Relationship Counselling Online or in Auckland

Relationship Counselling Therapy was set up in Auckland to help couples and individuals give and receive more love. Couples come to relationship counselling at various stages of their relationship. Some are just beginning and are highly satisfied, they want preventative pre-marriage counselling, yet others are highly distressed and are considering separation. Whatever stage you are at, a third party trained professional, can help you navigate your way to a happier, healthier relationship.

Some individuals come needing in-depth psychotherapy to work through long-standing or historical wounds whilst others want a “tell us what to do” behavioural coaching style of counselling.  I have trained in a variety of relationship counselling approaches and techniques. Relationship counselling involves both psych educational content and individual 1:1 therapy. I currently specialise in Intensive Imago and Gottman Method Marathon Couples Therapy. This involves an assessment phase, therapy phase, and maintenance phase. In marathon therapy sessions, couples typically engage in intensive therapy over an extended period, often a  3.5 hours over 1-5 days. For those unable to engage in intensive therapy, online weekly sessions may be an alternative option.


Hi, I’m Margo Relationship Counsellor in Auckland

I specialise in Couples Therapy and EMDR intensives based online or in Auckland. Intensives are longer sessions – usually 3.5 hours lasting 1-3 days – in Couples Counselling or EMDR. To book an initial free consultation to find out what suits you best, text Margo directly on 021-0322563. Please note in-person sessions are only available in an intensive format (minimum 3 hour + session) in Ponsonby, Auckland. Intensives can be alot more productive than 1 hour individual sessions. If you would like to know more before booking, send Margo a text on 021-0322563 and she can talk through more details. Please call us for pricing and availability:  Pricing & Availability Info Click Here

Why Margo? I am specialised Relationship Counsellor and so spend the majority of my time practicing couples therapy, speaking, or researching relationships and areas that frequently affect relationships. I am a Certified Imago Relationship Therapist (IRT), Gottman L1, L2, and L3 trained Therapist, Member of EMDRNZ, and Full Member of New Zealand Association of Counsellors (MNZAC). My eclectic approach to therapy is influenced by psychodynamic, schema, differentiation, and attachment theories. I am committed to ongoing specialist training in EMDR, relationship therapy,  anxiety, stress, depression, and sexual dysfunction. I have trained with world-renowned teachers specialised in their chosen field and worked in international world-leading residential treatment centres, assisted facilitating relationship workshops, intensives and retreats and run corporate programmes. I have appeared on national radio and tv such as The Project, The Am Show, Magic Talk, Seven Sharp, Radio Active, and ZM Radio. Find out more about Relationship Counselling Therapy by looking at some media appearances here:

Videos of Margo Speaking

Relationship Counselling Auckland

When should you see a Relationship Counsellor?

Research by John Gottman tells us that couples wait on average 6 years before seeking help for relationship problems. Couples are often at crisis point. Indications that you should consider seeing a relationship counsellor in Auckland are:

  • You are not enjoying your partner’s company
  • You are bickering non-stop about stupid things
  • Rows quickly escalate
  • You don’t feel like you get the crux of the problem
  • Conversations are surface level only
  • You’re both feeling isolated and lonely
  • You’re telling your dog/children/friend negative things about your relationship/partner
  • You are leading separate lives
  • Certain topics are off limits like sex/money/in-laws/the ex
  • One person is sleeping in the spare room/sofa/garage
  • You do not have fun with your partner anymore
  • You do not feel satisfied in your relationship
  • You have thoughts about having an affair/leaving your relationship
  • You do not feel you and your partner are a team
  • You don’t feel you can confide in your partner about anything
  • You don’t feel a strong connection with your partner
  • You feel lonely in your relationship
  • You wonder if you would be happier single


Research indicates that relationship distress and dissolution cause considerable distress and has been linked with psychological disorders. Children in households with high conflict can struggle with infant development to adolescent social adjustment. In contrast, people in happy, satisfying relationships determines life satisfaction for adults.

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Why Online Relationship Counselling?

  • Effectiveness – Research shows online counselling can be just as effective as in person counselling
  • Anonymity – removes fears regarding someone seeing you enter a counselling office or in a communal waiting area
  • Safety – less risk of getting sick in current climate
  • Convenient & Saves time- no trying to find a park, the office and no need to travel to another city for specialised couples counselling

What can Relationship Counselling help with?

  • Enjoy hanging out with your partner again
  • Calmly discuss tricky topics (like money, kids, in-laws, house renovations)
  • Laugh together again
  • Overcome sleep divorce
  • Do loving gestures for each other again
  • Learn skills to listen attentively and understand your partner better
  • Share your thoughts/feelings/desires in ways your partner can hear
  • Skills to avoid blaming your partner when things go poorly
  • Overcome fears of emotional vulnerability
  • Express your desires/wants/needs to your partner without attachment to outcomes
  • Understanding when your partners needs/desires/wants may be different to yours
  • Learn appreciation tools
  • Tools to repair after an argument
  • Letting go of resentments and bitterness
  • Feel love when you think about your partner
  • Better quality of relationship overall
  • Better sex and better communication when it comes to sexual issues

What are the issues Relationship Counselling can help with?

Relationship Marriage Counselling Conflict or lack of communication? Wanting more connection? Seem to be having the same argument over how we parent the kids? how much involvement the in-laws have? finding working together in business stressful? Affairs/Infidelity Lack of trust? Can’t get distressing thought out of your mind? Want to repair your relationship? Relationship Separation Experiencing depression/emotional distress/anger/grief/feeling withdrawn? The emotional pain of a separation hurts. Substance or behavioural consumption is a topic that frequently impacts relationships. This may be excess drinking or it may be excess libido. I have worked with both individuals overcoming their compulsions and repairing a relationship. Sexual Therapy topics are also frequently talked about in my relationship counselling sessions. Common issues are: Female sexual concerns This can be low libido, orgasmic disorders, pain during intercourse, vaginismus, and dyspareunia. Male sexual concerns This can include impotence, erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation, delayed ejaculation, and pain. Sexual enhancement Some couples already have great communication, handle conflict really well and would like to explore and expand their sexual connection. Topics can include increasing physical intimacy, enjoying intimacy more, tantra, or kink. All sessions are always kink and LGBTIQ+ friendly. I also work with general counselling issues such as depression, anxiety, or anger management. Frequently, the individual themselves may not recognise the symptoms but your loved one may. If you are resonating with the following symptoms, please talk with your GP who can diagnose. Depression Symptoms may include lack of energy/motivation/direction/feeling hopeless/tired/loss of libido. It is not uncommon for a partner of a loved one to recognise symptoms but not know how to communicate in their relationship. Relationship counselling can help facilitate communication about any mental health issue impacting your relationship or marriage. Anxiety Symptoms may include panic attacks, fear, worry, nervousness, can’t relax? lace of self-esteem? I am frequently work with relationship based anxiety. Anger Management Feeling a lack of control over emotions? increased stress? damaged relationships?

How long are Relationship Counselling sessions?

A Relationship Counselling session in Auckland, (in-person) is a minimum 3.5 hour session. Longer sessions are often necessary to go deeper and resolve problems faster.  Relationship counselling in-person retreats in Auckland can help you to fast-track therapy. It is 3.5 hours of therapy over one day and can be book using the following link Auckland Relationship in-person Retreat. Other couples prefer to spread therapy out over a number of weeks.

If your issues have been on-going for a number of years, or there has been a betrayal of trust, or there is previous attachment trauma, then expect to do more sessions. However, you should expect to learn more about yourself, your partner or your relationship dynamic in each session.

As with all therapy, there may be times when you access unpleasant emotions. Feeling bad after therapy can actually be a sign of progress. Even getting to the point where you admit you have problems that you haven’t been able to fix yourself can be painful.  In therapy, we access positive feelings, as well as tapping into unpleasant feelings. There may be an initial feeling of relief of having someone to talk to, but it may take a number of weeks to overcome your problem, which may have taken years to install. There might be new revelations that you may have not been prepared for in therapy. Relationship counselling is designed to help you process and manage uncomfortable feelings.

What is my approach to Relationship Counselling? 

Gottman Relationship Therapy is an approach developed by psychological researchers John and Julie Gottman that helps couples identify negative communication patterns in relationships. One well-known model they have developed is “Four Horsemen”. It highlights communication breakdown resulting from criticism, defensiveness, stonewalling and contempt in relationships as predictors of separation.

Imago Relationship Therapy is counselling designed for couples to help you have kind, loving conversations. After years of feelings criticised or not good enough for your partner, communication can become heated very quickly and escalate to saying things that you did not mean. Imago Relationship Therapy is focused on identifying your emotional triggers, taking responsibility for those and communicating your distress in a way that can be heard. In communication, there is a distinct listener and a speaker. The speaker is coached to talk from a place of their feelings and needs. There is no judgement or shaming. The listener is coached to remain calm and develop active reflective listening skills.  Imago Relationship Therapy works well with client centred Rogerian Counselling core conditions of unconditional positive regard, non-judgement, and empathy. When I work with couples, I am always asking, are these core conditions present between you both?

John Bowlby was an English development psychologist and psychiatrist that discovered attachment theory by studying the distress caused by infants separated from their parents. He suggests that we are born with a need to form attachments with others to survive. Attachment styles include secure, ambivalent-secure, avoidant-insecure and disorganized insecure attachments. Cindy Hazan and Phillip Shaver develop this study by looking at a number of couples and examining the nature of the attachments between them. Sue Johnson, a British clinical psychologist, developed Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) which uses attachment science as a model to make sense of interactions between a couple.

What happens in relationship counselling Session? 

In the first Relationship Counselling session, we look at what was going on in your life or your relationship that led you to want to do some work on it. It could be anything from not feeling supported during a bereavement, miscarriage, betrayal of trust, different styles in parenting, conflict with in-laws, how you manage finances, trauma, compulsions, anxiety or work pressure. I am interested in knowing what sought you to seek therapy and why come for therapy now? I am also interested in whether you have ever done therapy before. You may have an approach to therapy and already have a number of resources that work well for you.

You have probably tried to fix the relationship/communication/conflict issues/differences in libido issues yourselves, but it has worked. You’ve talked to your mates, your mom, your sister, read some books but it’s still the same.  You’ve tried talking to your partner and it might have worked for a day or two and then it goes right back to where it was before.

Some couples come wanting to “have more sex”. For the majority of couples, sex is not good because the relationship is not good. Often due to resentments and breakdown in communication. Sex has become the elephant in the room. A popular myth is “if we are having regular sex, then our relationship is sweet as”.

Other couples come because work-life values/priorities are out of whack. The kids or work or your sick mother is all consuming and you can’t find time for yourself or your partner. Let alone go to relationship counselling in Auckland. But you figure it would be even worse if your partner left so it’s worth the gamble to see if the relationship counsellor can actually do anything to help you.

Some couples come because there has been a breach of trust in the relationship. This can be financial betrayal, such as hiding debt/gambling/drinking problems from your spouse, not standing up for your partner with regards to in-laws, emotional or physical affairs. Yes, emotional affairs are a thing. Emotional affairs often start as platonic friendships, which can develop into something more over time. Signs of emotional affairs would be frequent contact all hours of the day and night, not wanting your partner to see those text/Facebook messages, excluding your partner from events where that person would be present, constant thoughts about that person, sharing with that person and not your spouse, inappropriate sharing such as discussing personal problems in your current relationship, comparing your partner to this person, finding excuses to be with that person, lying or keeping secrets from your partner about meeting this person. Lies to avoid conflict are toxic. If you would feel uncomfortable with your partner in the room while you have a conversation with the other person, or uncomfortable with your partner viewing all of your messages, then it is likely to be a topic for discussion.

All too frequently couples come to counselling because it is a last ditch attempt to save their relationship. They want to ensure they gave it all, for the sake of the kids.  If there is an on-going affair, then relationship counselling may not be suitable for you. The earlier you seek relationship counselling the better, but that does not mean it’s too late, especially if you are both committed to taking responsibility for your part in the problems and are willing to give counselling 100%.  Even if you were to separate, then you have communication skills and have “done the work” to ensure you can remain friends and co-parent well together. Relationship counselling is not about finding fault with one person only.

How is relationship counselling different to individual counselling?

Relationship counselling is different to individual therapy as the focus in relationship counselling is on how two individuals interact rather than individuals issues. Relationship counselling can work in tandem with individual counselling however for some issues, it is important that an individual also sees their own counsellor. This is to ensure that there is no bias towards any one individual. As a Relationship Counsellor, my client is the relationship, not any one individual. Often, relationship counsellors will not treat an individual separately. It is imperative that the counsellor gives both individuals equal time, attention, empathy, understanding and unconditional positive regard.

It is not uncommon that one person in the coupleship will initiate counselling and the other person will need to be coerced or given an ultimatum into attending a counselling session. Sad face.  Research has shown that a relationship is often in trouble for long period of time before professional therapy is sought. Frequently, once couples attend the first counselling session, relief is often immediate. In the first session, individuals learn invaluable communication skills that not only benefit them in the coupledom but also within their working life, friends and family situations.

In conjoint relationship counselling therapy, the patterns of interaction can be much easier to see. Through psycho-education and self-reflection, each partner can identify with their coping strategies. This brings couples much closer and healing can happen at a much faster rate than individual therapy.

Will individual counselling build a better relationship with my partner?

Research has shown that individual counselling rather than couples relationship counselling (for a communication/connection/conflict issue) can make the situation worse and even result in divorce. In couples therapy, when each partner is emotionally honest it creates the foundation for intimacy and conflict repairs. Relationship and Couples counsellors are skilled in helping people find the right words to talk about difficult problems.

Gottman relationship counselling is a form of couples therapy whose counselling interventions are based on CBT interventions. Couples learn to recognise their negative conflict patterns and introduce positive, open, honest communication and by doing so, increase respect, intimacy, and affection.

Imago relationship therapy is a form of couples relationship counselling that is based on communication dialogues between the couple. Imago relationship therapy has a more psychotherapeutic emphasis than Gottman relationship therapy as it often explores acknowledging how childhood triggers affect current day to day behavior.


What are the benefits of Relationship Counselling Intensives in Auckland?

Intensives are exclusive Relationship workshop sessions for one couple only that are in need of immediate one-on-one consultation and would like to fast-track therapy. It is designed for couples that would like to work through their problems faster and gain guidance, recommendations, insights, and  knowledge on their specific relationship dynamics. Rather than waiting 7 days for your next counselling appointment, or both of you trying to find a day that suits for everyone, you simply allocate a dedicated  block of time to your relationship. This format is designed to help you fast-track your relationship counselling journey. Unlike group workshops, your private details are not shared with other participants, and information is tailored to your unique situation and needs. Information is often focused on how to understand conflict dynamics in your relationship, how to communicate better, how to create connection, and helpful guidance for how to repair after a betrayal of long ago. While counselling intensives can offer significant benefits in specific circumstances, they should be seen as an addition or complement to requirements for ongoing mental health therapy.

A full or half day intensive therapy session may be scheduled as follows:

9am-12.30pm Session


1.30pm-5pm Session

If you are ready to book in: Click Here 

It is important to note that intensives may bring issues up the surface quickly. This work will however give you a better chance of getting to the heart of the matter in complex issues or crisis to go to deeper levels more safely, or identifying issues that may benefit for work with a separate personal specialist therapist. It often takes months or even years to bring yourself into a therapist’s office. If you have never been to therapy before, it might be difficult at first to access feelings, emotions and communicate. In couples therapy, there is often psychoeducation around conflict patterns and ways to speak in non-shaming, non-blaming ways. Follow up sessions are then recommended to reflect on therapeutic insights, understandings, and any behavioural changes with Margo or with your own therapist.

Rather than doing 1 hour per week for 4 weeks, spreading counselling over one month, intensive counselling combines information in one day.  In traditional counselling, time is spent “orientating” to the session, “how has your week been” ,“how are you feeling today” and getting clear on the focus of the next hour. There is also a time period spent at the end of the sessions doing “grounding” or “reorientation” back to civilian life and trying to find dates that match all of us (including the babysitter) for our next appointment. With intensives, a lot of this time is eliminated. People don’t’ usually get emotionally vulnerable quickly. These sessions are usually held on a Thursday, Friday or Saturday, which means you do not need to go back to the office with puffy eyes or into a boardroom situation still processing anything that has come up in our therapy sessions. It is recommended that you do schedule some rest time or a self-care activity like a walk, a bath, kid free time, or massage after your intensive session to help integrate and process what has come up.

There is mounting evidence to suggest that intensive EMDR is beneficial Intensive EMDR   There are also studies that show intensive CBT (I-CBT) is beneficial.

With increased time, you both get to explore what’s it like for you in relationship with your partner. If you have been holding a lot in for many months or years, or if this is your first time in counselling, it may take time to get in touch with feelings. Let alone communicating those feelings to someone you have just met OR the person whom you most fear criticism from – your partner. Frequently, trauma presents itself in the relationship counselling room. This may be from trauma related to “coming out”, miscarriages, resentments held with regard to decisions about have children,  differences in parenting styles, historical sexual abuse, substance abuse, previous affairs or times in which you felt your partner didn’t have your back (e.g. with laws). These topics are not something that can be resolved in one hour. Being realistic, resolving issues that have been on-going for years are unlikely to be resolved in one day. However, you will gain tools to identify the issue, learn helpful trauma techniques, communicate better,  and it can be a fast track to finding restitution.

Benefits of private intensive relationship counselling retreats 

Well-meaning loved ones or relationship educational workshops/books/online programs may be a nice additional resource, but they cannot replace 1:1 counselling. Relationship Counsellors are trained in specific relationship counselling therapies such as Imago Relationship Therapy or Gottman Relationship Therapy.  With Relationship Therapy intensives, you have one counsellor that is focused on your specific issues. Nothing can replace working 1:1 with a counsellor. Without 1:1 counselling, issues can quickly escalate into blaming and shaming, causing one partner to shut down and feel resentful.

Exiting the relationship does not necessarily equate to physically leaving. It could be untreated compulsions, affairs, compulsive pornography use or threatening to leave. John Gottman talks in depth about betrayal. Betrayal, in romantic relationships, comes in different disguises, from conditional commitment, a nonsexual affair, lying, forming a coalition against the partner, absenteeism or coldness, withdrawal of sexual interest, disrespect, unfairness, selfishness, breaking promises to sexual infidelity (Gottman & Silver, 2012).

However, it is difficult for relationship workshops to give sufficient attention to 1:1 issues. If you are reading this page, it is likely that your relationship needs customised 1:1 attention. Some couples don’t feel comfortable having their issues made public.

Relationship workshops often do not work with specific sexual intimacy issues such as differences in libido/sexual desire. Too many couples are living in an “invisible divorce”: a situation where you are emotionally or socially disconnected without officially ending your marriage. This might involve living separate lives while still legally married.


What if my partner won’t come to Relationship Counselling?

Let’s be honest. It is hard to expose your inner most vulnerabilities to a complete stranger that you just met. Your partner might fear an avalanche of everything they did wrong for the past 10 years. They might be afraid that telling the truth might hurt you and make a bad situation worse. More often than not, having both of you in the room at the same time is much more beneficial than doing individual relationship counselling. You both get a chance to tell your side of the story. You both have patterns and dynamics that you fall into. Understanding your own emotional triggers and resulting actions, as well as your partners provides more insight and understanding. It is difficult to change what you are not consciously aware of. If you are having communicating or conflict problems in your relationship, then having your partner present will help you to work through the situations much faster.

We live in a culture that promotes sexualisation of intimacy rather than nonsexual intimacy and sensuality, expressing pride rather than experiencing shame, being stoic over expressing feelings, being self-reliant rather than seeking help, denying pain rather than confronting it (and toxic positivity), feigning omniscience rather than admitting ignorance, acting invincible rather than vulnerable and avoiding conflict rather than addressing relationship conflict. This stuff is not easy. I get it. In counselling, the “false mask” that is presented to the world is taken off. Trained, registered rogerian counsellors should have unconditional positive regard, empathy, and non-judgement attitude towards you, your partner, and your relationship.

What are common Relationship Issues seen by a Therapist? /What are the areas people have the most problems with?

Communication. Intimacy. Power sharing. Unfulfilled expectations. Hidden dreams. One issue I frequently work with is differences in physical affection. We all have different needs for touch. During childhood, we know that parental touch is pivotal for socio-emotional development and impacts brain function.  Touch can be embracing, hugging, or kissing (Sorokowska et al., 2021).


What are the main benefits of relationship counselling?

Relationship counselling is hugely beneficial to any relationship. We spend years in formal education, learning C++, Java, Economics, English literature yet never learn interpersonal skills. We know that communication skills are hugely important in the workplace.  Workplaces are learning the value of communication (Costa & Anderson, 2011). Trust and trustworthiness impact cooperation and monitoring between team members. What is intrapersonal (between yourself) and what is interpersonal (with others) is controversial between counsellors. Some counsellors say you should do individual therapy whereas other counsellors recommend both doing counselling together.

Relationship counselling helps couples to communicate better, increase their bond, talk about physical intimacy and emotional intimacy. This results in regaining trust, letting go of resentments, navigating difficult conversations better. Humans have a need for affection.


How is Relationship Counselling Different to Regular Counselling?

Something I often get asked is “Can I come without my partner? Will it work? Should I do individual therapy vs relationship therapy with my partner? In my experience, unless one partner is struggling with active compulsions, mental health, or anger issues, it is better to come as a couple. As a Relationship Therapist, I am interested in how you both interact with each other. There is often an unconscious tango of chase and withdraw that happens between two people. It is difficult to change what you are not consciously aware of. Once you become consciously aware of unhealthy patterns of interacting, then you can change those patterns. Having two people on board the same train, going to the same destination, is likely to mean you get there faster and the journey is soother and more enjoyable.

Wounding has often happened in relationship and it can be healed in relationship. If both partners are willing to take responsibility for working on becoming securely attached, gaining tools to self-regulate, to become attuned and attentive to each other’s needs, then it can go a long way to creating a healthy, secure, loving relationship.

What if my partner does not want to go to Relationship Counselling?

If you are the person reading this then I assume that you are seeking therapy. Your partner may not be as eager to come and talk to a therapist about their innermost thoughts and feelings. In fact, they may go to all measures to avoid therapy. It’s a tough one. Some partners coerced into counselling have a pre-framed cognitive bias that “this won’t work” or “we can sort it out ourselves”. There is fear of the unknown. Your partner may fear they will be blamed for your problems, they may feel a failure for not being able to fix them. You can reassure your partner that you will take responsibility for your part in the tango and it’s not about finger-pointing and blaming. Talk about your hopes and vision for your relationship. The chances are, you partner wants a healthy, loving, connected, affectionate relationship also.

Your partner might be afraid that you will “drag up the past” or “make things worse”. Therapy can temporarily make things uncomfortable as you both realise the extent of the problems in the relationship. But it’s important to get alignment on goals, define the project scope, prioritise order of goals and define deliverables. We cannot do this without talking about the problem in a calm, loving state.

Despite all the media hype about de-stigmatizing mental health, I think we have a long way to go. They may feel on the back foot talking about emotions and lose face showing vulnerability or fear what others may think of them or fear not being good enough.  When it comes to talking about feelings with a complete stranger, a trip to the dentist may seem much more appealing.

What happens in a first session at Relationship Counselling Auckland?

We might look at what bought you together in the first place. The first session is an opportunity for use to create a treatment plan. We will talk about what was going on in your life at time you booked the session.  If there is active domestic violence or compulsions, then we may need to refer to another service provider and do individual work.  I will typically get a background on your relationship, asking where you first met, what the journey of your relationship has been like. Any external stressors that might currently be impacting your relationship such as deaths, trauma, financial difficulties, work stress, compulsions, in-law issues, immigration, differences in religions/values, wanting/not wanting children, IVF/infertility struggles/anxiety/depression/difficulties with children/ sexual and or emotional affairs. I want to get an idea for how you typically do conflict and how you communicate with each other.


Some clients don’t want to “drag up the past” and don’t see the benefit in in exploring their family or relationship history. No doubt you have tried the “let’s just focus on the here and now approach” or the “let’s just focus on the positive” but it’s just not working. Core Schema Therapy for Couples looks at unhealthy patterns in relationship that some people develop. This core schemas can result in fear of intimacy, fear of failure, fear of rejection, fear of abandonment. When we enter into a relationship with another person, these fears can become triggered resulting in us shutting down, avoiding connection, withdrawing from emotional intimacy, or self-soothing behaviours such as drinking or eating or working to excess. Or it can result in overcompensating controlling coping behaviours. Or it can result in ignoring your own needs and putting your partners needs ahead of your own. As a result, you can lose a sense of your own identity. Negative emotions can build up over time resulting in resentments. Resentments are complex negative emotions combining anger, disappointment, bitterness, and other hard feelings.

Once someone realises they are holding onto resentments, the most common question I get asked is How do I let go of resentments? This is complex answer and depends on your unique situations. Was resentment caused by your partner not being available when your baby was born? Is it because of an affair? Is it because you had to give up your job to support your partners career advancement? Is it because you feel like you are never heard in the relationship? Is it because you feel there is an imbalance in the household chores? Has there been years of vicious, repetitive arguments?

Our first session together is an opportunity to explore what issues are impacting your relationship and how best to proceed.


What should you look for in a Relationship Counsellor?

Relationship Counsellors have specialised training and an active, up-to-date current member of a specialist organisation such as Imago Relationship. Therapy, in addition to full membership of a national counselling/psychotherapy/psychology institution. Relationship Counsellors are required to have professional ongoing annual training. It is important both you and your partner choose a counsellor that you feel comfortable talking with. Sensitive topics to discuss might include sex therapy topics substance abuse, anxiety, trauma or any other issues you are facing. Margo has specific training and experience in each of these areas.

Who is Relationship Counselling not suitable for?

Relationship Counselling may not be suitable for you if one person has already decided to leave the relationship.  And not suitable if one person has an on-going affair, which they are not willing to stop.

What is discernment relationship counselling?

Discernment relationship counselling is an approach to relationship counselling that was developed by Bill Doherty. It is designed for couples that are unsure about whether they want to continue in the relationship or separate. With “mixed agenda” couples, one person wants the relationship to continue and the other wants to break-up. When two people have different agendas, a relationship counsellor can talk with both partners about their desires for the relationship and what they see as contributing problems in the relationship.

Sometimes, this type of counselling is not about trying to fix relationship issues as one person has likely already made up their mind to leave. As a relationship counsellor, this can add complexity to our work. Especially if one person is only coming to Relationship Counselling with an agenda to help the other person accept their decision. And transfer duty of care to the counsellor.

When there is a mutual agreement to “consciously uncouple”, Relationship Counselling can help you to finding meaning in the relationship, uncover unconscious patterns so they don’t repeat and eventually help you to transition to a new type of relationship. It can help facilitate conversations so that you can talk parenting plans and maybe even get to a place where you can feel happy for each other.

There has been an affair in our relationship. Do you work with this?

Affairs/infidelity is a common issue that many relationship counsellors work with. There are many different types of affairs.  They range from one nightstand, sexual/love compulsions, emotional affairs, and the romantic affairs. Research indicates relationship and marital satisfaction does correlate to increase rates of infidelity. However this does not account for all affairs. Emily Brown describes five types of affairs: Conflict avoidance, intimacy avoidance, sexual compulsions, exit affairs, and split self affairs. Each type of affair has its own nuances and may not fit a particular box. Researchers have found that affairs result in feelings of abandonment, rage, and mistrust, loss of confidence and self-esteem. Some books you might useful are Not “Just Friends” by Shirley Glass, After the Affair by Janis A. Spring, The State of Affairs by Esther Perel.

I don’t want you to tell my partner about my on-going affair. Do Relationship Therapists keep secrets?

If I am just working with you as an individual and not seeing your partner, then our sessions are completely confidential. However, if I am seeing both of you as your relationship therapist, then different relationship counsellors have different “Secrecy policy”. Some Relationship Therapists do individual sessions with clients. In these sessions, a client may disclose that they are having an on-going affair or that there has previously been an affair. Some relationship therapists do not have individual sessions with clients. As a general rule, I don’t keep secrets however this can be reviewed on a case by case basis. Does a betrayal of trust that happened 20+ years ago need to be disclosed in counselling? Relationship Therapists seem to vary on what is the best. Some believe that it may not be relevant. Other therapists believe that it is best to have everything out in the open.

Can we do Relationship Counselling Online over Zoom?

Online counselling is a very effective way of delivering counselling. Covid-19 has resulted in increased necessity for online counselling. Zoom has become much more accessible and people see the benefits of holding meetings via Zoom.

I find online relationship counselling particularly effective, as it is the connection between both of you that is more important. You are also in your own home and so much more comfortable. You don’t have to spend time travelling into the city.  If you have a reliable internet access, there is no reason by online counselling cannot be beneficial.

I have clients from many different parts of New Zealand. Some live in small towns where they prefer anonymity and seek a relationship counsellor that is not local. Others are farm based and cannot take the time off to travel. And others have disabilities which make it painful to travel.

Online therapy can also by more anonymous as there is less risk of being recognised in the waiting room. If anonymity is important to you, I can arrange for an in-house visit to your location or hotel meeting room.

For clients living outside of Auckland, it is often beneficial to start with an intensive session (4 hour) session and then follow up with Zoom sessions.

What are the next steps to book a relationship counselling session?

If you would like to book in a 1:1 session, click here to make a direct booking

If you have any questions prior to booking a session, you are more than welcome to  email me. It is useful for me to know 1) What are the issues that bring you to seeking help? 2) What would you like to accomplish?

I am receiving an overwhelming amount of queries at this time and I aim to get back to you within 24-48 working hours. I look forward to helping you on your journey.

Where can I get urgent immediate crisis help? 

If someone is in immediate danger, do not hesitate to please call 111 now.

Some additional resources for mental health distress include the following dedicated helplines:

Lifeline   Call 0800 543 354 or send a text to HELP (4357)

Outline Rainbow Specialist support by trained LGBTIQ+ volunteers.

Healthline 0800 611 116. 24 hour registered nurse/health advisor for health advise or information. This is more specialised for medical conditions.

Crisis Mental Health Services  Crisis and Assessment and Treatment Teams (CATT) also provide help during a mental health emergency.