Relationship Coaching FAQ - A Comprehensive Guide in 2022

WHAT IS YOUR APPROACH TO RELATIONSHIP COACHING?

I take an experimental approach, incorporating embodiment practices alongside curious conversations to guide couples & individuals to discover their own unique dynamics.

What that means is that in each couples therapy session there are a few parts;

  1. check-in,
  2. setting an agenda,
  3. movement,
  4. some curious questions & conversations
  5. pattern identification & insights
  6. relational education
  7. followed by practices & home experiments to explore solutions.

WHAT RELATIONSHIP COACHING MODALITIES DO YOU USE?

The relationship coaching methods I use are influenced & informed by the following therapeutic approaches;

  • Integrative Systemic Therapy
  • Relational Dialectics
  • The Doherty Approach
  • Gottman Method Couples Therapy
  • Instant Insight Communication Systems™
  • The Client Code™
  • Micro Activism
  • Somatic Modalities

I draw frameworks, approaches, and tools from each of these as they become relevant and helpful.

WHICH INFLUENCES INFORM YOUR WORK?

I began my learning in 2013 with my early studies at The Coaching Institute. 

These days I feel conflicted about even referencing them, it is a deeply disturbing environment that employs cult-like approaches to personal development. This causes great harm to many students; financially, mentally, and emotionally.

I personally experienced some great harms as both a student and an employee, AND I also received deep insights and powerful education. It changed the course of my life.

I still use some frameworks, and tools that I learned from TCI, but I have a very different approach to coaching. I don't vibe with the massive change overnight, spiritual bypassing "manifest your destiny", or pull yourself up by the bootstraps models of thinking.

In 2015 I joined a group where I was mentored by Alice Haemmerle - that group had a deep and long lasting impact on me and some of my dearest friends are people I met through that program. That mentoring continued for a few years until my health declined and my chronic fatigue began in earnest.

Since 2019 I have been directly taught by Michaela Boehm, & Steve James, in the specific contexts of the Non-Linear Movement Method Teacher Training (Levels 1 and 2), The Wild Woman's Way Teacher Training, and ongoing annual women's study groups. Their approach to teaching & facilitating has heavily influenced my orientation to my client work.

I have indirectly learned from (through online workshops and certifications); Gottman Method Couples TherapyInstant Insight Communication Systems™, Nkem Ndefo & Rae JohnsonBear Hebert,  Dr Alexandra Solomon, and The Doherty Institute.

I am informed & inspired by published work, online education, and content from;  Brené BrownEsther Perel,  Dr Alexandra Solomon, Ian Kerner, Stephen Porges, Peter Levine, Dean Spade, The Centre for Humane Technology, and more.

This is by no means a full accounting - I'm a voracious learner and read & listen to a lot of influences. If you're curious about that, I share a lot of what I'm currently learning on my Instagram page here.

HOW IS RELATIONSHIP COACHING DIFFERENT TO COUNSELLING?

Relationship coaches and marriage counsellors share many of the same tools & techniques.

The key difference is the training of each practitioner, the school of therapy that informs their approach, and the requirements of professional bodies for registration and supervision. In Australia, relationship coaches do not have a regulating body, nor requirements for registration or supervision.

Marriage counsellors do have a regulating body, and membership requires registration and supervision but those things aren't necessary to practice.

Having said that, my commitment to professionalism and high standards means that I continually participate in ongoing education, and seek out mentoring.

I've written more about this here: Spilling the Tea on Relationship Coaches, Marriage Counsellors, Psychologists, and Psychotherapists

HOW LONG IS A PROGRAM?

I only have one package that I offer, which is 3 months and includes 6 sessions plus online resources and email support.

This package has a combination of both couple, and individual sessions. A typical program looks like this. There is plenty of flexibility in terms of time for delivery to account for the usual logistics challenges of life!

There are a few reasons I do it this way;

  1. Working with clients in a session-to-session way creates loaded vibes. It reframes your experience as an expectation that a session will "fix something", and then if it doesn't, that "it didn't work". Working with relationship coaches is similar to working with a personal trainer; you learn technique, get feedback, and are guided during sessions, AND it is the consistent application of those techniques BETWEEN sessions that brings results.
  2. Three months requires you to frame your expectations that change takes time. It frees you from making relationship decisions day-to-day, and provides you with a framework to implement tools and calibrate the effect, with ongoing coaching & support.
  3. I don't vibe with sales fuckery.  I choose to not implement tools like "the silver, gold, platinum package choice" or other manipulative sales techniques. Just one package, based on what I believe is the minimum block of time for you to begin to get traction.

HOW LONG WILL WE NEED A RELATIONSHIP COACH?

The short answer is: I don't know. There are many factors that influence this, and each couple is unique.

There are a few common ways my clients approach this;

1 or 2 specific issues. These couples have specific defined issues that they need to shake out, and simply need some guidance. Within the scope of our sessions they develop the skills required to move forwards and manage their challenges as a team.

More issues. For couples with more complicated issues or a longer history, 6 sessions is unlikely to be enough to work through their priorities.

In this instance I suggest completing the first 3 months, then taking a short break to continue to implement what you have learned. The next steps are to decide between individual sessions, or another block of couples work. This will depend on your unique circumstances and we will collaborate on these options.

Some couples find that at this point our work together is complete, which is wonderful. Many couples work with me for 12 months (4 x 3 month blocks) to really get to the heart of their issues & dynamics. Other couples like to book in from time-to-time for some 'maintenance', or to resolve a specific issues as they come up.

Navigating Separation. Some couples decide that they don't want to stay together. This doesn't have to be awful! Especially where they still need to have ongoing collaborative contact (perhaps they are co-parents, own a business, or share a community).

Either way I strongly recommend working with a relationship coach to provide support as you work through your breakup and to help define the scope of your future interactions so that you maintain respect & kindness between you.

Acute and/or Immediate Distress. For couples who are experiencing acute & immediate distress, the initial goal is to reestablish stability in the home,  to work with nervous system regulation, and to rebuild mutual respect. In this circumstance I suggest accelerating the session frequency to weekly for 6 weeks, then commencing a second program of fortnightly sessions shortly afterwards.

After those 12 sessions over 4.5 months we would assess together whether it would be good to take a break from coaching to implement what you have learned, or to continue working together. This will depend on your unique circumstances and we will collaborate on these options.

HOW MUCH DOES RELATIONSHIP COACHING COST?

A 3 month program is $387 per month, for 3 months. So, $1161.

You can pay that however your pay cycle rolls (weekly, fortnightly, monthly).

That works out to be around one session per fortnight, but there is lots of flexibility to take that over a longer time to allow for the inevitabilities of life!

Again, see above re: sales fuckery.

DO YOU OFFER PAYMENT PLANS?

Absolutely.

I am committed to accessibility for everyone who wants to do relational work.

Longer-term, shame-free, no extra cost payment plans are available, no questions asked. If $387 per month is beyond your budget, we'll work something out!

Don't let money be the thing that holds you back.

WHY DO YOU HATE SALES FUCKERY?

  • Because noone should ever be shamed, tricked, bullied, manipulated, or coerced into believing you need fixing, and that relationship coaching will 'fix' you.
  • Because NO program will ever be the answer to you finding happiness, nor the answer to your yearning.
  • Because I no longer want to contribute to the noise.
  • Because I don't want to punish you for not having money.
  • Because money should not be a barrier to accessing support for your relationship.
  • Because Capitalism requires that some people hold wealth while others are oppressed, and that is not my jam.
So: Fuck Capitalism, and Fuck Sales. 

I'm actively working to communicate in a way that strikes a balance between generosity in education, gentle reminders, and supportive enquiry. I'm actively working to rewrite all my shit and take out the push, the nudge, the sell. It's hard (because capitalism) and also because that balance is different for each of you.

I’m inviting you now to help me to get that right, by replying to give me thoughtful feedback.

DO YOU DO RELATIONSHIP COACHING ONLINE, AND WORK WITH CLIENTS FROM INTERSTATE OR OVERSEAS?

Sure do!

Online relationship coaching is a life-saver for couples & individual clients. No need to travel, find baby sitters, or juggle busy calendars. I use Zoom.

It also means that we can work together regardless of your geographic location.

For my interstate and overseas clients, please be sure to select the right timezone when you book your sessions!

WHERE ARE YOU LOCATED?

I see clients face-to-face from my office in Toronto in the beautiful Lake Macquarie region, on the land of the Awabakal people.

Parking is easy, and we have a beautiful and private space that overlooks bush land to hold our sessions.

I acknowledge that this land on which I live & work belongs to the Aboriginal people known as the Awabakal. Sovereignty has never been ceded, they are the custodians of this land. I pay my deep respects to Elders past and present, and future.

WHO IS A GOOD FIT FOR RELATIONSHIP COACHING WITH YOU?

Let me position myself so you can be clearer on whether I am a good fit;

I am a white, married, middle-class, cis-hetero, able bodied, neuro diverse (ADHD) woman, living with chronic fatigue.

I invite people of all intersections who feel like my approach & style is a good fit for them. There are many couples therapists from many backgrounds with varied levels of expertise. I'm always happy to work with you to find the right fit for relationship coaching for you,  and make to referrals to other therapists - connecting you with support is the most important thing.

A good way to establish whether we are a good fit, is for us to have a chat on the phone. You will get a better sense of how I am, and have an opportunity to ask any questions. I will be able to get clear on whether your challenges fit with my skillset, and we can work out a plan to work together or I will refer you to someone I think is a better fit.

WHO'S NOT A GOOD FIT FOR RELATIONSHIP COACHING WITH YOU?

I am not a psychologist, counsellor, nor a trauma therapist.

If you are navigating issues including active untreated addiction, acute mental illness, or complex psychological issues, then I am not the best fit for you.

While relationship coaching will address the relational aspects of issues that arise from the above, individuals also require specific treatment with a therapist who has expertise in those areas.

AND it's important to note that the key indicators for longterm recovery or management of these issues are the quality of an individuals relationships. From this perspective couples therapy is a crucial part of addressing those issues.

Part of the purpose of our Meet & Greet is for me to get clear on what outcomes you are seeking, and whether that fits within the scope of my work in relationship coaching. If we decide that it doesn't, I will refer you to someone who does that work where possible.

Tara was able to provide us with some really usefully and tangible tools and info to work with. The outcomes for us were that we were able to really highlight the things that are important to us and put into perspective the trivial things.

Another point that was extremely useful was the different ways that we receive information and the way that we feel appreciated and loved which can be very different for each of us. I would recommend her services for couples at various times in there relationship especially for those that may have lost their way.

Steve Haran & Chris Mostyn*

Newcastle

Testimonial couple