Marriages & Relationships

Gottman Approved MemberRelationships can offer comfort, support, and fun and are also at times a source of distress, emptiness, and despair. Most relationships go through periods of natural highs and lows in attraction, energy, and enthusiasm.


Relationship problems may arise from communication dysfunction, lack of emotional and physical connectedness, depression, anxiety, addiction, infidelity, and other forms of betrayal. Betrayal goes beyond acts of sexual betrayal and includes other ways to betray a lover such as a non-sexual affair, pornography addiction, forming coalitions against the partner, coldness, withdrawal of sexual interest, disrespect, selfishness, and unfairness. These are some of the areas in which we can help couples to change interaction patterns, heal from betrayal, learn new skills to rebuild the couple friendship that is essential for becoming a master within a relationship, and help couples create shared meaning together.

“A ‘master couple’ is a couple who stays together and is happy with the relationship. A ‘disaster couple’ is a couple who stays together, make things worse, and both parties are unhappy in the relationship” (Gottman).

Gottman explains lack of trust in a relationship as a deficit in couple attunement (i.e., a deep level of loving and kind mutual understanding; where “real” intimacy thrives). While this concept emphasizes the importance of communication, it also highlights that the right vocabulary is only skin deep to the profound connection with another human being via deeply and genuinely understanding his or her world. For some couples attunement is second nature, however, other couples find it challenging. Fortunately, attunement is a set of skills that almost all couples can learn providing the commitment is “genuine” and mutual.

Couples therapy at Bulimba Psychology is based on The Gottman Method; a therapy framework based on 35 years of clinical research. The Gottman Method is an integrative approach to couple therapy and deals with moving couples from gridlock to dialogue and extends to the everyday aspects of couple interaction, friendship, emotional repair, love, and positive affect. The psychologists’ role is to coach couples to reconnect.


Couples therapy is typically formatted as follows:

  • 1st session: 1.5hrs (couple)
  • 2nd session: 50 minutes (person 1)
  • 3rd session: 50 minutes (person 2)
  • 4th and ongoing sessions: 1.5hrs (couple)

Complex relationship problems can take time to unravel and may require deep and intensive work. Marathon therapy (sessions lasting 5+ hours) can be negotiated and may be considered for weekend times.

If you would like arrange an appointment with Natalie Slect for couples therapy, please contact Bulimba Psychology on 07 38991455 or email info@bulimbapsychology.com.au


Please note: Couple therapy is never used to remedy a relationship where the worst kinds of betrayal, physical (e.g., forced or unwanted touch under any circumstances) and/or emotional (e.g., social isolation, extreme jealously, public humiliation, belittling, or other acts that induce fear or damage to property, children, and pets) are evident. If you are experiencing domestic violence, individual consultation is recommended. DV Connect is also a good resource: Womensline 1800 811 811 or Mensline 1800 600 636.