether to seek help and that it can be a lot of money for couples to find. Our fees reflect the longer length of our sessions, and the high level of training of our therapists.
We think high quality couple counselling is valuable in society but wish there were more opportunities for rebates from Medicare and Private Health Insurance for clients. However, in reality, as we have said elsewhere on this site, if couple counselling saves a relationship or saves a break-up from being toxic, then it is money well spent.
For lower income earners or couples under financial stress, we highly recommend government-subsidised organisations such as Relationships Australia .
We cannot work with a couple if one person has disclosed to their therapist that they are having an affair but refuse to disclose it to the other partner. We are reluctant to work with couples where one or both have severe mental health issues, addiction issues, or where there is family violence. In all of these cases however, couple counselling may be indicated as appropriate, we need to assess for this and may proceed on the basis that a separate practitioner provides individual support in the case.
It is fairly straightforward. If neither of you want to break up, we recommend you give relationship counselling a good try.
If one of you is leaning towards separation, but either of you sees a chance of working things out and staying together, you need to try discernment counselling. Read more about discernment on our mediation page.
If the relationship has definitely and unequivocally ended, you need to go to mediation.
If you’ve separated and you are struggling, you may see us for break up support.