Are you struggling to communicate or to express yourself in relationships? Are your relationship difficulties impacting other areas of your life? Do you feel frustrated and disillusioned?

Do you find yourself saying?

“We used to be happy, now our problems feel insurmountable, we just don’t see eye to eye anymore? We are stuck. We just keep drifting apart. We don’t seem to be able to communicate like we used to and we are arguing more frequently. It’s like we have separate lives. Our sex life is almost non-existent”.

Whether it’s a marriage, your family or just personally, we can work together to improve your relationships and communication and conflict resolution skills, one step at a time.

Happy, well-functioning relationships tend to have an overall positive view of their partner. These couples have genuine respect for the other in what they do and how they do it. Partners give each other the benefit of the doubt and can extinguish conflict before it spirals out of control. They can say “I feel sad about the way that comment was made and I would love it if we can talk about what’s really going on”. These couples repair well after conflict and then they move on. They don’t get stuck in gridlock.

"We used to be happy, now our problems feel insurmountable, we just don’t see eye to eye anymore? We are stuck. We just keep drifting apart. We don’t seem to be able to communicate like we used to and we are arguing more frequently. It’s like we have separate lives. Our sex life is almost non-existent."

Nerida specialises in Relationship Counselling

Nerida’s couple therapy approach is based on the John Gottman method, which combines the knowledge and wisdom of nearly forty years of research. Gottman Method Couples Therapy helps couples break through barriers to achieve greater understanding, connection and intimacy in their relationships.

Research demonstrates that for relationships to last, couples must become better friends, learn to manage conflict, and create ways to support each other’s hopes for the future. The John Gottman Method is an approach to therapy that includes an assessment of the relationship and integrates research-based interventions based on the Sound Relationship House theory.

Some of the relationship issues that Nerida can help you address in therapy include:

  • Frequent conflict and arguments;
  • Poor communication;
  • Emotionally distanced couples on the verge of separation;
  • Specific problems such as sexual difficulties, infidelity, money, and parenting

Nerida has found that by the time couples seek help their communication style has evolved to being either contemptuous and hostile or emotionally withdrawn. They are more likely than not to have an overall negative view of their partner. Little flicks of criticism and contempt can be habit forming. For couples at this point, even a neutral comment can be interpreted as an attack. And by this stage, toxic forms of communication feature frequently.

The toxic communication interplay usually unfolds like this:

  • Criticism (or perceived criticism), then
  • Defensiveness, then
  • Contempt, and
  • Stonewalling and emotional withdrawal.

Conflict and poor communication lead to feelings of emotional disconnection and hopelessness. Nerida’s goal is to assist couples to understand what’s underneath their conflict- their innermost wants and needs, in order to change negative behaviour patterns and strengthen the relationship.

Gottman Method Couples Therapy interventions aim to disarm conflicting verbal communication, increase intimacy, respect, and affection, remove barriers that create a feeling of stagnancy in conflicting situations, and create a heightened sense of empathy and understanding within the context of the relationship.

In couple’s therapy, the path to renewed trust and commitment is paved with exercises to change toxic communication styles into those that foster respect and compassion. Strategies involve learning a new dialogue.

Nerida looks at five key global areas with subscales for each couple while working on the specific perpetual problems or areas of gridlocked conflict for the couple.

Assess how harshly conflict discussions begin, if disagreements are full of criticism, defensiveness, contempt or stonewalling, how overwhelmed partners feel during disagreement, whether each partner accepts influence from the other or not, how well they compromise, how primed they are for conflict even when discussing neutral things, how well they attempt to repair negativity and whether repair attempts are accepted or rejected, family of origin patterns, emotional connection or distancing, how they handle external stressors as a couple, if there are problems relating to in-laws, jealousy issues, sexual affairs, agreement on basic values, goals and lifestyle, how well they work together in managing household tasks, financial issues, whether or not they have fun together, history of distressing events in the relationship and how gridlocked the couple are on perpetual problems.

Includes the couples’ global relationship satisfaction inventory, whether or not each partner has considered ending the relationship, how well known by one another they are, how well respected or admired each partner feels by the other, how responsive the are to expressing needs, the amount of passion in the relationship, how emotionally engaged or how lonely and isolated each partner feels.

Assess if the relationship feels predictable and can provide security, order and peace in the couple’s home life, trust or betrayal, and how each partner thinks about sharing emotions.

Relates to ritual of connection, feeling supported in individual roles, goals and the couple’s relationship ‘symbols’.

These areas impact upon the relationship dynamic. Drug and alcohol issues, suicide potential, domestic violence, social isolation, property damage, obsessive compulsive traits, interpersonal sensitivity, depression, anxiety, anger-hostility, phobic anxiety, paranoia, sleep disturbances, overeating.

Gottman Relationship


Schedule Checkup

The Gottman Relationship Checkup is an online tool that is comprised of 480 questions which cover five categories of importance to healthy and satisfying relationships. Each partner is provided a private (and separate) link to the Checkup, and once each partner has completed the questions, a report is generated with the results of your current relationship health. This report is sent to Nerida (the verified therapist).  The verified therapist will then provide the results of your assessment.

PREPARE/ENRICH Counselling for Couples; Premarital Counselling, Marriage enrichment, mentoring and education.

Nerida is a Certified Facilitator of the PREPARE/ENRICH relationship and couples’ assessment tool. It is suitable for premarital counselling, marriage enrichment, marriage mentoring and marriage education.

PREPARE/ENRICH is the leading relationship inventory and couples’ assessment tool and is clinically validated as a program for premarital counselling, marriage enrichment, marriage mentoring and marriage education.

Learn more

For more information or to book an appointment phone Nerida on 0408 024 308 or complete the form below.

Emergency Contacts

If you are in Sydney, in an emergency situation or you urgently need support please call the following numbers:

13 11 14
(24 hours / 7 days a week)

Salvo Care Line
(02) 9331 6000

Central Sydney Mental Health Crisis Team
1800 636 825

Suicide Prevention and Crisis Intervention
1300 363 622

Mensline Australia
1300 789 978

1300 224 636
(24 hours / 7 days a week)