Neil Buckley and Karen Adams originally started out under the name NorthSide Counselling in 2001. However, over the last 5 years we have focused on our couple counselling framework based on feedback from our clients that we were really making a difference where other couple counselling had failed. Consequently in 2012 we decided to add the name The Relationship Specialists, to reflect our commitment to this area.
We are a group of experienced, like-minded Relationship Counsellors and have been in practice for 10 years. Although we all trained originally as individual counsellors, we specialise in relationship issues, and continue to develop our methodology in line with international developments.
It is well known that working with couples and relationships requires a very different approach to individual counselling.
Relationships and couple counselling is our passion - and we are committed to helping you with what ever relationship challenges you may be facing - whether it be gaining insight or understanding, rebuilding or repairing a relationship, or help in moving forward towards an amicable separation.
We also understand the responsibility that comes with couples trusting us for help with their relationship. We have all had life experiences in different fields before deciding to specialise in this area - enabling us to bring a mix of wisdom and reality as well as knowledge to the practice.
As a group, we all work as couple counsellors in a similar manner, basing our counselling practice on tried and tested methodologies, developed both in Australia and in the USA (see Gottman under services).
As a group we also conduct weekly counselling/mentoring sessions, as well as meet monthly with a workshop facilitator to review challenging case studies, so we can all continue to learn and improve the way we work.
We also continually review our methodologies and materials, including handouts and exercises, ensuring that you, the client, are receiving the very best help you can possibly get.
Our passion is helping you find peace and happiness individually and within your relationship, and to reconnect with those who are important in your lives - where appropriate, ... so if you are feeling stressed regards a relationship or significant person/s in your life, and need help to move forward, then phone us now for a an appointment.
When choosing a relationship counsellor, make sure you choose someone who truly specialises in working with couples, as it is totally different to normal counselling. As a relationship counsellor you are also a coach, mentor and educator - as well as requiring the skills to manage a dynamic , challenging and sometimes hostile environment.
A skilled relationship counsellor must be aware of and be able to call on the following skills:
Appear To Remain Independent
Even when one of the couple is clearly engaged in unhelpful behaviours, as soon as you are seen to take a side, the other person will feel attacked and cease to participate.
A part of couple counselling is observing conflict and thus helping couples change the way they argue, yet if not managed correctly then the session will fail.
Handle Emotional Intensity
Unlike normal counselling, the tension can be extreme, and you need split second reactions ... thinking, anticipating and responding, to ensure direction is maintained in a productive manner - and that the couple feels safe in being there and discussing the relationship.
Recognise "Counsellor Endorsed Divorce"
Sometimes one half of the couple is covertly looking for the counsellor to enable them to separate, so they can end the relationship more easily - however often the other is totally unaware of this agenda.
Educate and Challenge, without Lecturing or Critisising
Getting people to gain insight, and to look at themselves rather than just wanting to change their partner, is a never ending challenge with Relationship Counselling. Couples are often so focused on the negatives, that they lose sight of their role in it.
Deal With Ambivalence
Individuals or even couples will often say they are committed, but in reality have a foot out the door - and no matter what you do they will quietly undermine the process. Recognising and turning this around is part of healing the relationship.
Work With Untruths
Unfortunately for many in a relationship, the truth is something they are unable to say, and in fact lie as easily as most tell the truth (sometimes even unconsciously), yet as a counsellor we have to try and sort through what is real and what isn't.
Help People Heal
Couples often find it extremely hard to forgive and to trust again after huge damage has been done ... due to affairs, lying, emotional abuse, selfishness, gambling, drinking, etc. This is all part of the relationship counselling process.
The Relationship Specialists / NorthSide Counselling is based in Sydney (Northern Suburbs) and as relationship counsellors and marriage guidance counsellors have a large client base who ranging from the Central Coast through to Sydney city.