Articles by Jacqueline McDiarmid, Couple's counselling, Couples

10 Things to expect in Couples Counselling Sydney

You have finally made the appointment for couples counselling – but now you’re both feeling a little anxious about what will actually happen in the sessions.  

Here are 10 things you can expect in the couples counselling process:-

  1. You will feel comfortable – your Couples Counsellor will ask you both a bit about yourselves. You’ll each get a chance to talk. This initial interaction will help the counsellor get to know you a little better, but it also usually helps you get settled in the room and feeling comfortable with the counsellor.  It’s also a great chance for you to ask questions about your Couples Counsellor’s experience, credentials, or how they typically work.
  2. Goals will be stated – you will each be asked to outline your concerns about your relationship.  And to state your goals. You will be asked a series of questions that will help your Couples Counsellor understand the positive outcomes you’d like from counselling, and also help your counsellor decide how to proceed with you
  3. You will get feedback – your Couples Counsellor will give you feedback on what they think is going on in your relationship, and possibly also how you’ve ended up there. The Couples Counsellor will then outline a plan for the work ahead, and get your agreement on the way forward.
  4. The work is structured – in Couples Counselling the sessions are structured and designed to give both people a chance to express their thoughts and feelings.  Your Couples Counsellor will direct the conversation to ensure both people feel heard.
  5. The work is contained – in Couples Counselling, conflict in the room is contained.  Your Couples Counsellor will not shut you down, but they will make sure the sessions remain productive – and that usually means quickly stopping arguments.
  6. You will feel hopeful – by the time you leave your first session you both should be feeling not only comfortable with your Couples Counsellor but also hopeful and positive about the Couples Counselling process.
  7. You will learn things that are useful in your relationship and beyond– your Couples Counsellor will give you both some tools and teach you some skills which will help your relationship.
  8. Your relationship will improve – by session three of Couples Counselling at Sydney Couples and Family Specialists, you should be implementing some strategies that you’ve been taught, and starting to feel the positive results on your relationship. 
  9. You will communicate better – you will learn how to communicate in an effective and healthy way in Couples Counselling.  Your Couples Counsellor will teach and coach you on how to do this.
  10. You will feel safe – you will feel like you can talk openly about personal things like intimacy, sex and finances.  Couples Counselling is a strictly confidential process and our therapists are very experienced at handling real-world relationship issues. We won’t be shocked, and you won’t feel judged. 

If you think you and your partner would like to attend Couples Counselling Sydney, please contact us on 02 8968 9397 – we also offer online Couples Counselling for people who do not live in Sydney or live far away from our locations.

About Jacqueline

Jacqueline has been in private practice for more than two decades, helping individuals, couples and families.  She has extensive experience in couple and family therapy and is considered a specialist in these areas. In her clinical practice, she has helped people deal with complex trauma, affairs, complex mental health issues, eating disorders, adolescent behavioural problems (including self-harm and suicidal ideation), behavioural issues in young children which are impacting parents and families, relationship issues and post-separation work.

Jacqueline works with many different dynamics: couples, parents, families with young children, same-sex couples, foster/adopted families, families with teenagers and also adult families.  She is particularly interested in helping parents of children with behavioural issues, or with diagnosed conditions such as anxiety, ADHD, ASD and so on.

Although Jacqueline’s work is supportive and friendly, she will challenge her couples and families to make the necessary behavioural changes, to repair relationships and to move towards healthier communication styles in the future.

Jacqueline’s style is direct and fast paced and she is known for quickly getting to the heart of the matter.  Clients report that they feel safe and understood with Jacqueline.

Qualifications and Professional Membership

Jacqueline has a Masters in Couple and Family Therapy (UNSW). She has a Bachelor degree in Counselling and Human Change, and a Diploma in Psychotherapy and Counselling.

Jacqueline is a Clinical Supervisor for Counsellors and Therapists. She lectures in couple and family therapy at Masters and Post Graduate level, and is currently Head Lecturer for the Couple and Family Therapy course (Masters) at the Jansen Newman Institute.  She has been a Lecturer at the University of Western Sydney and Sydney University, and continues to guest lecture at other tertiary institutions.

Jacqueline is also the Director of the Couple and Family Training Centre where she runs regular professional development workshops and seminars for Therapists, Counsellors, Psychologists, Social Workers and Health Industry Workers who are looking to gain skills in this specialist area.

She is a Clinical Member of the Family Therapy Association of Australia and a Clinical Member of PACFA.

“Thank you for seeing me today. Your help with all our family issues and all your advice has been invaluable.
I don’t know how other families do it, without a Jacqueline in their lives.” – Anna (43) step-mum and mum to four children.

If you feel as though you could benefit from talking with a Therapist please contact  The Sydney Couple and Family Specialists on 02 8968 9397 or email

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