Reminder of Christmas Holidays

Just a quick reminder we will be closing for the Christmas break Dec 18th 2023 to January 18th 2024

Those couples who are going through the 30 days to a deeper connection program, you may need to plan your sessions in advance to make sure your dates are locked in within the next fortnight.

The 5th step on the program is the most important step please try to not miss this step before Christmas.

Brochure and Testimonials – 

Where did I come from and who am I being? Time for a Reset…

Over the past 20 years I have taken a particular interest in family systems. My research is not ground-breaking. However, there is a thread, which is commonly disclosed and discussed in my office and that is:  Alcoholism and Narcissism in parenting: There is strong evidence, it can have a significant impact on both the parents themselves and their children resulting in generational trauma. Prominent psychologists and researchers have explored the consequences of these issues on family dynamics and the well-being of children. My special interest is in Childhood trauma in adults because it affects the way we function in a relationship and as a parent.  Let’s have a look at the impact on the family unit:

Impact of Alcoholism and Parents:

Emotional and Psychological Trauma: Children of alcoholic parents often experience emotional and psychological trauma due to the unpredictable and sometimes chaotic behaviour associated with alcoholism. Witnessing a parent’s addiction can lead to anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem in children.

Neglect and Unavailability: Parents struggling with alcoholism may be emotionally and physically unavailable to their children. This neglect can result in feelings of abandonment and a lack of support, which can hinder a child’s emotional development.

Inconsistent Parenting: Alcoholism can lead to inconsistent parenting, as the parent’s behaviour may change drastically based on their level of intoxication. This inconsistency can confuse children and create an unstable home environment.

Substance Abuse Risk: Children of alcoholic parents may be at an increased risk of developing substance abuse issues themselves, as they may normalise or cope with their parent’s addiction by turning to substances.

Role Reversal: In some cases, children of alcoholic parents take on parental roles, caring for their impaired parents or younger siblings. This role reversal can disrupt the typical parent-child dynamic and hinder the child’s own development.

Impact of Narcissism in Parents:

Lack of Empathy: Narcissistic parents often lack empathy and may not be attuned to their children’s emotional needs. This can leave children feeling unheard and unimportant.

Validation Seeking: Children of narcissistic parents may constantly seek validation from their parents, as their self-worth is often tied to their parent’s approval. This can result in anxiety and a constant need for external validation.

Manipulative Behaviour: Narcissistic parents may use manipulation, guilt, and emotional control to maintain their own self-esteem and prioritise their needs over their children’s. This can lead to an unhealthy power dynamic in the family.

Developmental Challenges: Children raised by narcissistic parents may face challenges in developing a healthy sense of self and autonomy. They might struggle with boundaries, assertiveness, self-management and forming healthy relationships.

If your relationship is being plagued by your unhealthy beliefs and behaviors from childhood, it might be time for a RESET.

NB: If you have completed the “Disclosure” step 4 it’s now time to move to the closure and bonding session Step 5.

5 Steps to a better more connected relationship over 30days program”

Do you feel like you are going mad in your relationship?

“Navigating Narcissistic Relationships: 12 Red Flags You Should Know”

Introduction: When it comes to relationships, recognising narcissism is essential. Partners with narcissistic traits can introduce a host of challenges, often leading to emotional strain and exhaustion. These relationships tend to follow predictable patterns and behaviours, which can hinder personal growth and leave you feeling as though you are going mad, confused and isolated. Whether you are currently involved with a narcissistic partner or have experienced this in the past, understanding these 12 tell-tale signs can help you navigate the complexities of such relationships.

1.     The Alluring Facade: Narcissists often begin relationships with an enchanting charm. They appear sociable, kind, generous, and deeply affectionate, employing a tactic commonly referred to as “love bombing.” This magnetic persona continues until trust is established, after which they transition into devaluation, setting the stage for a cycle of narcissistic abuse aimed at maintaining control.

2.     Conversations That Revolve around Them: In a relationship with a narcissist, every conversation seems to orbit around their life and experiences. If your viewpoint differs from theirs, they may dismiss your opinions, correct you, or simply disregard what you have to say.

3.     Entitlement to Special Treatment: Narcissists possess an unwavering sense of entitlement, often demanding preferential treatment. This can manifest as expecting immediate seating at a restaurant, even when others are waiting. When denied such privileges, they may respond with anger, criticism, or withdrawal.

4.     The Belief in Self-Superiority: Narcissistic partners frequently boast about their own accomplishments and skills while neglecting to acknowledge the talents or achievements of others. This behaviour is a hallmark of grandiose narcissism.

5.     Insatiable Need for Compliments: While everyone appreciates compliments, narcissists rely on external validation to bolster their already inflated sense of self-worth. Their constant quest for praise, especially in public, reveals their insatiable need for “narcissistic supply.”

6.     Apathy toward Your Feelings: Narcissists tend to be self-absorbed, often appearing emotionally distant when you require support. Offering a sincere apology or taking responsibility for any harm they cause becomes a formidable challenge for them, leaving you feeling isolated and unfulfilled. In some case the partner of a person demonstrating narcissistic traits is left to feel like they are going mad. I often hear statements like “Darleen is it me? I could be the narcissist and don’t know it” a common statement due to the constant mind games the narcissist plays.

7.     Fixation on Superficial Aspects: Narcissists prioritise their own appearance, beauty, and social status. They scrutinise perceived flaws in others, including you, and may expect you to conform to their standards of perfection, seeing you as an extension of themselves. Criticism of this nature should never be tolerated in a healthy relationship.

8.     Limited Social Circle: Maintaining friendships can be a struggle for narcissists due to the one-sided nature of their interactions. If they do have long-term friends, it’s often because those friends are empaths, highly agreeable or people-pleasers. However, remember that not all friendships involving narcissistic traits are necessarily negative; healthy friendships require mutual effort.

9.     Conditional Charm: Narcissistic partners can exude superficial charm and unwavering confidence. However, this facade can rapidly crumble when they perceive a slight or dismissal by others. Note: If the narcissist comes from an abusive childhood the traits they demonstrate may have been an “adaptation” to keep them safe as a child. Take a moment to understand children who live in an environment where there is emotional or physical abuse will adapt very quickly to their environment “fear” is a common state where a child will start to adapt to keep themselves safe. They may start to lie, manipulate, and bully others as a way to keep safe emotionally and physically. As an adult they may strive to be a cut above the rest and demonstrate grandiosity or superiority, again to keep themselves safe. Humans are adaptive creatures.

10.  Hypersensitivity to Criticism: Constructive criticism tends to trigger intense reactions or detachment in narcissists. They may resort to judgment, criticism, or gas lighting, deflecting blame for any issues they face.

11.  Manipulative Tactics: Narcissists frequently manipulate others to serve their own needs or fulfil their dreams. They may cast themselves as victims of unfair circumstances to manipulate or guilt-trip you into actions that primarily benefit them.

12.  The person with Narcissistic traits: may have been a product of a Narcissistic environment as a child and be highly unaware that their behaviours are destructive, they may see you and everyone else as the problem. If left untreated the cycle may continue over the next generation and beyond

Whether you are dating, married to someone displaying narcissistic traits or grew up in an environment marked by such behaviour, recognising these patterns is crucial. Unconsciously attracting familiar traits in a partner can often stem from what you have perceived as “normal” due to past experiences or upbringing. By being aware of these 12 red flags, you can navigate narcissistic relationships with greater insight and self-preservation.

There are Narcissistic “traits” that people can display inconsistently and there is a DSM 5 Diagnostic Mental Health condition called “Narcissistic Personality Disorder”

What Are the Symptoms of Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD)?

To remember the nine signs of Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD), you can use the acronym “SPECIAL ME.”

S – Sense of self-importance P – Preoccupation with power, beauty, or success E – Entitled C – Can only be around people who are important or special I – Interpersonally exploitative for their own gain A – Arrogant L – Lack empathy M – Must be admired E – Envious of others or believe that others are envious of them

How Is NPD Diagnosed?

Trained mental health professionals conduct a structured interview to gain insight into an individual’s typical behaviour patterns. To meet the diagnostic criteria for Narcissistic Personality Disorder, someone must consistently exhibit at least five of the SPECIAL ME traits.

Is NPD Genetic?

No, there is no genetic predisposition to NPD, and individuals are not born with it. Environmental factors play a significant role in the development of NPD. Children who are encouraged to believe they are extraordinary and always deserving of the best, sometimes at the expense of others, may be at risk of developing NPD. In such cases, behaviours like confidence are rewarded while qualities like empathy may be discouraged.

Are Narcissists Bad People?

Narcissists themselves are not inherently bad people; it is their behaviour that can be problematic. They have often been conditioned to believe they are special and entitled to preferential treatment, which shapes their interactions with the world.

Can I Have a Relationship with Someone with NPD?

The possibility of having a relationship with someone diagnosed with NPD depends on various factors. If your romantic partner, family member, or boss has NPD, they may present challenges in your life. Their self-centeredness may make you feel belittled, and your mental health could suffer as a result. Coping strategies may include setting personal boundaries and, if those boundaries are crossed, considering whether it’s best to distance yourself. However, making such decisions can be difficult. Labelling your partner as a narcissist may not be productive; instead, focus on your well-being and determine what you are willing to tolerate.

Can People Recover from NPD?

Yes, recovery from Narcissistic Personality Disorder is possible, but it is a process that requires time and effort. Individuals with NPD often do not seek help on their own, and when they do, it is frequently due to co-existing issues like anxiety. Since there is no established medication or therapy specifically for NPD, treatment takes an individualised approach. Building a trusting relationship between the patient and therapist is a crucial element of the recovery journey. If a person is willing to change and their therapist can help bridge the gap between their current and desired behaviours, there is hope for recovery.

I like to use CBT “Cognitive Behavioural Therapy”, this form of therapy has been proven over the years to be effective and has shown promising results for the patient, their partners and family.

Warning: Ultimately, the decision to leave a relationship with a narcissist is a significant one that should be made with careful consideration and, ideally, with the guidance of a Relationship Counselling Practitioner or Legal professional. If you are in immediate danger or experiencing abuse, prioritise your safety and seek help from local resources or authorities. If you are in Immediate Danger call 000 or the emergency number in your country. Remember that you deserve to be in a healthy, respectful, and supportive relationship.

Defensiveness is a response to perceived criticism or attack. Being aware and taking inventory of significant concerns in a relationship is crucial

Toxic relationships negatively impact emotional health. Being aware and taking inventory of significant concerns in a relationship is crucial, Partners owe it to themselves to evaluate how a toxic relationship impacts them and to consider the options. There are way too many walking wounded people out there. I’m referring to the masses of people who feel unfulfilled — or worse, emotionally neglected or abused — in their intimate relationships. It seems that everywhere we turn, we see and hear about people who are unhappy and emotionally hurting, often severely, in their quest to feel loved.

Let’s take a check-up- please read the following and assess whether your or your relationship needs some help?

·       Toxic relationships have a detrimental impact on emotional well-being.

·       It’s crucial to be aware of significant concerns within a relationship.

·       Many people suffer in unfulfilling or emotionally abusive intimate relationships.

·       Signs of a toxic relationship include loss of intimacy, lack of enjoyment, feeling misunderstood, frequent arguments, and dread of spending time together.

·       Three key signs of toxic relationships are passive-aggressive behaviour, criticism and contempt, and being trapped in negative energy.

·       Passive-aggressive behaviour involves avoidance, silence, and gas lighting, which can worsen over time.

·       Criticism and contempt, as described by Dr John Gottman, can be highly destructive and demoralising.

·       Feeling constantly drained and emotionally bankrupt in a relationship is a sign of toxicity.

·       Seeking the help of a qualified relationship counsellor is advisable before making significant relationship decisions.

·       Learning from the toxic relationship is essential to avoid repeating the same patterns in future relationships.

What are the four horseman in a marriage?

In the context of marriage counselling and relationship therapy, the “Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse” is a term coined by Dr. John Gottman to describe four destructive communication patterns or behaviours that can be highly detrimental to a marriage or long-term relationship. These four horsemen are:

1.     Criticism: Criticism involves making negative judgments or character attacks on your partner. It goes beyond expressing a complaint about something specific and instead becomes an attack on your partner’s character or personality. For example, saying, “You never listen to me; you’re so selfish!” is a critical statement.

2.     Contempt: Contempt is a more severe form of criticism and involves expressing disdain, disrespect, or superiority toward your partner. It often includes sarcasm, mockery, and belittling. Contemptuous behaviour can be highly corrosive to a relationship, as it conveys a lack of respect and admiration.

3.     Defensiveness: Defensiveness is a response to perceived criticism or attack. Instead of listening to your partner’s concerns and taking responsibility for your part in the issue, defensive individuals often make excuses, shift blame, or counterattack. This defensive stance can escalate conflicts rather than resolving them.

4.     Stonewalling: Stonewalling occurs when one partner withdraws from the conversation or interaction as a way to avoid conflict or emotional engagement. It can involve physically leaving the room or emotionally shutting down. Stonewalling can leave the other partner feeling unheard and rejected.

These four horsemen are seen as predictors of relationship dissatisfaction and even divorce when they become chronic patterns of communication. Dr. Gottman’s research has shown that the presence of these behaviours in a relationship can be detrimental to emotional intimacy and long-term happiness. In marriage counselling or relationship therapy, the goal is to help couples recognise and address these destructive patterns and replace them with healthier, more constructive communication styles.

Some Reflective Questions:

Does your intimate relationship no longer feel intimate?

Does it seem not so enjoyable, even though you may still love your partner?

Do you feel not understood for who you are and the needs you have?

Does it seem that you often rub each other the wrong way?

Do you find that you can’t stop arguing over even minor issues?

Have you started to dread the thought of seeing them, instead of looking forward to your time together as you once did?

Is it time to seek help?

Resentment can build up over time, usually because couples have mastered the sweep it under the carpet manoeuvre!

NB: If you have completed the “Disclosure” step 4 it’s now time to move to the closure and bonding session Step 5.

5 Steps to a better more connected relationship over 30days program”

Up to step 4, we are identifying the weeds in the relationship and the weighting score each one of those weeds hold for each person. You then complete your homework.

Next is Step 5 “The RESET” where you learn who you need to be for one another and bond over new insightful information collected over the 30 days in our sessions. This session is a heartfelt connection of two souls.

Marriage problems in chapters … What do you need to work on, Where Are the Weeds?

Chapter 1: Qualities of a Good Partner in a Marriage or long-term Relationship

In the journey of building a strong and fulfilling marriage, gender takes a back seat to the shared qualities and attributes that form the foundation of a thriving partnership. Whether you identify as a man or a woman, these qualities are essential:

Chapter 2: Effective Communication Within the sacred confines of marriage or a committed relationship, communication is the bridge that spans conflicts and connects hearts. It’s about listening actively, speaking honestly, and resolving differences collaboratively. Learning to communicate effectively and efficiently takes time. Communication is not just about the words you say. For example your Tone is 55% of your communication! Your body language, your written communication and your visual communication are all very important elements. You say so much without even opening your mouth. Listening is a very important part on the communication continuum.

Chapter 3: Mutual Respect, an unshakeable pillar in the structure of any relationship, is about valuing each other’s opinions, embracing personal boundaries, and cherishing individuality. It’s a language of kindness and consideration.

Chapter 4: Trustworthiness The foundation of a robust marriage is trust, an unspoken agreement that relies on both partners demonstrating trustworthiness and having unwavering faith in each other’s reliability. Trust goes as far as following through and doing what you say you are going to do.

Chapter 5: Emotional Support In the rollercoaster of married life, emotional support is the safety harness that keeps both partners secure. It’s about being there during life’s challenges and celebrating each other’s triumphs. Empathy is a really important element to someone’s personality. However, there are circumstances where empathy has not been home grown in the inner child’s make up.

Chapter 6: Equality In the chambers of a healthy marriage, equality reigns supreme. It’s the equilibrium where both voices hold equal weight, and decision-making power is shared, leaving no room for imbalances. Where there is a power imbalance in a relationship there will be a cycle of conflict.

Chapter 7: Shared Values Partners in a marriage should walk hand in hand along the path of shared values and goals. While differences are expected, common ground in areas like religion, faith, family, and lifestyle provides strength. Shared values need to be discussed in full and agreed on prior to starting a family or there may be a need for mediation up the track.

Chapter 8: Willingness to Compromise When the storms of conflict brew, the willingness to compromise acts as the anchor. It’s the art of finding middle ground, of forging solutions that serve both partners’ needs. Understanding you are both on the same team can help you put your swords down and start to communicate effectively.

Chapter 9: Friendship At the core of a thriving marriage lies a profound friendship. It’s the joy of each other’s company, shared interests, and the ability to have fun together, nurturing an enduring connection. Over the years we can start to take each other for granted.

Chapter 10: Individual Independence In the dance of matrimony, it’s essential that both partners maintain their individuality. Each should pursue personal aspirations and interests while embracing the partnership.

Chapter 11: Adaptability Life, with its twists and turns, calls for adaptability. In marriage, both partners should be willing to face new challenges as a unified front, resilient and open to change. One of the hardest step ups is acknowledging to oneself, that we need to grow up and become the man or women we need to be for the next chapter in our life as a partner in a marriage and potentially as a parent.

Chapter 12: Emotional and Physical Intimacy The chambers of marital bliss resonate with emotional and physical intimacy. Both partners should be attuned to each other’s needs, nurturing the emotional and physical bonds. When we feel constantly disappointment or let down by our partner we may need to talk about expectations.

Chapter 13: Patience and Forgiveness Within the confines of imperfection, patience and forgiveness are the masons that repair the cracks. They are the virtues that heal wounds and carry love through adversity.

Chapter 14: Commitment At the bedrock of every flourishing marriage lies unwavering commitment. It’s the pledge to remain devoted, to stand side by side, and to overcome life’s challenges as a united force. Many couples in the 21st century struggle to believe in the concept of marriage being a bond for life. With 50% divorce rates the proof is in the data, the term commitment is used loosely in their vows at the altar. Most people cannot remember their vows another example of the commitment being over shadowed by the precession.

Defining the word commitment truly understanding and living the word has weight in long standing thriving marriages.

In the tapestry of matrimony, every marriage is unique, woven from threads of shared experiences and individual quirks. What works for one couple may not for another. The key is to nurture open communication, empathise with each other’s needs, and jointly construct a loving and supportive partnership.

In couples therapy I find most couples have not had good role modelling, they are confused as to who they need to be for their partner in a committed “serve and return” marriage. Many say to their partner “Show me what I need to do and I’ll do it” Many individuals do not understand their actions or inactions maybe being viewed as selfish.

Chapter 15: Ways Couples Can Exhibit Selfish Behaviour in a Marriage

As in any story, there are chapters that explore the darker side. Here, we delve into potential selfish behaviour’s that can cast shadows upon the canvas of marriage:

Chapter 16: Lack of Communication The silence that withholds thoughts, feelings, and concerns can create resentment in a marriage. Open communication is the light that banishes these shadows.

Chapter 17: Disregarding Boundaries Treading beyond personal boundaries without consent can erode trust and intimacy. Respect for each other’s limits is paramount. If a boundary in your relationship is being respectful of time and doing what you say you are going to do “Integrity” example: If you say you are coming home at 5pm and you come home at 9pm intoxicated, you are not respecting an agreed boundary. If you continue to fail at managing yourself …Expect conflict and over time held onto resentment.

Chapter 18: Distrust or Betrayal Dishonesty, infidelity, and actions that breach trust can cast a long shadow of doubt. Rebuilding trust requires patience and commitment. You may also lie to dig down to understand HOW this happened in the first place?

Chapter 19: Emotional Neglect Neglecting a partner’s emotional needs, especially in challenging times, can create emotional resentment. Nurturing emotional connections is vital. Dismissing your partners feelings is hurtful and it does not display empathy

Chapter 20: Power Imbalances Imbalances of power, where one partner dominates decision-making, can cast shadows of inequality. Striving for equal partnership is essential.

Chapter 21: Clashing Values Refusing to compromise on core values and goals can create rifts in a marriage. Finding common ground and respecting differences are vital.

Chapter 22: Unwillingness to Compromise Stubbornly adhering to personal preferences without finding middle ground can cast shadows of rigidity. Flexibility and compromise are keys to resolution.

Chapter 23: Neglecting Friendship Overlooking the friendship aspect of marriage can lead to emotional distance. Rekindling the friendship can dispel these shadows.

Chapter 24: Overdependence Becoming overly reliant on a partner for personal happiness can cast shadows on individual independence. Balancing personal and shared pursuits is crucial.

Chapter 25: Resistance to Change Refusing to adapt or work together when faced with new challenges can obscure the path forward. Embracing change and resilience are essential. This is very common in 2nd marriages where one partner has been hurt by a past partner. Sometimes the fear of a second failure prevents them from giving themselves to the new marriage 100% leaving the new partner to pay the price of old wounds. The divorce rates for second time round are around 75% and the above explanation is a major contributor to this high figure.

Chapter 26: Lack of Intimacy Neglecting physical or emotional intimacy can shroud the marriage in darkness. Nurturing both forms of intimacy can bring light. Withholding sex from your partner as a punishment or a bargaining ploy will eventually lead to conflict and eventually fallout. Communicating and working on the underlying issues in the marriage will help prevent this type of behaviour.

Chapter 27: Holding Grudges Refusing to forgive or move past mistakes can create lingering shadows. Forgiveness and healing are pathways to brightness. If you agree to be in the marriage moving forward after a mistake has been made, you must forgive, or you will start to punish the person ongoing, leading to emotional abuse.

Chapter 28: Commitment Issues Neglecting the commitment to invest in the relationship can cast shadows of uncertainty. Again, define what commitment is for each of you and discuss expectations.

All bookings are made on our website

NB: If you have finished the “Disclosure” to 4th step on the “5 Steps to a better more connected relationship over 30days program”

Please make sure you book the 5th step which is your Relationship bonding session.

Up to step 4, we are identifying the weeds in the relationship and the weighting score each one of those weeds hold for each person. You then complete your homework.

Next is Step 5 “The RESET” where you learn who you need to be for one another and bond over new insightful information collected over the 30days in our sessions. This session is a heartfelt connection of two souls.

Foundationally where did Gabrielle and Ryan come from?

Gabrielle and Ryan, a typical couple who married, enjoy successful careers with a combined annual income of around $250,000. They have three children aged 8, 6, and 4. Two attend a private school while the youngest goes to childcare. Gabrielle returned to work after each maternity leave, and they manage a mortgage, and their two cars are leased.

Ryan enjoys riding his motorbike occasionally and frequents the gym five days a week after work. Gabrielle has a tight-knit group of friends from her mother’s group and enjoys reading and taking morning walks before the children wake up.

While their lives may seem ideal, there’s more to their story.

Ryan occasionally drinks excessively; he says it helps with his undiagnosed anxiety however his drunken state leaves Gabrielle feeling emotionally vulnerable and full of uncertainty. Gabrielle tends to criticise Ryan on a daily basis, leading to arguments filled with hurtful words and put downs. Their intimacy has dwindled, there is no romance and they are having sex at best once a month, communication is a real struggle.

Foundationally where did Gabrielle and Ryan come from?

The term I like to use is “what root did you grow from.”

Gabrielle’s parents split when she was four, leading to an estranged relationship with her biological father for many years. Her mother remarried when Gabrielle was seven, and she gained two stepsisters which she did not get on with. Her younger brother faced challenges with ADHD he struggled at school and with family dynamics.

Ryan’s parents divorced when he was 12, with his father’s alcoholism causing turmoil. Ryan’s mother endured domestic abuse. Ryan has a close relationship with his elder brother, but his younger brother battles alcoholism. Ryan’s mother did not re-marry she raised the three boys herself. His father now lives with a woman in an unhealthy toxic relationship.

Ryan and Gabrielle’s children recognise Ryan’s mother and Nan and Gabrielle mother as Gran they have no relationship with their grandfathers.

Ryan’s mother’s recent stage 3 breast cancer diagnosis adds to his challenges of balancing family, career, and helping his mother.

Growing up, both Gabrielle and Ryan lacked stable role models, living in an environment of uncertainty and little trust. They both were witnessing toxic, destructive fights.

 Their family is now at risk of following the same path.

While it might appear that Gabrielle and Ryan have a perfect life at the beginning of this story, we dug down just a little to find the reality is very different.

Gabrielle and Ryan as children never experienced a loving bond between their parents, they did not experience what a serve and return relationship looked like between two married people. They never observed their parents communicating without harshness. They did not see their mother and father hold hands or kiss each other affectionately. No one in the home demonstrated love, warm, laughter, love, safety the environment from which they both come from a dysfunction environment.

Gabrielle and Ryan experienced the fight-or-flight response during their upbringing. Perhaps their internal alert system that once signalled danger, during their childhoods has never been switched off!

NB: Poor role modelling can have negative outcomes for families over generations unless one generation has the courage to break the cycle.

Behind closed doors, everyone faces their own struggles. In a world of constant comparison, people often feel inadequate, whether they pursue a minimalist off-grid lifestyle or embrace the hustle culture.

Regardless of the path chosen, it’s crucial to reflect on one’s roots and behaviour’s. Growing up in unstable environments may lead to unpredictability or people-pleasing tendencies. A healthy family requires effective communication and self-management skills, especially from the family’s leaders. Ultimately, a strong family is one where children feel emotionally and physically safe. Where they see mum and dad being kind and gentle with each other.

Raising a family requires many skills however there are primary needs – physiological needs, safety needs, belongingness needs, esteem needs and self-actualisation.

Self- actualisation is a big one, it is set up from the root your “childhood” what you think of yourself? You may see yourself differently than others see you, due to the environment you come from.

You cannot change where you come from, but you can certainly change where you are going, it all starts with you!

When I work with couples / families I like to follow the 5 Steps this involves seeing each person individually to help me understand the roots of the real problem. Couples Counselling Services Australia | DIPAC

Some people require multiple individual sessions to help them work through their own internal challenges. Some people give up however most push through, learn, then they test and measure themselves on the job. We must always remember; most people are good humans, it’s usually their behaviour that bring life undone for them and their family.

Regrettably, some couples make the difficult decision to separate

Regrettably, some couples make the difficult decision to part ways, and there are various reasons for this choice.

Why do couples opt for separation even after committing to a lifelong partnership and starting a family?

Several common factors contribute to this decision, including the challenges of forgiveness, accumulated resentments, financial strains, poor communication, and intimacy issues. When these issues arise within a marriage, couples often find themselves under significant pressure to find solutions.

Those who choose Couples Counselling may acquire new skills and tools to mend their relationship. Nevertheless, for some, the decision to move forward separately becomes apparent. In such circumstances, I strongly recommend turning to Mediation to maintain an amicable relationship while addressing the intricacies of separation.

Selecting mediation over litigation in family or divorce disputes can be a pragmatic and strategic choice for several compelling reasons:

1.     Cost-Efficiency: Mediation is generally a more budget-friendly option compared to litigation. Court proceedings involve legal fees, court-related expenses, and the potential for lengthy, costly legal battles. Conversely, mediation typically requires fewer sessions, resulting in reduced overall expenses and a shorter timeframe.

2.     Timely Resolution: Mediation often leads to faster resolutions than court proceedings. Court cases can become protracted over months or even years due to court backlogs and complex legal processes. Mediation, depending on the complexity of the issues, can bring about resolutions within weeks or months.

3.     Empowerment: Mediation empowers both parties to have a more direct say in the outcome. In court, decisions are made by a judge, adhering to legal standards and guidelines, which may not align with the specific needs and preferences of the parties. Mediation allows participants to actively participate in shaping a mutually agreeable solution.

4.     Confidentiality: Mediation proceedings are typically private and confidential. In contrast, court cases become part of the public record. The confidentiality of mediation discussions creates a secure environment for open and honest communication.

5.     Preservation of Relationships: Especially when children are involved, maintaining a functional relationship can be crucial in family and divorce matters. Mediation promotes cooperation and can lead to more amicable solutions, thus helping to preserve family relationships.

6.     Tailored Solutions: Mediation permits customised solutions that consider the unique circumstances of the family. Court decisions are often more standardised and may not address specific family dynamics or individual needs.

7.     Reduced Adversarial Nature: Court proceedings can be adversarial, positioning one party against the other. In contrast, mediation encourages a collaborative approach, reducing hostility and conflict.

8.     Child-Centred Approach: Mediation places a strong emphasis on the best interests of children, striving to create parenting plans that prioritise their well-being. This child-centred focus is especially valuable in divorce cases.

9.     Less Emotional Strain: Litigation can be emotionally taxing, leading to heightened stress and anxiety for all parties involved. Mediation typically involves less confrontation and emotional strain.

10.  Higher Compliance: Parties actively participating in crafting their own agreements during mediation are often more inclined to comply with the terms compared to court-imposed orders.

11.  Flexibility: Mediation is adaptable and can accommodate changing circumstances. If family dynamics or needs evolve, mediated agreements can be revisited and modified through a collaborative process.

It is important to note that mediation may not be suitable for all family or divorce disputes, particularly those involving domestic violence, significant power imbalances, or cases where one party is uncooperative or unwilling to engage in good faith. In such instances, court intervention may be necessary to ensure safety and fairness.

Ultimately, the choice between mediation and court should be guided by the specific circumstances of the dispute and the willingness of both parties to engage in the chosen process. Many couples find that mediation offers a more efficient, less adversarial, and tailor-made approach to resolving their family and divorce matters.

Your Marriage does NOT need to be another statistic

Relationships are complicated and you will need to learn a few things as you grow up in your marriage. We can never stay the same but if we aim to get better, we can enjoy a beautiful union for many years ahead.

Marriage, a sacred union between two individuals committed to a lifelong journey together, inevitably faces challenges that can test this bond. Startling divorce statistics reveal that roughly one in four marriages concludes in separation. However, it’s essential to recognise that there’s always hope for couples navigating difficult times in their marriage. In this discussion, we’ll delve into three common reasons behind marital struggles and offer guidance on rekindling the love, joy, and connection with your spouse.

Have you both become too comfortable even complacent?

1. Rekindling Communication

In the hustle and bustle of daily life, couples can easily become absorbed in their individual routines. Balancing work, childcare, errands, and household chores can consume all available time, leaving little room for meaningful conversation and quality time together. When was the last time you and your spouse engaged in a conversation that didn’t revolve solely around children, work, or schedules? Insufficient communication can lead to disconnection and, ultimately, resentment.

Here are 5 Questions to Revive Communication:

1.     How frequently do you and your spouse set aside dedicated time for meaningful conversations?

2.     What intriguing topics or shared interests beyond daily life could deepen your connection?

3.     Have you encountered any obstacles in expressing your thoughts and emotions to each other?

4.     Are there communication barriers within your relationship that require addressing?

5.     What proactive steps can you take to ensure daily, uninterrupted communication with your spouse?

2. Igniting Passion and Interest

It’s not uncommon for marriages to encounter phases of monotony. Routines can breed boredom, potentially endangering the relationship’s vitality. However, with creativity and effort, couples can break free from this cycle. Whether it involves scheduling regular date nights, exploring new culinary experiences, or sharing exciting hobbies, actively infusing novelty into the relationship can reignite the spark and rekindle desire.

Here are 5 Questions to Reignite Passion:

1.     When was the last time you and your spouse embarked on a memorable date together?

2.     Are there new activities or hobbies both of you have been eager to try?

3.     How can you infuse spontaneity and excitement into your daily lives?

4.     What plans can you devise to keep your relationship fresh, engaging, and filled with anticipation?

5.     How can you pleasantly surprise your spouse with gestures of love and appreciation?

3. Nurturing Intimacy

Intimacy, encompassing emotional, physical, and sexual connection, serves as the cornerstone of any loving relationship. While sexual intimacy is undoubtedly significant, emotional and physical affection are equally essential. From tender caresses and affectionate conversations to waking up together after an intimate night, these elements cultivate closeness.

Here are 5 Questions to Foster Intimacy:

1.     How would you currently describe the state of emotional intimacy in your marriage?

2.     Have there been physical gestures of affection that have dwindled over time?

3.     What factors do you believe have contributed to the decline in intimacy?

4.     How can you openly express your feelings and desires to rebuild intimacy?

5.     What activities or practices can you incorporate to rekindle the passion within your relationship?

Reviving a marriage demands commitment and effort from both partners. Prioritising open communication, nurturing excitement, and tending to intimacy are crucial steps toward fortifying your union. Remember that reinvigorating your marriage may require time and patience, but the rewards of a revitalised and enduring love are immeasurable. Seek the support you need to keep the flames of love burning brightly.

There is no shame in seeking professional counselling to help you in your relationship.

“Hold On to Your Kids” introduces the concept of “peer orientation” and how to reconnect with your children

Those of you who have known me for sometime, know that my passion is in helping individuals, couples and families. A lot of us have had unstable childhoods and we try our best with the information we have available to us at the time, but some cycles are hard to break… behaviour is a big challenges for most people, add in different communication styles and we have can have a dogs breakfast. My work is really in education and implementation in hope that people experience more pleasure and less pain in life. In this newsletter I start with the purest bond of all, the attachment with a child.

I understand that the challenges of parenting in today’s world can often leave us feeling confused and overwhelmed. In a rapidly changing society, it is easy to question how we can truly connect with our children and ensure they grow up feeling secure and loved.

Today, I want to share some valuable insights inspired by the book “Hold on to Your Kids” by Gordon Neufeld and Gabor Maté. This book delves into the impact of social changes in childcare for young children, and it offers a roadmap for building strong attachments with your kids, even in the face of modern challenges.

1. Early Separation from Parents: In today’s fast-paced world, it is common for children to spend a significant amount of time away from their parents due to daycare, preschool, and extracurricular activities. This early separation can disrupt the natural parent-child attachment. We must be aware of this and find ways to maintain strong connections.

2. Peer Orientation: “Hold On to Your Kids” introduces the concept of “peer orientation,” where children become more emotionally attached to their same-age peers rather than their parents. This shift can occur when children spend excessive time apart from their families. Understanding this concept is vital for regaining influence in your child’s life.

3. Challenges of Peer-Oriented Attachment: Peer-oriented attachment can lead to various challenges, including behavioural issues, emotional instability, and difficulties in forming meaningful relationships with adults. It is crucial to address these challenges by prioritising parental connections.

4. The Importance of Parental Attachment: The book underscores that strong parental attachment is fundamental to a child’s emotional security, self-esteem, and resilience. Your role as a parent matter immensely in your child’s development.

5. Quality Over Quantity: While modern life often dictates busy schedules, it is the quality of time spent with your child that matters most. Being truly present, engaged, and emotionally available during the time you have together is what fosters a strong bond.

6. Parental Influence: As parents, you are the primary influencers in your child’s life. Your guidance, support, and mentorship help them navigate the world around them. Note: Looking back at your own attachments may help

7. Balancing Social Changes: Recognise that societal changes have brought about the need for childcare and early education. However, the book advocates for a balanced approach where parents remain central in their child’s life, maintaining a strong emotional bond despite these changes.

8. Rebuilding Attachment: If you are facing challenges due to early separation or peer orientation, the book offers strategies for rebuilding attachment. It involves reestablishing a strong emotional bond and prioritising the parent-child relationship. Note: I have written a story to help understand how we can improve our attachments with our children

In the book “Hold On to Your Kids” by Gordon Neufeld and Gabor Maté, the concept of “polar attachments” or “vertical attachments” is discussed as a fundamental aspect of healthy parent-child relationships. The authors argue that in traditional societies, children naturally formed strong attachments to their parents, creating a “vertical” bond. However, they propose that modern society has shifted towards “horizontal” attachments, where children become more attached to their peers than to their parents. Here is what the book says about polar attachments:

1.    Traditional Vertical Attachments: The book contrasts traditional societies, where children primarily formed attachments to their parents and other adult caregivers. In these societies, parents played a central role in a child’s life, providing guidance, security, and emotional connection.

2.    Shift to Horizontal Attachments: The authors argue that in contemporary society, there has been a shift towards horizontal attachments, where children prioritise their relationships with peers over their relationships with parents. This shift can lead to a range of challenges, including behavioural problems, emotional instability, and a lack of parental influence.

3.    Peer-Oriented Culture: The book suggests that the rise of peer-oriented culture, driven by factors such as increased time spent with peers, early entry into group settings like daycare and school, and the influence of media and technology, has contributed to the shift away from vertical attachments.

4.    Impact on Parent-Child Relationships: The authors contend that this shift towards horizontal attachments can weaken the parent-child bond. When children are more attached to their peers, they may be less receptive to parental guidance and influence. This can lead to parents feeling disconnected and struggling to maintain a meaningful connection with their children.

5.    Importance of Reestablishing Polar Attachments: “Hold On to Your Kids” emphasises the importance of reestablishing strong vertical attachments between parents and children. The authors believe that doing so is essential for a child’s emotional security, healthy development, and resilience.

6.    Strategies for Reconnection: The book offers strategies for parents to reestablish vertical attachments. These strategies involve spending quality time with children, nurturing open communication, providing emotional support, setting appropriate boundaries, and actively engaging in their lives as mentors and role models.

In summary, the concept of polar attachments or vertical attachments in “Hold On to Your Kids” highlights the shift in modern society away from traditional parent-child relationships and towards peer-oriented attachments. The book emphasises the importance of recognising and addressing this shift to ensure that parents can maintain strong emotional connections with their children, thereby fostering their emotional well-being and development.

Creating a secure attachment with your children requires effort and patience. You are not alone in feeling overwhelmed by the demands of parenting in today’s world. By implementing these insights and strategies, you can strengthen the emotional connection with your child, ensuring their well-being and resilience.

I am here to support you on this journey. Please feel free to reach out if you have any questions or need guidance in nurturing these essential parent-child connections.

Wishing you strength and success in building secure attachments with your children.

Her is a story to help with communication moving forward, whilst I have used a female name in this story, please feel free to apply a male name or a non-binary person as the adult in this story.

Once upon a time in a bustling neighbourhood, there lived a dedicated mother named Sarah and her bright-eyed, curious son, Ethan. Sarah had read the book “Hold On to Your Kids” by Gordon Neufeld and Gabor Maté, and she was determined to build a strong bond with her child, despite the challenges posed by a peer-oriented culture.

One sunny afternoon, as Ethan returned home from school, Sarah decided to put some of the book’s strategies into action. She wanted to make sure her connection with her son remained unbreakable, even in a world where peer influence seemed to dominate.

First, Sarah decided to spend quality time with Ethan. She put her phone aside and engaged in a heartfelt conversation with him. They talked about his day at school, his dreams, and his fears. Ethan felt heard and valued, knowing that his mother was fully present with him.

Open communication was another key strategy Sarah embraced. She created an environment where Ethan felt comfortable sharing his thoughts and feelings. She listened without judgment and provided a safe space for him to express himself openly. This encouraged honesty and trust in their relationship.

Physical affection was never neglected in their household. Sarah showered Ethan with hugs, kisses, and cuddles. These moments of physical closeness reassured Ethan of his mother’s love and care. He felt secure and cherished.

Sarah also maintained consistent routines and age-appropriate boundaries. She explained the reasons behind rules and consequences, helping Ethan understand the importance of structure while nurturing their trust.

Quality over quantity became a guiding principle for Sarah. She realised that it was not about filling every moment with activities but making the time they spent together meaningful and memorable. She cherished their shared experiences.

Recognising her role as the primary influencer in Ethan’s life, Sarah continued to provide guidance, support, and mentorship. She served as a positive role model, and her actions spoke volumes about the values she held dear.

As Ethan grew, Sarah encouraged his independence. She allowed him to explore, make age-appropriate decisions, and learn from his experiences. This empowered him to develop a sense of autonomy while knowing his mother was there to support him.

Whenever Ethan achieved something, no matter how small, Sarah celebrated his accomplishments. She acknowledged his efforts, boosting his self-esteem and motivating him to keep striving for success.

Respecting Ethan’s individuality was crucial to Sarah. She recognised his unique interests, strengths, and weaknesses, never pushing him into paths that did not align with his true self. This respect strengthened their connection.

Sarah also taught Ethan the importance of taking responsibility for one’s actions. When she made mistakes or reacted inappropriately, she did not hesitate to apologise. This modelled humility and accountability.

Through patience and dedication, Sarah and Ethan embarked on a journey to build a strong parent-child attachment. They understood that trust and connection took time to develop fully. Together, they faced the challenges of a peer-oriented culture, confident in their unbreakable bond.

And so, in the heart of their bustling neighbourhood, Sarah and Ethan continued to navigate life’s adventures, their love and attachment stronger than ever, as they held on to each other in a world where children and parents were learning to rediscover the power of their connection.


Warm regards,

Darleen Barton Family Therapist and Meditation Practitioner

Brochure and what others have experienced- 

Navigating the Depths of Desire and Connection in Modern Relationships

Men your performance in the bedroom has little to do with maintaining a long, loving, nurturing relationship. Sex, intimacy, desire begins with the connection & bond you have with your partner.

Ladies your task list has little to do with creating space for love, desire, intimacy, sex connection and bond with you partner.

Note: We are all doing our best with the information we have available to us and most of us are overwhelmed and confused on a daily basis.

Allow me to help you: How do you want to be loved?

In the quest for Identity, Belonging, Sex, Eroticism, Safety, and Mystery, a perplexing reality emerges. Why does the fervour of passionate love often wane, even in relationships where profound affection persists? What compels us to seek fulfilment and joy through extramarital affairs or diverse partners? Can good sex, despite its intensity, truly guarantee genuine intimacy? Contrary to prevailing assumptions, why does an intimate connection not always translate to satisfying sexual encounters?

Amidst these inquiries lies the curious observation of overlooking what lies directly before us. Why does the allure of the forbidden hold such irresistible eroticism? How is it that the act that creates life can also spell both profound intimacy and sexual turmoil for numerous couples? The nuances between love and desire come into focus, raising questions about the interplay of Romanticism versus raw Desire.

Pleasure and connection, at the core of sexual interaction, have roots deeply embedded in desire. Yet, as time stretches within long-term relationships, why does this connection falter? The essence of maintaining desire and connection in these partnerships seems to hinge on two fundamental human needs:

1.     Security, Predictability, Reliability, and Permanence: These facets collectively create the grounding experiences akin to a true HOME.

2.     Novelty, Mystery, Adventure, and Passion: In the intricate dance between security and adventure, the human heart yearns for both familiarity and exhilaration. The call for novelty and passion in a partner persists.

Reflecting on the evolution of relationships, one observes a shift from traditional roles to a modern-day narrative. Where roles were once defined, individuals now navigate uncharted waters, often leading to isolation within commitment. The deeper connection sought eludes many as they grapple with defining their place in this new paradigm.

Amidst this complex tapestry, the longing for Identity, Belonging, Sex, Eroticism, Safety, and Mystery persists. This yearning is juxtaposed against the absence of a clear roadmap and the challenge of effective communication. The 21st century moulds an unprecedented environment where career, marriage, and parenthood coalesce, demanding kindness to oneself as one navigates these unexplored territories.

Within this enigma, the relationship between love and desire takes centre stage. To possess love is to seek desire, which thrives on imagination and concerted effort. In the realm of desire, neediness finds no place; it neither nurtures nor cultivates passion. The distinction between desire and neediness emerges as a pivotal revelation.

As the story of enduring relationships unfolds, the principle of “Serve & Return” emerges as a cornerstone. Selflessness and open communication form the bedrock of successful partnerships, where “we” eclipses “I.” Patience and respect foster connection, while resentment erodes love over time.

In a world accustomed to instant gratification, the notion of taking the stairs, not the escalator, applies to relationships. The journey of sustaining love requires education, patience, persistence, and loyalty. Navigating this path is akin to a dance, one that requires nurturing and bonding over time.

For those embarking on this intricate journey, the doors of couples counselling therapy open as a resource. A professional’s guidance lends strength and momentum to climb the metaphorical stairs, reaching new peaks in love and connection.

In the end, as we all tread through life’s uncertainties, accessing help when available becomes paramount. The pursuit of Identity, Belonging, Sex, Eroticism, Safety, and Mystery continues—a symphony of emotions intertwined with the threads of human connection.

All bookings are made on our website

Link to Brochure and Testimonials