Couples Therapy

Why come to therapy?

Usually a couple come to therapy to sort out relationship difficulties that have arisen as a result of persistent conflict, alienation, infidelity, the impact of children (or other family members) on their union, inequality in the division of domestic or emotion work, sexual difficulties or simply growing apart. Typically there are a number of concurrent and intersecting problems.  Sometimes couples wish to understand each other with a view to healing their relationship, at other times couples seek assistance with separation and/or divorce.

It is not always clear at the beginning of couples’ therapy which direction the therapy will take. I encourage couples to define their goal for therapy and to allow each individual to express their ‘version of events’.  Gaining a sense of a couples’ story, and what the original hopes for the relationship were, is integral to understanding ‘what went wrong’ or is going wrong.  Family of origin issues and unconscious dynamics also have an important role to play in how we perceive and respond to our partner. In therapy, we shall try to clarify these patterns.


How do I work?

I see couples  for psychotherapy using a combination of psychodynamic and systemic methods. In particular I draw on recent innovations in attachment theory and neuroscience as exemplified in the work of Stan Tatkin, Alan Shore and others. I also combine this with a sociological perspective that recognises key changes in the gender order over the past 40 years. Changes in the roles, expectations, workforce participation and independence of women have generated very significant shifts in contemporary love relationships – both casual and committed.

There have also been a proliferation of relationship types – cohabiting, married, LATS (living apart together), step-family couplings (second marriages), couplings where only one person has children from a former relationship, gay and lesbian relationships, and so on. This creates a more complex and dynamic field for relationships, fewer certainties and greater scope for ‘making it up as you go along’.  However, this level of change and uncertainty is also central to the problems many couples face, especially over the long term.



Couples therapy ranges from $100 (per hour session) to $150 depending on income and location (Melbourne or Daylesford).

PPMD Therapy | Psychodynamic Psychotherapy Melbourne and Daylesford | Petra Bueskens B.A, (Hons), Grad. Dip. (Psych. & Couns.)