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When Baby Makes 3 – tips for making the adjustment to Parenthood

By Dr Kylee Forrest



It is no secret that […]

By |August 15th, 2018|Couples|0 Comments

When Cracks Appear – Referring Couples for Relationship Therapy


By Dr Jennifer Wilson



Positive, supportive relationships can help us withstand many of the expected or
unexpected challenges life might throw at us. At times of stress, knowing there is
at least one special other to turn to, who we can trust to hear and respond to us,
strengthens our capacity to cope. Conversely, when that need for support at a
critical time is not met, we can feel profoundly hurt by those we rely on for care
and comfort. At these times, instead of pulling together to face life’s difficulties,
partners can become disconnected and even hostile with each other.


This is where a trained couples therapist can help. As health professionals, you are
likely to be caring for patients who are going through just the kinds of difficult
life events that can place strain on relationships. Here are a few tips on how you
can encourage your patients to seek help for their relationship.


At Benchmark Psychology, we have psychologists trained in Emotionally
Focused Therapy (EFT) for Couples. According to recent studies, 90% of couples
who see a well-trained Emotionally Focused Therapist experience improvement,
and 70% report full repair of their relationship. Unfortunately, many couples are
reluctant to seek therapy because of a range of fears and misconceptions, and
couples therapy is often seen as a last resort before breaking up.
Here are some common concerns couples have about therapy -


1. The therapist will take sides.
We are trained to recognise and understand how both partners
contribute to their pattern of disconnection and distress, and to assist
partners to understand the painful emotions that underlie their partners’
attempts to reach them.


2. The therapist will tell us we should break up.
The decision about whether to continue in a relationship always belongs
to the couple. The role of an EFT therapist is to help couples understand
how their relationship has gone wrong, and to guide them, for as long as
they are willing to try, in how to repair it.


3. We are too far gone; the situation is hopeless.
Even longstanding problems can be resolved or improved with EFT. The
intensity of distress does not indicate the relationship cannot be


4. Talking about our problems will make things worse.
Many couples have experienced that their own attempts to talk about
their problems have made things worse, so this concern is
understandable! However, an EFT Therapist is trained to create a safe
space where problems can be discussed productively. In many cases, the
therapist will be able to help partners see each other’s struggles in new
ways that open the door to healing and reconciliation.



5. Couples therapy is a waste of time and does not work.
EFT has years of research demonstrating its effectiveness in helping
couples improve their relationships, and follow-up studies show these
improvements are long lasting. EFT is one of a handful of couple therapies
designated as empirically supported by the American Psychological
Association (APA).


6. We (or he or she) need individual therapy first.
A growing body of evidence suggests that successful couple therapy can
reduce an individual’s symptoms of depression, anxiety, posttraumatic
stress and other psychological disorders. At the very least, a stronger,
more supportive relationship will reduce the suffering both partners
experience when one is struggling with a psychological disorder. Couple
therapy may not be the only treatment needed when a partner has
significant psychological symptoms can help partners to join hands in
working together on the challenges they are facing individually.



Adapted from Ruth Jampol, PhD, Licensed Psychologist Certified EFT Therapist, 
Supervisor-in-Training Board of Directors, Philadelphia Center for EFT

Evidence Based Dating Strategies

Dating advice is everywhere, but most of it is based on opinion and folklore (or even creepy pick-up artists). New research from the University of Queensland uncovers the truth about how to attract a date.


When you’re trying to attract the attention of a potential partner you have a choice: make yourself stand out from the crowd, or show how well you fit in with others. Standing out suggests that you’ve got individuality and flair, while fitting in with others shows you’re friendly and agreeable. Both are attractive to potential partners, but which strategy is more successful?


If you asked your grandparents what to do they’d say that women are attracted to men who stand out from the crowd, whereas men are attracted to women who know how to fit in with others.


These ideas might sound old-fashioned, but a study from 2006 showed that when university students were thinking about dating, the female students tended to change their opinions to fit in with others, while men were more likely to change their opinions to stand out from the crowd. But are these strategies effective?


New research from the University of Queensland (co-authored by Dr Richard Wellauer of Benchmark Psychology) shows that men are actually more attracted to women who don’t conform to the group - those who stand out from the crowd.


Dating advice for women


Whether it’s evaluating dating profiles, rating the attractiveness of other people in small group interactions, or thinking about how much they’ve enjoyed recent dating experiences, men consistently reported that women who stood out from the crowd were more attractive, even though most women think that men prefer conformist women.


Dating advice for men


Women also reported that they preferred men who stood out from the crowd, but only up to a point - being too independent can be unattractive. If anything, men who are good at both standing out and fitting in with others are more successful in relationships.


So when you’re updating your online dating profile or going out with a bunch of new people, don’t let other people’s ideas about what’s attractive change how you act. Women don’t need to be afraid of standing out and showing off their individuality. Men don’t need to worry about acting the tough guy. Express your own opinions and flair, but make sure you also show that you’re able to be flexible and go along with the group.


This research is about dating, but it may as well be about job interviews, meeting new friends, or chatting to people while waiting for your morning coffee. We often spend a lot of time and effort figuring out how to present ourselves in a way that stands out the least - instead, we should be making sure that we’re not living by other people’s standards. It’s okay to stand out from the crowd and it’s okay to fit in with others, but a mix of both is best of all.