FAMILY & RELATIONSHIP THERAPY
According to Salvador Minuchin, one of the most notable pioneers of family therapy, the theory of relationship therapy is predicted on the fact that “Man is not an isolate”. “He is an acting and reacting member of social groups.”
The aim of family therapy is to minimize distress in the families we work with, in its members, and in turn in the family as a whole. Positive effect on one member will have a positive effect on the whole family and positive effect on the family will have a positive effect on each of its members.
Action & Insight are the primary vehicles for change in relationship and family therapy. To say that a family acquires insight means that family members learn what they intend by their actions and what they want from each other.
…Since much of what gives meaning and purpose in our lives involves our relationships…we encourage couples and families to take a proactive approach to resolving any conflict and to address matters before they become overwhelming or irreparable.
As the principal therapist and director, I am highly trained, skilled and experienced at providing family and relationship counselling services for couples as well as families experiencing difficulties in their relationship. I work with different aspects families are challenged by and work with all family subsystems and various family forms including extended family members, blended families, adopted and foster families as well as with couples contemplating marriage and those experiencing the process of separation or divorce.
I have received post-graduate training in relationship, couple and family therapy within the state, interstate and overseas. There are a number of theoretical perspectives and therapeutic models that guide my work with couples and families and I have trained in a number of these including structural, systemic, strategic, experiential and narrative therapy. Models that originated in the postmodern era such as narrative therapy most resonate with my own perspective and my experience in working with clients with a diverse range of issues. The reason for this is that I continue to observe that a large number of issues families present with are strongly determined by the social and cultural context within which families live. Attachment theory guides my understanding and the dynamics of long-term relationships between humans and the understanding how this past experiences have influenced in people’s relationships today. Specific to couple work, I use Emotional Focused Therapy, as well as Imago couple therapy and I have received extensive training in both these modalities in NZ and Australia.
My most memorable experience and the place where I received the most ‘hands on’ training has been during my clinical externship in family therapy in Italy where I spent a few months training and putting my skills into practice at the Accademia di Psicoterapia della Famiglia. Under the lead of Prof. Maurizio Andolfi and with the support of the extensively qualified & experienced clinical and teaching staff, I learned to observe, intervene, and provide collaborative therapy; within the room and as part of the reflective team. This experience strengthened my knowledge and understanding that while family forms may be different and the context where they originate and live may be different, the experience of suffering and the challenges they face about their inability to connect is universally shared by families.
Relationships By Design
Each of us enters into a relationship with ideas about what we want based on: our own family history, values, patterns and expectations; our subsequent relationship experiences as well as social expectations and media portrayals. Holding on to unrealistic expectations can cause a relationship to be unsatisfying and in some cases to eventually break down. However what is important is to consider all these powerful influences in order to develop, nurture & maintain healthy relationships.
While there are things all relationships have in common, everyone’s relationship is unique, and couples come together for a variety of reasons, therefore the importance of acknowledging uniqueness is an important element in this process.
Think for a moment about the key aspect when designing a building…as when an architect effectively designs a building; one which is solid and sound and will withstand the elements and the passing of time. Likewise, the key aspect when ‘designing’ a relationship is to BUILD a relationship which is HEALTHY and STRONG, as one that also withstands the process of time and the impact of challenges.
Therefore through my ‘relationships by design’ program I support the couple (and each partner) to design their ‘preferred’ (realistic & achievable) relationship (through realistic and attainable means) where much of the work is achieved through an ongoing process of learning and growing in the relationship. By engaging in this process each partner becomes emotionally responsible, present, supportive, kind, and nurturing, thus creating a healthy, loving, meaningful and fulfilling relationship.
I see my role as a therapist as to help you:
-Develop an understanding about your own and your partner’s perspective, and various influences and expectations based on; family history, past relationships experiences & evolving social & cultural influences.
-Learn to define the basic principles of a healthy relationship & to distinguish between healthy and unhealthy relationship.
-Design a healthy, robust & long lasting relationship!