Relationship Counselling in Auckland: A Complete Guide

Relationship Counselling in Auckland: The Complete Guide

All relationships go through hard times.

No matter how long you have been together problems will arise. Work pressure may mean that you spend less time with your partner. Your children may be taking all your time and energy. You and your partner may not be talking as much as you used to. Maybe you don’t talk at all.

It is important to realize that relationship problems don’t always fix themselves. You can’t always just hope for the best. Maybe you know that your relationship is struggling. Maybe anger, resentment, trust issues or communication problems are building up in your relationship. Maybe you know that without professional help your relationship is in serious trouble.

“​The decision to get relationship counselling is a brave one.”

The decision to get relationship counselling is a brave one. It is a decision that many couples benefit from. Some of these couples had little hope for their relationship. Some had even given up on their relationship-biding their time before choosing to separate.

I have written this article to help you choose a relationship counsellor in Auckland. If you are struggling in your relationship I urge you to give relationship counselling a try. Most couples have little to lose-except the endless arguments or constant distance that keeps them unhappy. And they have the world to gain-including finding the happiness and connection that they used to feel together.

Who Am I?

Alastair Duhs

My name is Alastair Duhs. I am a relationship counsellor based in Takapuna, Auckland.

For the last 17 years I have seen hundreds of couples who have been facing a wide variety of relationship issues. These include:

  • communication issues
  • a lack of intimacy in their relationship
  • loss of trust after an affair
  • issues of anger, abuse and violence
  • jealousy
  • work stress
  • and many more.

It is my belief that many of the skills for creating a happy, healthy and loving relationship are easy to learn. However many of us have not had this training. We may have been bought up by parents who constantly argued with each other. Or maybe our parents didn’t argue to all. As a result we may fear conflict-leading to other relationship issues.

Whatever issue couples are facing relationship counselling can help. I personally have seen hundreds of my clients completely transform their relationship. These couples have learned to:

  • communicate better
  • resolve conflict more effectively
  • manage issues of anger
  • regain trust and confidence in each other after an affair
  • increase their levels of intimacy and closeness
  • understand each other more-including learning about each other’s hopes, dreams, plans and goals for their lives


​Past Client

​Over the years, I believe that I have seen a total of 7-8 counsellors. Without any shred of exaggeration, my experience with Alastair was by far the best. He was extremely helpful and he really truly did change my situation at the time completely into a positive direction. I have recommended him to many people since. I will never forget what he did for me, and all I need to do is think about him and it renews my faith in people and that they can care and make a difference and things can change.


(Note: Click on the links below to go to the section that is most relevant to you).

​Can I Help?

​Questions? Need Help? Please contact me to find out anything more about Relationship Counselling in Auckland

What Is Relationship Counselling?

​Relationship counselling can mean many things. Churches, charities, private counsellors and even government departments all carry out relationship counselling. According to Wikipedia, relationship counselling is:

“The process of counselling the parties of a human relationship in an effort to recognize, and to better manage or reconcile, troublesome differences and repeating patterns of stress upon the relationship. The relationship involved may be between members of a family or a couple (see also family therapy), employees or employers in a workplace, or between a professional and a client.

In other words, relationship counselling is the process of helping two people in a relationship build a better relationship with each other.

What Happens in Relationship Counselling?

​Relationship counselling can be conducted in many ways. The following however is a typical description of most relationship counselling processes.

Most relationship counsellors start the first counselling session by asking each person what bought them to counselling (or a similar question). However even simple questions such as “What bought you here today?” or “How can I help you?” may not bring simple answers-as many couples are unhappy for years before coming to relationship counselling. It can be hard to summarize these years in a few simple sentences!

Once the counsellor has an understanding of the problems the couple are facing he or she will start to help the couple overcome these problems. This can be done in many ways, including:

  • encouraging each person to talk more about their issues in the relationship
  • helping each person understand their partners perspective
  • assisting the couple to develop better communication techniques
  • assisting the couple to move on from difficult events (such as one person having an affair)
  • assisting each person to speak about concerns, thoughts or worries they have not shared with their partner
  • teaching basic relationship skills (including communication exercises or anger management techniques)
  • helping the couple to develop closeness and intimacy
  • helping the couple to develop a shared vision of their relationship together

​Some of these discussions can be difficult for the couple to have. It is the role of the relationship counsellor to keep these discussions productive and to make sure both partners are fully heard. By talking together in deep and powerful ways the couple can heal wounds from the past and create a happy, healthy and more loving relationship.

​​How Do I Know If I Need Relationship Counselling?

Many couples wait years before addressing important relationship problems. By this time the problem has become complex-often affecting every part of the couples life. Couples who seek relationship counselling early are usually able to resolve relationship issues far more quickly than couples who have waited months or years to seek help.

Every relationship has specific areas that relationship counselling will help. Some common signs that a couple would benefit from relationship counselling include:

  • ​you are talking to your partner far less than normal
  • most of the conversation between you and your partner is negative
  • your partner gets angry when you mention things you dislike
  • your partner no longer feels like a friend to you
  • you touch your partner less
  • your sex-life is dissatisfying or non-existent
  • you (or your partner) are contemplating having an affair
  • you (or your partner) has actually had an affair
  • you are being financially unfaithful to your partner-hiding money or not telling him or her about significant spending
  • you and your partner prefer to spend time away from each other-rather than together
  • you argue a lot with your partner
Top 10 Signs You Need Relationship Counselling

​Do People Do Relationship Counselling Individually Or Together?

​Couples usually attend relationship counselling together. This ensures that both partners are able to speak and listen to their partner directly. They are also able to work together to improve their relationship.

At times a relationship counsellor may decide it is best to see couples individually. Some counsellors do this on the first relationship counselling session. Individual sessions allow each person to speak about their relationship without judgment or response from the other partner. These sessions also help the counsellor assess if there are other issues (such as alcohol or drug addictions, domestic violence or mental health issues) that may make relationship counselling unsuitable.

Other times issues a person may raise issues in relationship counselling that are more suitable to address individually. This may include situations where one person has anger management issues or the need to address childhood abuse or trauma.

Where Do I Find a Good Relationship Counsellor in Auckland?

There are many highly skilled and qualified relationship counsellors practicing throughout Auckland. Below is a list of some of them-arranged by geography. If you would like further details about any of these counsellors or a recommendation of which counsellor may suit you, please contact me.

North Shore, Auckland

Relationship Expert is a relationship counselling practice based in Takapuna, Auckland-run by myself. I specialise in helping couples create happy, healthy and loving relationships. In addition to providing relationship counselling I have had over 20 years experience running anger management programmes and can help couples resolve issue of anger, abuse or violence extremely rapidly.

To find out more about visit my website or phone me on 021 137 0228.

Shore Therapy is a psychotherapy and counselling practice based in Browns Bay, Auckland. Shore Therapy offers individual and couples counselling and offers a choice of three counsellors, psychotherapists or psychologists to see.

To find out more about Shore Therapy visit their website or phone (09) 478 9223.

Central Auckland

Relate Counselling is a specialist marriage and relationship counselling practice based in Ponsonby, Auckland. They offer a range of services for couples including communication coaching, new relationship coaching and sex and intimacy coaching.

To find out more about Relate Counselling visit their website or phone 027 4101 102.

Suzi Wallis is a counsellor and family therapist located in Ellerslie, Auckland. She offers a range of services for couples, including generalised couple and marriage counselling as well as divorce and separation coaching.

To find out more about Suzi Wallis visit her website or phone 021 870 576.

Suzi Wallis is a counsellor and family therapist located in Ellerslie, Auckland. She offers a range of services for couples, including generalised couple and marriage counselling as well as divorce and separation coaching.

To find out more about Suzi Wallis visit her website or phone 021 870 576.

​West Auckland

​Mary Farrell is a psychotherapist and counsellor who has offices in Mt Eden and Titirangi. Mary has had over 25 years experience in relationship and couples counselling and specialises in helping partners communicate honestly and openly, understand each other fully and resolve conflict.

To find out more about Mary Farrell visit her website or phone (09) 817 4878.

Angelika Schuster a psychotherapist and counsellor who has offices in Henderson and Devonport. Angelika provides a range of services including couples counselling and seeks to walk alongside couples to assist them to face the challenges their lives present. This enables couples to feel more in control, have more satisfying relationships and lead a more fulfilling life.

To find out more about Angelika Schuster visit her website or phone 021 129 6372.

​East Auckland

​Howick Counselling Services is a group practice consisting of 8 counsellors and psychotherapists. They provide a range of services, including couples counselling. Their mission is to enhance the quality of life of people by providing a range of professional counselling services in a supportive and caring environment.

To find out more about Howick Counselling Services visit their website or phone (09) 533 4453.

Caroline Williams is an experienced counsellor located in Howick, Auckland. Caroline provides a range of services to couples, including assisting them to create more connection and understanding in their current relationships or start intimate relationships without ‘baggage”.

To find out more about Caroline Williams visit her website or phone 021 070 6343.

​South Auckland

​South City Counselling is a counselling practice run by William Garden and located in Takanini, Auckland. William provides a range of services to clients, including relationship counselling and assists couples to work together to resolve their issues in the most efficient and effective manner.

To find out more about South City Counselling visit William’s website or phone 027 450 0488.

​Claire Thompson is a counsellor and mediator with offices in Howick, Takanini, Waiuku, Pukekohe and Auckland City. Claire provides a range of services to clients, including helping couples to get the communication and vitality flowing again. She also helps prepare couples for upcoming relationship commitments to ensure they start their relationship on a good footing.

To find out more about Claire Thompson visit her website or phone 021 430 440.

​Can I Help?

​Questions? Need Help? Please contact me to find out anything more about Relationship Counselling in Auckland

Does Relationship Counselling Work?

In general relationship counselling is very effective in helping couples improve their relationships.

As an example of this, research conducted by the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists found that:

  • ​98% of couples who attended couples therapy sessions said that they received good or excellent couples therapy
  • 97% of these couples said they got the help they needed, and
  • 93% said they had more effective tools for dealing with their problems.

​These results are consistent with my experience. Almost all couples that I see improve how they relate to each other-including learning to listen to each other better, understanding each other more and reducing the number of arguments that they have.

​​​What Issues Does Relationship Counselling Help With?

​Relationship counselling can help couples with a wide range of issues. These include:

  • ​reducing arguments in a relationship
  • improving communication between couples
  • developing greater closeness between couples
  • assisting couples to boost their sex life
  • helping couples move on after an affair
  • dealing with parenting differences
  • learning basic anger management issues
  • working out shared directions and goals for a relationship
  • and many more issues.

How Long Does Relationship Counselling Take?

Relationship counselling can take as little as one session-or many sessions that are spend over many years.

The actual length of relationship counselling is determined by many factors, such as:

  • how committed both partners are to counselling
  • what issues the couple is facing
  • how deeply the couple want to work with these issues
  • the skill (and therapeutic orientation) of the therapist
  • the level of insight and motivation of both partners

​As an indication, most couples I see experience significant improvements in their relationship in 3-5 sessions. After these sessions some couples decide that they have addressed the main issue that they came to see me for.

Other couples choose to continue counselling after 3-5 sessions. These are generally the couples who are committed to creating a better relationship with each other. Some continue to see me for many months or years.

Regardless of the final length of time couples see me for, almost all couples I see experience significant improvements in their relationship in less than 8 sessions.

​What Are The Best Books On Building A Good Relationship?

There are many very good books on how to build a good relationship. The top two books that I recommend to clients are:

5 Love Languages

The 5 Love Languages-The Secret to Love that Lasts (Gary Chapman)

This is a classic book that describes a simple, but powerful idea. We all experience love in different ways. In this book Gary Chapman describes these 5 ways (spending quality time with your partner, receiving words of encouragement, receiving gifts, receiving acts of service, and physical touch). Many of my clients have used this idea to powerfully transform their relationship.

why marriages succeed or fail

Why Marriages Succeed or Fail: And How You Can Make Yours Last (John Gottman)

John Gottman is one of the best known relationship counsellors in the world. Why Marriages Succeed or Fail is a book full of practical tips for how to create a better relationship-including not avoiding arguments and why more sex does not necessarily improve relationships. As with “The 5 Love Languages” many of my clients have used this book to improve their relationship.

The following 2 lists also contain many books that will help you build a happy, healthy and loving relationship:

​How Much Does Relationship Counselling Cost?

​Relationship counselling across Auckland can cost anything from $100 to $300 an hour.

In general there is little correlation between the cost of relationship counselling and its effectiveness. It is best to choose an experienced relationship counsellor that you relate to and think will be able to help you.

What Happens If My Partner Does Not Want To Come To Relationship Counselling?

If your partner does not want to come to counselling there are still some good options for you to consider. For example, you can:

  • choose to seek relationship counselling by yourself. This can help you work on behaviour that you want to change in your relationship (such as dealing with anger or developing ways to respond to your partner differently). You may also want to assess if your relationship is right for you.
  • talk to your partner about your relationship away from a counsellor. While this is often not as effective as attending relationship counselling you may be able to make progress in your relationship without professional help. Some couples I have seen for instance, make regular coffee dates with each other to discuss their relationship.
  • try other methods to improve your relationship. This may include trying new activities together or changing habits and routines (such as watching less television or playng fewer computer games!) that may be limiting the relationship.

​While the above options are good, relationship counselling is often the fastest way to achieve meaningful improvement in a relationship.

​How Do I Choose The Best Relationship Counsellor For Me?

As discussed, there are many good relationship counsellors in Auckland.

However when choosing the right relationship counsellor for you it is useful to keep some of the following factors in mind:

  • it is usually best if your relationship counsellor is a specialist relationship counsellor. Many counsellors in Auckland counsel people with a wide range of issues. Relationship counselling is one of the many services that they offer. In my opinion these counsellors are unlikely to be as effective in providing relationship counselling as specialist relationship counsellors
  • make sure you feel understood and respected by your relationship counsellor. For example, I offer a free 15-minute phone consultation with potential clients to ensure that they feel comfortable with me before we begin counselling together
  • your relationship counsellor should be optimistic and positive about the chance of your relationship succeeding. If he or she is not optimistic about your relationship, it makes it harder for you to be
    choose a counsellor that you relate to. In general the best way to assess this is through the counsellors website. Does he or she look like a person you would get on with? Does he or she have interests in common? Does the counsellor seem approachable and friendly?

​If you would like help choosing a relationship counsellor based in Auckland then please contact me. I will try to recommend the relationship counsellor that I think will be the best match for you.

Alastair Duhs

​​Alastair Duhs is a specialist relationship counsellor who has had almost twenty years experience helping couples create happier, healthier and more loving relationships. For any questions or enquiries please contact Alastair on 021 137 0228 or via

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