Christopher Swane is a couples and relationship counsellor based in Wellington. I can assist you to obtain a better understanding of the problems that may be affecting your relationship. Together we can find the answers that will lead you to a happier and healthier life. I offer a respectful, safe and confidential environment, where you may explore and find the answers to your relationship and individual issues.

During couples counselling my main focus is on identifying undesirable behaviour that has developed over time in your relationship. Relationship counselling is unlike individual psychotherapy which mainly focuses on the individual internal experience. Couples counselling focuses on external behaviour and its impact upon the relationship. Undesirable behaviours may include; withholding, obstructing, aggression, distancing, resistance, controlling, passive aggression, and being secretive.

There are no heroes and no villains in relationships, both people input into their relationship problems in different ways. One person may become overly controlling while the other obstructs or withholds. It is not possible to change your partner’s behavior unless there is some willingness or incentive to do so. Incentives to change behaviour may include positive feedback which reinforces appropriate behaviour. Alternatively, you may focus on your partner’s positive behavior by identifying where they are contributing to the relationship. This is rather than in the areas where they may fail to contribute.

By modeling the type of relationship you would like as a couple, this may assist your partner to identify and adjust their behaviour. For example, modeling a relationship where you actively listen and communicate with honesty and respect. This may assist your partner to understand the importance of these two vital aspects of interpersonal communication. Only modeling aggressive behaviour encourages your partner to act in a similar manner as it becomes an expectable norm.


Trust Issues:

Loss of trust can be one of the greatest crises that couples face in their relationship. As a relationship counsellor I understand that trust is paramount for all couples. Trust can be easily lost and very hard to regain.


The loss of trust:

This can take many different forms.  A couple may experience the loss of trust through infidelity or breaking of confidentiality.  Trust may be lost due to an addiction or failing to honour commitments. Trust can be lost through an act of deception or deceit.


The loss of respect:

Similar to the loss of trust the loss of respect can severely damage a relationship. Couples who take each other for granted or fail to acknowledge their partner’s contribution may experience a loss of respect. Regaining respect for your partner is critical in developing a healthy and happy relationship.


As a couples counsellor:

I assist individuals and couples to explore these complex emotions that they may feel, due to the loss of trust. These feelings can range from anger, betrayal, hurt, humiliation and shame to feelings of failure, loss of self confidence and self-esteem.

Communication Issues and Anger:

During relationship counselling I assist couples to identify the different ways in which they are communicating. And we look at how this impacts upon the relationship. For instance, one member may attack while the other withdraws. Or a couple may use the attack and counter attack method. This can lead to escalation of anger and aggression. Both parties may try to gain the superior position and have the final word.

There is also the ‘attack defence’ method. This is where one partner regularly criticises, while the other takes the defending position.


Constant arguments:

These will eventually lead to stonewalling where both parties stop communicating and slowly drift into loneliness and disconnection.  Although arguments can achieve positive outcomes, it is the way we argue that can be the problem. As a couples counsellor I will help you to identify the communication issues in your relationship and assist you in finding more effective ways to connect.


Power Issues and Control:

Often couples enter into relationship counselling due to a power imbalance in their relationship. A power imbalance may be economic or emotional. An economic power imbalance is where one member of the relationship controls the finances and regulates the behaviour of the other through the withholding or distribution of funds.


Emotional power imbalance:

One member may feel that they are constantly meeting the needs of their partner, while their own needs are never met.  Or one party may feel that to keep the peace they never voice their opinion. And they may believe that their feelings are never considered in the decision making process. 


Christopher Swane has undertaken couples and relationship counselling for over six years. Christopher Swane's experience extends internationally to more than 15 years in the industry. I have had extensive experience assisting clients to rebuild their lives, together. I also assist clients to recognise the signs that lead to the breakdown of their relationship. Through relationship counselling Christopher Swane can assist you to untangle the complex thoughts, emotions and behaviours that have led to the crisis.

Christopher Swane - Couples Counselling & Psychotherapy - Wellington New Zealand