5 Tips for Healthy Relationships Online

5-Tips-for-Healthy-Relationships-Online

Social media and the Internet are great tools— we get our work done quicker when we use it, and are able to stay connected and have relationships with the people around us. That being said, the perks of online relationships can come with significant cons. We can lose our privacy, take honesty for granted, become passive-aggressive, and even lose out on ‘real’ relationships if we use the Internet the wrong way.

Here are five ways you can facilitate healthy relationships online.

  1. Don’t overshare

A social media post is not the place to share your deepest, darkest fears. It is also not the place to seek self-gratification or talk about the miniscule details of your day. A good friend will be there for you to navigate the heavy parts of life, and to chat about the mundane, like what you had for dinner. Don’t share it with the world—it harms your privacy and can damage your real relationships.

  1. Think before you post

Before you press send on that message, hit ‘like’ or publish a blog, think about the consequences of your post. How will people read them? Can they be taken out of context? Will you go on to regret this?

While you may have good intentions, things we do or don’t say online can have repercussions that we can’t always control. Think about the possible outcomes before you post, not just for your own wellbeing and that of your loved ones, but also how the general public and the media may perceive your words. Will it hurt other people, even unintentionally? If you’re not sure, save it as a draft and ask for a second opinion.

  1. Prioritise face-to-face relationships

It’s not always possible to catch up with friends —this is one of the reasons social media is so useful. However, technology should never be a substitute for real contact. Make time to have a coffee with a loved one, and ask a person how the day is going, even if you just liked their latest Facebook post.

If you can’t physically see a friend, opt for private messages, emails, phone calls or video calls. There’s a real person on the other side of the screen who loves and cares for you—don’t do yourself the disservice of forgetting this.

  1. Consider your motivation

Just as we can have unhealthy relationships in real life, we can also cultivate this online when we speak, post or even ‘like’ something for the wrong reasons. Are you looking for acceptance, gratification, or are you trying to ‘impress’ someone? Perhaps you’ve had a bad day and want to vent, or maybe you want someone to say sorry, so you call them out on social media.

When we facilitate our relationships online from an unhealthy place, we do more damage to ourselves than other people. Stop. Think. Don’t press send. Instead, go and have a real conversation with said person, or seek counselling.

  1. Be selective

Just because the whole world is online, doesn’t mean you have to interact with everyone on it. Remember, a friend request is optional. You don’t have to respond to every message, like every picture or Tweet every day. Don’t let your online relationships steal away your precious time and wellbeing.

Get in the habit of assessing the pros and cons of your online relationships. If there are more cons than pros, perhaps it’s time to take a sabbatical from Facebook or shut down social media for a while. Remember, you are in control, and you have every right to be selective in who you interact with, and what, when and where you do this.

Do you struggle to maintain healthy relationships online? Would you like to strengthen your relationships with loved-ones? Here’s what you need to do: contact WatersedgeCounselling on 0434 337 245 for a FREE 10-minute phone consultation on how we can best help you, or press book now to book in our online diary.

The Impact of Separation on Children – A Case Study

The-Impact-of-Separation-on-Children

Heather* knew her son’s life would change drastically when she and her husband went through a separation. In this case study shared** with Colleen and published in the autumn edition of Living Magazine, Heather talks about the impact separation had on her child, and the strategies we can use to protect children through this difficult time.

I will never forget the look on our son’s face when we told him we were separating—the disappointment, hurt, bottom lip quivering and the tears. Both Dad and I sat down with our son and explained that we were going to go our separate ways. Our son was left feeling shocked, angry, anxious, hurt and scared.

This came out in many ways—through words, emotions, behavioural issues and separation anxiety. Our priority as parents was to make the best of a bad situation. We worked through the issues as best we could and came across many hurdles on both sides through a conflict in beliefs, personality, strategies and parenting styles, and this affected our judgement in working through some of the issues. Through the conflicts, it came down to the bottom line of ‘It is a child’s right to see a parent, not a parent’s right to see a child.’ This assisted us in focusing on the child’s needs and what was best for our son.

Things that helped were reading stories and brochures around separation, providing an explanation of why we as parents had separated, putting no blame on our son and making sure he understood that it was not his fault.

Through counselling we were made aware that we had to be careful of what we said. Words can easily be interpreted wrongly in a young child’s mind. For example “I moved into another bedroom to be closer to you could be read as “It’s all my fault”. It is also important to never put the other parent down or speak harshly of them to the child.

Play therapy, using toys and colouring-in, provided opportunities within the safe environment of the counsellor’s room, for our son to give expression to how he was feeling. Teaching him strategies such as the use of a visual thermometer to identify the level of anger he was feeling at any given time and ways to help the anger to dissipate gave him a sense of feeling more in control and allowed him to settle.

Children need lots of attention, affection and must know that their world is still safe. Lessons learnt from my experience—don’t move out of the family home—this just adds to the change and routine breakdown. It would be beneficial for the main care giver to remain in the family home. Children need to feel safe in their environment and even more so after a separation. There’s already a lot going on without them having to re-adjust to a new home. It also puts more blame on the parent moving out.

Try and make the rules/boundaries the same at both households, ensure they have their own things —toys, clothes, etc. at both houses. Allow extended families to visit them at both houses—this assists in their new normal. We found it beneficial to have a calendar to show what days will be spent where so there were no surprises and our son knew what was happening when. This will depend on the age of the child. We found that any small changes in routine caused a lot of confusion and anxiety and therefore tried to keep what we could the same. For example, Dad always did the pick-up and at the same time.

Sometimes children cannot express what they are feeling by using words, and this comes out in behavioural issues. In times like this we turned to books written by Tracey Moroney When I’m feeling angry, When I’m feeling scared and others in the collection. These were very beneficial as they were written in a way that children can relate to and understand. We also found the Kasey Chambers, Pappa Bill and the Little Hillbillies CD very beneficial, as it has songs and lyrics that were applicable but partly sung by children.

It’s important for any parent to take care of themselves. As a single parent, you are dealing with the challenge of your life being turned upside down and the feelings around failure and separation—but you now have the feelings of another person to address as number one to your own inner turmoil. It is important you get plenty of sleep, have some alone time when you can, social interaction when you need it and try and find a balance between closing yourself off to the world and being a part of it. You need time to yourself to reflect and feel your own emotions and grief caused by the separation, but it’s just as important to be around positive and like-minded people. I found that when I was better, my son was better.

We have been faced with many challenges and emotions throughout this journey and have learnt many lessons, some positive and some negative. We have decided to focus on the positive as we cannot change the past. Number one tip for any parent going through a separation—ensure that the child feels loved, safe and secure and this will make it easier for them to accept all other changes.

*Name changed for confidentiality reasons.
**This case study has been published with permission of the client.

Are you going through a separation? Do you want to protect your children through this transition? Here’s what you need to do: Contact WatersedgeCounselling on 0434 337 245 for a FREE 10-minute phone consultation on how we can best help you, or press book now to book in our online diary.

How Heal A Broken Heart

How-Heal-A-Broken-Heart

A broken heart cannot simply be ‘fixed’. There is no quick remedy, and the healing process can take any amount of time. In fact, the emotional trauma that comes with a relationship break down is akin to a broken body part. Just as we allow our arm to be set and cast in order for it to heal over time, we need to do the same with a broken heart.

So how do we heal a broken heart? There are short term solutions scattered all over the internet, and many good (and bad) remedies will also come from well meaning friends. The healing process will look different for everyone, but here are 7 methods that will help you through the process that can be adapted to fit your own needs.

  1. Let yourself feel

We have a tendency to run away from our emotions when we are in pain, and we try to dull them with substances, sex, activities or food. The first step towards healing is letting yourself feel; the good, the bad, the regret, the anger and the fear. Feel it all, cry, and acknowledge that these emotions are living inside of you. Don’t deny their existence, it will just make the process more difficult.

  1. Express your emotions

Don’t allow your feelings to fester inside of you, get them out by journaling, making music, creating art or finding a secluded place to yell and get your emotions out. There is no right or wrong way to do this, so choose a method that feels the most natural to you.

  1. Talk

A broken heart is perhaps the most private sort of pain, but it’s important you share this with someone. Catch up with a friend you trust, and talk over coffee. Be selective in who you share this time with—you don’t need advice, you just need support. Spend time with a good listener, someone who is happy to sit with you in silence. Invite them into your pain because this will help you heal.

  1. Limit your self-pity

It’s okay to have moments of self-pity, hiding away and indulging in ice cream—this is often your response to the shock of the event. But if you’re still in this place a couple of weeks post-breakup, you need to change things. Sure, life sucks right now. You are allowed to be miserable, but don’t let this ruin the good things ahead. Take small steps and re-enter the outside world. Go for a run, see a friend, take a walk by the beach. Start doing things that are good for your heart again.

  1. Exercise

Are you angry? Go to the gym and get out your frustration. Are you sad? Run until you have no more tears left. Are you hollow? Walk in the sunshine until you can feel its warmth on your skin. Just move and remind your body that it is alive, ready to feel and heal.

  1. Embrace the arts

You are not alone in your pain. Millions of people before you have written books, songs and movies about the experience, and in some way, their words and melodies will help you recover. Read a book about a fascinating person who has overcome great odds. Watch a movie that makes you happy and sad all at once. Listen to music that reminds you it is good to be alive. Art has a way of connecting with us on a deeper level than logic, and by embracing it you soothe your heart.

  1. See a counsellor

If you’re really struggling after a break up or have been in a long-term relationship, seeing a counsellor can help you through this difficult season. It’s not petty or silly to talk to a professional about these things—in fact; it’s essential to your health. Find a professional who will unpack the experience and help you to process what the future looks like. In time, things will get easier and you will be ready to love again.

Do you have a broken heart? Are you afraid you’ll never find love again? Here’s what you need to do: contact WatersedgeCounselling on 0434 337 245 for a FREE 10-minute phone consultation on how we can best help you, or press book now to book in our online diary.

How Movie Therapy Can Save Your Relationship

Movie Therapy

Can watching a romantic movie with your partner potentially save your marriage? That was the question that motivated Professor Ron Rogge, a Clinical Psychologist at the University of Rochester, to pursue research about the effectiveness of ‘movie therapy’. The results were published in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology.

Ron had observed that in America, 50% of marriages end in divorce, and he wanted to find an effective and relatively cost free solution to this troubling and rapidly escalating statistic. He went about his task by recruiting 174 engaged or newly married couples who he found attending bridal showers in the Los Angeles area. The couples were randomly assigned to one of three categories:

  1. No treatment
  2. Movie intervention
  3. Marriage preparation classes in a workshop situation focusing on a couple’s relationship skills

The couples were followed for three years.

Now before you go home and tell your partner that all you need to do to fix your relationship is watch a romantic movie together, there were some requirements that participants in this category were expected to follow. Having picked 5 movies from the suggestions provided, each couple were expected to watch the movie with a particular focus on the following questions:

  • What main problems did this couple face?
  • Are any of these problems similar to the problems you have faced?
  • How did the couple handle arguments or difference of opinion?
  • How did the couple in the movie handle their hurt feelings?

It turned out that the Movie Therapy was equally effective as the Marriage Preparation classes, and over the period of three years, the divorce rate for these 2 groups of couples was halved.

As I said, it is not the movie in itself that was effective for many of these couples, but the conversations that ensued from it. These movies sparked conversations between couples because they could identity with the characters portrayed, observe and reflect upon how their strategies were beneficial or otherwise to the relationship. By using these key questions, couples were able to have an intentional dialogue around issues that frequently trip us up in our relationships.

If you would like to use Movie Therapy to enhance or repair your relationship, here are a few suggestions:

  • Couple’s Retreat
  • Four Christmases
  • Terms of Endearment
  • When a Man Loves a Woman
  • Funny Girls
  • Two for the Road
  • Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
  • Your, Mine and Ours

If none of these inspire you, there are plenty more movies about relationships out there. For instance ‘Mr and Mrs Smith’ shows a fighting couple and is also a great action movie. We would love to hear your suggestions to add to our list—just comment below.

By the way, you will notice that I didn’t mention how the ‘no treatment’ fared. Predictably when we do nothing to nurture and support our relationships, it will only survive at best and at its worst, it will end in divorce.

Are you have relationship issues? Do you want to strengthen your marriage? Here’s what you need to do: Contact WatersedgeCounselling on 0434 337 245 for a FREE 10-minute phone consultation on how we can best help you, or press book now to book in our online diary.

How to Speak the Same Love Language as Your Partner

How-to-Speak-the-Same-Love-Language-as-Your-Partner_BANNER

Have you ever done the dishes for your significant other, only to have them shrug it off and complain that you never see each other? Or perhaps your spouse constantly craves physical affection, when you’d much rather sit down and just talk? In these circumstances, it can often feel like you speak a different language to your partner. Couple relationships can hang by a thread, because both people feel misunderstood and under-valued by one another.

Would you like to get on the same page? Understand what language your partner speaks when it comes to love? Then this infographic by Tommie Media on the 5 Love Languages can help you out. Based on the premise that every human gives and receives love in five different ways, the primary way you show affection may be drastically different you’re your partner.

Follow the graph below to find out how you best receive and recognise love. It could be Acts of Service, Words of Affirmation, Physical Touch, Quality Time or Gifts. Ask your partner to do it to, and you will find out how to best express love to each other. For instance, you may be a gifts person, but they may crave physical touch. So, instead of buying them gifts to show affection, you are now able to show them physical affection and strengthen your relationship of a deeper level. Knowing each other’s Love Language will revolutionise your relationship and help you to reconnect. So go ahead, and see what your Love Language is!

How-to-Speak-the-Same-Love-Language-as-Your-Partner_INFOGRAPHIC

Would you like to get on the same page and understand what language your partner speaks when it comes to love? Here’s what you need to do: contact WatersedgeCounselling on 0434 337 245 for a FREE 10-minute phone consultation on how we can best help you, or press book now to book in our online diary.

Check Out This Great New Website for the LBGTI Community

LBGTI

It can be difficult to find specific and compassionate advice for the LBGTI (Lesbian, Bi, Gay, Trans, Intersex) community, especially around drugs, alcohol and sex. If you’re a part of it, the difficulty of finding a comprehensive and understanding resource is very real. And if you have a friend or a family member who needs support, finding them a great website, let alone a counsellor who can help them out, can be as difficult as moving a mountain. The good news is that this last week VAC just launched the terrific website Touchbase, which is completely dedicated to informing and supporting LBGTI people of all ages. We’re really excited about Touchbase at Watersedge, and wanted to share some details about it with you.

ALCOHOL AND DRUGS

With details about drugs ranging from alcohol to Viagra and GHB, Touchbase gives you comprehensive coverage of what substances contain, how they affect you in the moment, and the long-term consequences of their use. Giving some insight to safe use of substances, and how to avoid mixing them, it also details how use of each substance affects people living with HIV.

MENTAL HEALTH

People who are LBGTI are at a higher risk of suicide (Beyond Blue), so the need for specific and honest details around mental health for this community is fundamentally needed. On Touchbase, you are given details ranging from the affects of drugs on the brain, coping strategies to take care of yourself if you’re feeling ‘shaky’ and how to find help and support.

SEXUAL HEALTH

While we often shy away from it, the sexual health of anyone is integral to a person’s overall health and wellbeing. Touchbase is straight up in addressing these issues, tackling HIV, STD’s, the facts around safe sex, risk prevention and how sex and drugs mix.

PRACTICAL ADVICE

Aside from informing you with details about substances, mental health and sex, Touchbase also provides you with a ‘Toolkit’ so you can implement them in your everyday life. We’re talking self-assessments to measure your substance use, tools to help you party safely, details about treatment, and how to reduce use of alcohol and drugs. This is a great section when you need to take another step and actively practice self care in your own life, or want to help a friend out.

STORIES

While this area of Touchbase is still in development, the opportunity to share your own story with the LBGTI community is available so other people can be inspired by your honesty and journey. Once this area is developed, you will also be able to find stories on there from like-minded teens and adults. Not only is this a healing tool for both the storytellers and readers, it is also integral in the overall wellbeing of the LBGTI community, minimising isolation and raising awareness.

Are you a member of the LBGTI community, in a same sex relationship, or want to support a friend seeking help? Contact Colleen on 0434 337 245 for a FREE 10-minute phone consultation on how she can best help you, or press book now to book on the online diary.

5 Steps to Great Communication With Your Partner

5 Steps to Great Communication With Your Partner

We often hear that communication can make or break a relationship, but if we’re really honest, communication isn’t always that easy. In fact, it can be down right difficult when you consider that we often communicate ineffectively, or work with our partner in unhealthy ways to get what we want.

If you’re stuck and ‘sitting down and talking about it’ is doing more damage than good, then these 5 steps will show you how to approach your partner so that you both come out of a situation feeling validated and understood.

  1. Actively listen to them

This is not just a principle listed in relationship how-to guides that are designed to make your partner feel guilty for their lack of listening skills. A key aspect of any communication is the ability to listen to each other; not just sitting and drifting in and out of consciousness as they ramble, and not simply humouring your partner as they list off their complaints and expectations.

Active listening means you need to engage with your partner’s conversation, maintaining eye contact and showing physical signs that you are actually interested in what they are saying. You won’t always agree with your spouse, and sometimes you won’t understand them- but the principle stays the same. By engaging in active listening you are showing your partner that they are valued, and this is a cornerstone for any healthy relationship.

  1. Use ‘I’ statements

Let’s be clear, you are responsible for your own feelings and emotional responses. That means that no matter how your partner speaks or behaves, they are not the causation of your own anger or frustration. Your feelings are always warranted and valid, but blaming your partner for them is not.

When you communicate your frustrations with your partner, try rephrasing the statement, “You made me feel angry when you did this,” with, “When you did this, I felt angry.” This frames the conversation so both of you are on equal footing, and neither of you feel like the villain.

  1.  Ask open- ended questions

If your partner is not opening up, or you struggle to make conversation, ask open- ended questions that allow them to elaborate. For instance, instead of saying, “You seemed angry when you got home from work,” you can rephrase this to, “Tell me about work today,” and “How did you feel when you got home from work?”

Open-ended questions take away your assumptions, and give your partner the opportunity to share in a safe and non-judgmental environment.  Using them is far more effective than coming out with blatant statements or questions that cause a conversation to escalate, or speaking out so strongly that your partner shuts down in response.

  1. Passive aggressive tendencies have to go

We’ve all be in the position where we simply expect our loved one to behave in a certain way, or become frustrated when they don’t give us the validation we want. Passive aggressive tendencies come out when we imply feelings, try to pressure our partner into doing something without asking, seek to make them feel guilty, or act in a certain way without explanation.

Irrespective of how justified you feel in your emotions and expectations, your passive aggressive tendencies have to go. Bin them, and make your questions and expectations clear to your partner verbally. If you need them to do something, don’t just sit there and stew- ask! A healthy relationship does not run on guilt and frustration, it functions based on mutual understanding and an appreciation for the feelings of the other person. 

  1. Keep your communication ‘safe’

Both you and your partner need to know that any communication you have is safe, and will not be misconstrued, shared, or taken advantage of.  As you go to communicate with your partner, you need to work through any assumptions of guilt and throw away a ‘victim’ mentality. You need to be willing to share your own thoughts and feelings openly and honestly, and allow your partner to do the same

As you exit a conversation, both of you need to protect what you have just discussed. Avoid gossip, and never talk about your partner negatively to others. Remember- conflict stays off social media! Don’t air your dirty laundry for the world to see. If you are still frustrated, sit down and talk about it again. And if your relationship still has unresolved issues, see a couple’s counsellor so your conversation is mediated. Protect your relationship diligently, and fight for it by making sure your partner knows conversations and experiences are safe with you.

Do you struggle to communicate effectively in your couple relationship? Here’s what you need to do: contact WatersedgeCounselling on 0434 337 245 for a FREE 10-minute phone consultation on how we can best help you, or press book now to book in our online diary.

Rewriting The Rules of Grief

Rewriting-The-Rules-on-Grief

In 2012, Jim Stynes, the Melbourne Aussie Rules footballer, lost his 2 I/2 year battle with cancer. Upon his death, there was an outpouring of public affection for this Irishman, described as ‘a true gentleman of the game,’ an ‘inspirational man’ who was ‘loved by the people,’ ‘a true champion both on and off the field’, ‘ always humble and genuine in his passion to help others,’ and a ‘wonderful family man with a rare ability to inspire all those around him.’

Jim Stynes had achieved more than most of us dream in his 45 years; AFL consecutive games record holder, a Brownlow Medallist, youth leader, Victorian of the Year, OAM and Melbourne Football Club president. He was also a father to 2 children and husband to wife Sam, who is the true subject of this blog.

How does a partner ‘move on’ when their loss feels like a freight train has irreverently rampaged its way through your heart, leaving a gaping void? How does a partner ‘move on’ when their loved one has risen to such dizzying heights of public adoration? I really have no idea, but I imagine that it is a moment at a time, an hour at a time, a day at a time; living in the enormous shadow that their loved one cast in life and now, in death. It has got to be one of the most challenging tasks this life presents, to keep on living and make sense of their new reality. It is a lonely and isolating journey that rarely needs or even welcomes the commentary of well-meaning family and friends. Grief only asks for the other to be present, to listen, to companion.

So it was with some sadness when, just over a week ago, I read the headline:

Jim Stynes widow, Sam Ludbey, opens up about re-marriage backlash

Sam revealed on radio that she had remarried in April 2015, but had withheld the information from the public out of respect. In spite of Sam’s desire to consider others, she still faced criticism from friends, feeling that she had to ‘defend her choice to move on.’

I am sad that Sam felt she had to celebrate her engagement in secrecy.

I am sad that Sam felt that she had to keep her marriage a secret.

I am sad that she had to bear the pain of recrimination from friends and strangers.

I ask myself, who made these rules about when it is okay to ‘move on’ anyway? Is there a book of indelible rules that no one has informed me about? Does Australia Post send me a copy of the rules in the event of the loss of a loved one? Or are these rules internalised in our psychic; informed by the society we live in, our parents & friends, media and teachers? When we internalise these rules, they largely lay in our unconscious self, un-critiqued until we are confronted by our own great loss. Suddenly those unspoken rules take on an authority wielding a power that can devastate the already fragile, vulnerable, grieving heart.

When we observe our friend ‘not moving on’ we get anxious, perhaps frustrated or impatient with them. Perhaps ‘our’ rules inform us that it is not okay to leave their loved ones clothes hanging in the closet long after they are gone? We wonder how normal it is to continue to set a place at the table for dad months after he has died, or suspect there is something very wrong when a bereaved parent leaves their dead child’s room untouched long after they’re gone. Yes, it is confronting, but confronting for whom? May be there is no ‘normal,’ and your loved one is just trying to navigate their daily life and find a different way to maintain a connection with their loved one.

On the other hand, when a person apparently does ‘move on’ (as it appears to be in Sam’s case), we feel offended – it is ‘to soon’, ‘on the rebound’, or ‘disrespectful to their loved one,’ are familiar phrases. Our internalised rules declare how inappropriate that person is behaving.

Who made those rules? Why do we feel the need or believe we have the right to dictate the rules around grief when it isn’t even our journey?

Recent research into how we grieve has moved quite profoundly from the old notion of doing ‘stages of grief’ (Elizabeth Kubler-Ross), to a more dynamic notion where the person who is grieving interacts with the loss experience. People move between their overwhelming loss and the new life they must attend to, oscillating between the two (M.S.Stoebe & Shut 1999). Their task is not so much to ‘let go’ or to ‘move on,’ as it is to work out a way to interact with their loved one even though they are physically absent. We can ‘move with’ rather than ‘moving on’ from grief and the relationship with the person we grieve (Klass, Silverman & Nickman 1996).

After all, there is no right or wrong way to grieve – we just do the best we know how at the time, forging a different, but no less significant connection, with the deceased while at the same time, continuing the task of living and forming new attachments. That is what Sam Ludbey is doing, as we all must do when confronted by our own great loss.

Are you grieving a loss? Do you know someone who is grieving a loss and you don’t know how to help them? Talking to a Counselling Professional about your experience in a safe and nurturing space may be the support you need to navigate your grief experience. For a FREE 10 minute consultation as to how we can help you, ring Colleen on 0434 337 245 or Duncan on 0434 331 243 or press book now to book on the online diary.

60+ Relationship Tips for Intimacy

60+-Relationship-Tips-for-Intimacy

We all want intimacy with our partner, but at times it can be hard to cultivate. In this new blog from Australian Counselling, 20 therapists, including our own Colleen Morris, share their tips for creating intimacy with your partner.

From simple, minute details, to larger than life ideas, this list will give you the inspiration you need to get your relationship back on track. How do you establish intimacy with your partner? Read the blog here and see if you’re strategy makes the list.

Would you like to improve intimacy with your partner? Watersedge Counselling is introducing Marriage and Couple Retreats as a regularly feature in our calendar. On Saturday October 17th 2015 from 9.30 to 4.30pm, we will be conducting a one day retreat, Strengthening Your Marriage & Couple Relationship, at 321 Shannon Ave., Newtown, Geelong.

For more details on how Watersedge can help you, can contact Colleen Morris on 0434 337 245, or go to our Events page to check out the details including cost. Bookings can be made online by going to BOOK NOW and following the prompts. You will find the October Retreat under the Couple and Marriage Services section.

In Response: Local Love Cheats Sign of the Times Says Therapist

Last Friday I was quoted by the Geelong Independent regarding the hacking and release of individual names on the Ashley Madison cheating website. Geelong has been revealed as one of the major hot spots for users in the state, and a journalist approached me from the newspaper to offer my own thoughts on the situation.

Today I wanted to take this opportunity to expand on my thoughts and statements in the article, bringing to light the significance of this scandal and what it means in our community. Adultery and cheating of any kind, while labelled as a ‘sign of the times’ by this newspaper, plays an integral role in my day-to-day interactions with clients, and as such need to be addressed with great caution and respect.

Relieving the pressure of stress is a preoccupation of our post-modern society. People frequently report that they feel overwhelmed by the demands of the 21st century lifestyle: work stress, unemployment, financial stress and family issues are just a few of the numerous pressures brought to bear. Feeling threatened by uncomfortable feelings such as anxiety, fear or anger, the need escape or at least distract oneself, is entirely appealing and (we convince ourselves) justifiable. In my experience, this is frequently the scenario whereby individuals begin ‘online’ affairs. It is not necessarily about dissatisfaction with one’s couple relationship, as it is about the inability to deal with stress in ways that are appropriate and serve to reinforce that same relationship.

Where an individual sites sexual dissatisfaction in their couple relationship, being open and honest about this invites a conversation with your partner as to how our needs can be better met. It is my experience that the breakdown of physical intimacy in a couple relationships is not as simple as ‘we just don’t have sex anymore.’ By initiating a respectful dialogue around this issue, possibly with the support of a Couple’s Therapist, you can begin to listen to and understand the needs of your partner that, if met by you, will promote emotionally and possibly more physical intimacy in your relationship.

I want to thank you for your interest following the publication of yesterday’s article, and hope it enables you to further strengthen your own relationships. If your couple relationship has been impacted by online affair, I encourage you to seek out a Couples Therapist to explore what has triggered the behaviour, and most importantly, how you can repair the relationship together. By selecting BOOK NOW, you can make an appointment with the team at Watersedge today.

WatersedgeCounselling is holding a Couples Relationship Retreat in Newtown on October 17. If you would like to learn practical tools to engage with your partner and strengthen your relationship, you can book today and receive the Early Bird Discount ending September 5. For any further details, please contact WatersedgeCounselling on 0434 337 245.