The best marriage counsellors in Canberra

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Janine Moran

Director, relationship counsellor and mediator at You, Me & Us, Janine Moran, one of Canberra’s most recommended marriage counsellors. Photo: YMU.

Long-term relationships can be hard work – as a couple grows and evolves together, you will learn new things about yourselves and each other and find that there are some areas of your life together that you need a bit of help navigating. Seeking help doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ve encountered problems, though – maybe you just want to know how to best approach certain issues in a healthy and productive way to avoid problems down the line. Going to see a professional marriage counsellor can be a great way to ensure that you both get helpful, personalised and compassionate advice.

With the help of a qualified, experienced marriage counsellor, both newlyweds and long-term partners can achieve the peace and happiness they deserve. We understand that seeking out a marriage counsellor can be daunting, especially if you are grappling with raw emotions and marriage troubles. So, what should you be looking for in a marriage counsellor?

In this article, we’ll discuss what makes an excellent marriage counsellor, as well as a helpful guide to some of Canberra’s best.

What makes a great marriage counsellor?

Your relationship is important. You want to give your marriage the best chance to succeed, and you want to find a counsellor you can trust, so it’s essential to decide on the right marriage counsellor. Here are a few traits we suggest keeping an eye out for:

  • Experience. Many marriages fracture under the weight of the same pain-points, whether that be related to finances, infidelity, or family issues. Experienced marriage counsellors have seen it all, and can equip you and your spouse with effective, actionable ways to get back on track.
  • Specialist knowledge. Couples’ therapy and family therapy are specialised fields of psychology – look for a counsellor that specialises in these areas so that you know you’re getting the most qualified help possible.
  • Reliability. Make sure that you can rely on your counsellor to be available to you, provide you with accurate advice and understand your particular situation – all of these things are paramount to building a trusting and safe environment in your sessions.
  • Compassion and understanding. The best marriage counsellors have a way of understanding both sides of the story – they communicate with compassion and never judge. If you don’t feel like you can completely trust your counsellor to handle your issues with care and consideration, then they probably aren’t the one for you.

Is there anything else you look for when selecting a psychologist or counsellor? Share your thoughts in the comments area below.

The best marriage counsellors in Canberra

Riotact’s editorial team has combed through 20 years of on-site comments to compile a list of the most recommended businesses according to you.

To be listed in our Best of Canberra series, each business needs to have consistently received positive feedback on Riotact and Facebook as well as maintaining a minimum average of 4/5 stars on Google.

You, Me & Us Relationship Counselling & Mediation Centre

You, Me & Us Relationship Counselling & Mediation Centre is a committed centre of excellence. It is Canberra’s leading private practice specialising in relationship counselling where a team of 9 is made up of dedicated counsellors, social workers, psychologists and family therapists.

All practitioners are trained in Emotionally Focused Therapy for Couples (EFCT), currently the world’s most empirically validated form of couple therapy. EFCT is based on both classic and cutting-edge knowledge around how we attach to other humans and how our brain is wired for this attachment. It is a talk therapy with a 90% success rate in improving outcomes for couples. Therapists also hold a variety of backgrounds and training including the Gottman Method, EMDR, AEDP and Family Therapy.

Under Centre Director Janine Moran, You, Me & Us Relationship Counselling & Mediation Centre provides a wide range of services including couple counselling, individual counselling, discernment counselling (specialist counselling in deciding whether to stay or leave a relationship) and family therapy, as well as conflict resolution services including mediation for couples, families and business relationships.

Highly professional, skilled and respectful therapists provide quality insights for clients facing challenges such as habitual conflict, emotional and physical disconnection and recovery from hurt such as infidelity.

You, Me & Us Relationship Counselling & Mediation Centre therapists are all members of various Australian mental health professional organisations and work together as a team to provide the best possible care to clients.

Kimberley Chalmers wrote on Google, “Very professional.”

Canberra Psychology Clinic

Canberra Psychology Clinic offers a team of enthusiastic, compassionate, and understanding clinical psychologists. Providing assessments and evidence-based treatments for individuals of all ages, select psychologists at Canberra Psychology Clinic specialise in relationship and marriage support for couples at all stages of their relationship.

As Google reviewer Robert Bednarik writes, "Exceptional. I've been going there for 5 years. Fantastic, caring, expert and dedicated staff."

Strategic Psychology

The team of registered and clinical psychologists at Strategic Psychology is dedicated to providing you and your partner with the best care possible. They recognise that strong relationships or marriages are a significant part of living a healthy, meaningful life, but that achieving this can sometimes take hard work and considerate advice. In your sessions at Strategic Psychology, expect qualified advice on things like communication issues, lack or loss of trust, navigating life changes, and even pre-marital counselling.

Google reviewer Michael Wroblewski wrote the following about their experience with Strategic Psychology, "Psychologist was fantastic, I got more out of the session than I had hoped for. Reception staff were very friendly and helpful."

Therapies at the Karuna Centre

Therapies at the Karuna Centre specialises in individual, family and marriage counselling, and their unique approach shows deep commitment to making sure that you and your partner will receive the most thought-out and personalised care. With the consent of the clients, the therapists at the Karuna Centre work collaboratively with each other to ensure that they are giving the best advice they can, and sometimes have more than one therapist in one session to help resolve particularly complex issues. For example, they can offer marriage counselling with a male and female counsellor for those couples who feel that a gender balance will make them feel more comfortable.

Google reviewer Michael Davies wrote the following about their experience with Therapies at the Karuna Centre, "Greg is an exceptional counsellor with many years of experience. I have been to others in the past and when it comes to reflecting on personal history and difficult relationship, Greg is the best in the business."

Are you looking for more recommendations for counsellors and therapists? Check out our articles on the best child psychologists and the best counselling services in Canberra for some helpful information.

Your experience with marriage counsellors in Canberra

Thanks to our commenters who have provided insightful feedback, if you believe we have got it wrong, please let us know.

Have you worked with a marriage counsellor? How did you find the experience? Share your thoughts and feedback in the comments section below.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does a marriage counsellor do?

A marriage counsellor specialises in advising married couples and newlyweds on the unique issues that arise in a marriage. They can help you in many ways, such as developing effective methods of communication, navigating major changes in their lives - such as children or career changes - and resolving any conflicts you might be experiencing.

Why should I see a marriage counsellor?

There are many reasons why you might want to consider seeing a marriage counsellor. Maybe you and your spouse are having issues communicating properly, or you're about to go through a major change to your lifestyles, or you want to get a professional opinion on a conflict you're having. Whatever the case, seeing a marriage counsellor means that you can get considerate and unbiased advice that will be the best for the both of you.

How are marriage counsellors different to psychologists?

Marriage counsellors are different from psychologists because they specialise in relationship therapy. A marriage counsellor can absolutely be a qualified psychologist, but making sure you see someone who has particular experience in relationship therapy means you will receive qualified and accurate advice on your issues.

How long should I see a marriage counsellor for?

This is completely between you, your spouse, and your counsellor, and it also depends on what you're seeing them for. If you're seeing a counsellor during a time of great change in your lifestyles, maybe you only need to see the counsellor until you feel fully adjusted to the change. On the other hand, if you're seeing them for an ongoing issue, then make sure you continue to have sessions until you all feel comfortable and happy with the situation before leaving your counsellor.

What if my partner doesn't want to see marriage counsellor?

If your spouse is unwilling to see a counsellor, try seeing a psychologist on your own and get their advice. They may be able to suggest ways that you can tell your spouse about how you think counselling would really help you, as well as provide you with individual advice on how you can navigate your issues until your spouse decides to join you in the sessions.

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Can I once again recommend Martin @
I have referred several people both relationships and single , all have been so impressed with his support and personalised approach. Give him a call

Good Article i m also an marriage counsller look at my website for information:

There is a guy in Red Hiil , Martin Male he is briliant. We have found him to be exceptional. Heaps of experience and knows his stuff

Why do men forget all the wrong things they do in a relationship?
Its no use two people remembering the same details.

we got someone in to discuss our issues, and then, after they left, we chuckled for half an hour at what they had said. It was very useful, but not what we expected. the psychologist shifted her pov based on each partner’s responses, till nothing made any sense… The talking about it afterwards helped us more than when she was there…

James T Kirk12:41 pm 26 May 09

Tis true – the alternative sux, having recently come back from the brink myself.

Stay focused on the why you want what you both want, and talk to somebody sensible.

And DO NOT listen to &^%&&*% who say just because something has happened then it is lost – you both have the ability to do things you both want.

We spoke with Lisa Bell, and she was helpfull – if you like I can share her number – she is in Red Hill. Not happy to drop it onto a public forum.

Worth pointing out that I think its pretty impressive you’d put up a post such as this Capt’n. I truely hope you guys can sort it out.

The alternative sucks

dvaey said :

Centacare (used to be near Griffith) has counsellors, who will work with both couples and individuals. I had good experiences with them in the past, as they just act as the neutral 3rd party.

Worked for me and mummy. Yes they are the Catholic mob and can base things as religiously as you like. I was asked before the first time I went there and a counsellor was assigned based on my response. Helped with personal stuff then moved on to the relationship.

I believe they have moved to Red Hill

I would agree that a psychologist is a far better option

misspris said :

Centacare? Is that the Catholic counselling service? Or do I have them confused with someone else?

The organisation is religious, but that doesn’t mean the staff are. Well the 3 people of the top of my head that I know weren’t religious and it didn’t come into play with their work either.

Holden Caulfield3:44 pm 22 May 09

poptop said :

Why not work through your issues here?

You’d get plenty of no nonsense advice from a broad range of 3rd parties and for free!

. . . or perhaps not.

Damn, I was going to suggest RiotACT. 😛

Good luck CC, hope you get everything sorted and your marriage is ‘ship shape’ again soon!

There is also a Government subsidised, secular, non-denomnational option.

Family Relationships Australia.
Located in Woden Square, near the base of Lovett Tower

If they can’t help you themselves, they can probably refer you to someone who can.

(I used to refer members of couples who wanted to hire security guards for when they broke up with their partner in person, the people who were having domestic disputes and having their alarm codes changed by their partner, people who wanted their locks changed to “Keep out my cheating husband”, etc…)

Centacare? Is that the Catholic counselling service? Or do I have them confused with someone else?

Centacare (used to be near Griffith) has counsellors, who will work with both couples and individuals. I had good experiences with them in the past, as they just act as the neutral 3rd party.

Aileen Howe, a psychologist in O’Connor is excellent.

A life coach I know (but haven’t used yet) is now extremely happy on his second marriage I believe. If children are involved there are obviously more issues at hand and their blended family works wonderfully. This guy’s wife is a marriage celebrant too so check out

Woody Mann-Caruso said :

Google for the ‘four horsemen of marriage’ (or John Gottman, the guy who needs 3 minutes to tell with about 95% accuracy whether your marriage is doomed). quote]

Hey Woody – really good links. I just did the Gottman quiz … (not doomed … whew!)

Do these counselling services also do civil union counselling?

Only when both chicks are hot?

Normally you’re a voice of reason, WMC, but this advice sounds like it amounts to “self-diagnose based on stuff you can read on the internet”, which is only just above “Send an SMS with your and your partner’s name to service advertised during Video Hits” in my book.

VYBerlinaV8_the_one_they_all_copy11:38 am 22 May 09

Do these counselling services also do civil union counselling?

Woody Mann-Caruso10:34 am 22 May 09

Google for the ‘four horsemen of marriage’ (or John Gottman, the guy who needs 3 minutes to tell with about 95% accuracy whether your marriage is doomed). If:

– you’re anything past a couple of horsemen, and one or both of you is displaying a lack of positive affect (ie emotional withdrawal about the whole thing), or

– one of both of you has gone directly to ‘contempt’

save your money. Separate now while you’re still semi-amicable – you’ll still be able to meet each other in the street and not spit on one another, and you’ll save a fortune in solicitors’ costs as well.

Steady Eddie10:00 am 22 May 09

Forget the past, focus on the love . . .

Before we got married we went to the Anglican counselling mob in Auburn, so probably not a viable option for you.

But let me just say good on you for wanting to put in the effort to make your marriage work. Its hard first to admit a problem, harder to take the steps to fix it when so many find the easiest option is to give up. Top effort.

Why not work through your issues here?

You’d get plenty of no nonsense advice from a broad range of 3rd parties and for free!

. . . or perhaps not.

As ladywriter mentioned, see a psychologist.

I can highly recommend Professional Psychology Services in Woden.

See a psychologist rather than a marriage counsellor. They will do sessions with both of you and then individually if you need it. I have been seeing cpru psychology at Deakin (for family issues rather than marriage counselling) and have found them to be brilliant. They are not cheap but are covered by Medicare if you get a referral from your GP.

Good luck!

Relationships Australia in Deakin

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