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Relationship Space Cherry Tree


Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently asked questions about dating and relationship counselling for women. 

What is The Relationship Space and why was it created?

The Relationship Space was created by Phoebe, a Clinical Psychologist and Couples Counsellor who has a special interest in Relationships and Dating. Phoebe is also the Principal Psychologist of At Home Psychology, a practice in Randwick, Sydney, that specialises in the treatment of conditions including depression and anxiety, as well as relationship concerns. 


The Relationship Space is a specialist service dedicated to helping individuals overcome any relationship and dating obstacles. At the heart of The Relationship Space is a dedication to helping women feel empowered in their relationships. This comes from Phoebe’s own personal struggles to find a healthy loving relationship, and overcoming this through her own therapy. The Relationship Space exists to pass on this knowledge to women so that they can cultivate thriving, loving, uplifting relationships. The Relationship Space is your ‘go to’ place in Sydney and online to learn about all things dating, finding an emotionally mature partner, and maintaining a lasting love. It is Phoebe’s personal mission to help all human beings feel safe and secure when it comes to love. 


The Relationship Space offers several relationships services:

  • Online Women’s Relationship Group: The Complete Toolkit for Dating and Maintaining Love runs across 7 weeks (Tuesday evenings online 6-8pm with six sessions at weekly intervals, then a ‘reunion  session’ one month later)

  • Individual Dating and Relationship Coaching Packages: Meet with Phoebe for an initial relationship assessment package (delving into attachment style and schemas), then eight 30 minute sessions across two to three months to work on overcoming blocks to love whilst you date or within your current relationship. Phoebe uses approaches from relationship counselling and Schema Therapy in a direct, solution-focused coaching style to help you with a clear framework for relationship success. 

  • Couples Counselling: Phoebe also offers couples counselling in addition to individual counselling and coaching approaches. 

Why do relationship counselling?

I would suggest relationship counselling for any individual or couple that wants to shift their relationship patterns or dynamics. Phoebe works with both individuals and couples, including those who identify as LGBTIQA+. Relationship counselling for an individual can assist with understanding your recurrent relationship patterns, behaviours and choices, and gaining tools to shift these patterns. We tend to inherit our relationship dynamics and skills from our parents (family of origin), and so gaining insight into this can be incredibly valuable, so that we become more conscious and self-aware, leading to more effective relationship choices and communication styles. 


Relationship counselling for couples will unpack family of origin messages or learning about relationships, including how you deal with emotions and self-expression. Sessions will focus on understanding the deeper emotions and needs of your partner, and their worries and fears that lie under the surface. 


Relationship counselling with Phoebe explores our attachment styles (are you more avoidant or anxious), as well as schemas (beliefs, feelings and behaviours) developed early in life about relationships. Relationship counselling will help set you up for healthy communication, including de-escalating conflict and expressing yourself more fully whilst holding empathy for your partner’s experience. More intimacy, vulnerability, closeness and connection comes about from this process. A deeper attachment system between partners and solidifying your bond will set you up for any struggles that may lay ahead. Phoebe uses a direct, solution-focused approach much like a coach would.

Can relationship counselling help?

Yes, absolutely. I have been able to witness many individuals gain more self-awareness of their relationship patterns and therefore make better choices of their partners. I have seen individuals learn to privilege partner security, stability and calm, rather than chemistry and emotional intensity and heal their anxious attachment or fear of abandonment. Those with a more avoidant attachment style who tend to pull away when overwhelmed, can also learn to self-soothe their anxiety and find safety in expressing themselves to a partner. 


I have also been able to witness partners gain a new understanding of each other’s internal worlds and therefore grow in empathy and compassion towards each other. Phoebe’s approach is pragmatic and practical, equipping you with skills to draw upon about your future. 


When shall I engage in relationship counselling or help for relationship concerns?

Relationship expert John Gottman says that couples tend to wait six years of being unhappy before seeking couples counselling 

Across time couples can get stuck in negative cycles of conflict and disconnection builds, so I’d much rather you come in earlier. Doing so may mean less time in couples therapy and a better outcome for all involved. Relationship counselling can benefit anyone in any stage of their relationship, whether single or coupled up. 

How does relationship counselling help? 

The biggest benefit of relationship counselling is knowledge and greater self-awareness around relationship patterns, partner choices, and attachment style. Individuals can learn how to assess whether this relationship and partner will take care of their needs for intimacy, vulnerability, security and empathy. A big focus in any relationship counselling or coaching provided by Phoebe is how you can soothe yourself and your nervous system around relationship or dating worries, or conflict with your partner. I will help you build a stronger sense of competency in regulating your emotions and expressing your attachment  needs (whether to a partner, family members or friends).


I focus on equipping you with skills to take away so that you can reliably soothe your own distress and feel confident in your coping skills. 

What are the benefits of relationship counselling?

The benefits of relationship counselling include:

  • Increased ease with being vulnerable

  •  Less shame around expressing emotions

  • Feeling more brave and courageous when expressing your emotions

  • An increased sense of safety and security in your relationships (a sense that my partner is there for me)

  • More authenticity and less shame around your relational needs

  • Greater connection to self and others

  • An ability to soothe any anxiety around relationships, because you can soothe your ‘inner child’ and reassure yourself

  • Greater assertiveness and ability to de-escalate conflict

  • Making partner choices that are better for you, and in line with your values

  • Navigating the world of dating with more ease and confidence

  • Greater hope and optimism about relationships in general

  • Improved self-worth as you know who you are and what you need

  • Clarity on your unique gifts and relational strengths

Who benefits from relationship counselling? 

Phoebe offers relationship counselling to individuals or couples. If you are an individual we will focus on what you bring to your relationships including family of origin patterns, your unique temperament and needs, attachment style and relationship history. I will assess your schemas which are core relationship themes or patterns that were set up in childhood and continue to impact you today. For example, a common schema is fear of abandonment because you are not worthy enough. We will work on understanding the origin of this belief system and the relationship narrative or story that developed and its impact on your thoughts, beliefs, and relationship patterns. In this example, we would work on self-soothing when anxious, looking at partner choice and understanding whether partner choices offer you security and emotional stability, or whether they perpetuate abandonment fears. We would work on comforting yourself during periods of loneliness and building the right type of support. We will work on how the wiser part of you (your ‘healthy adult’ in schema terms) comforts your ‘inner child’ when these fears creep in. We will identify the ways in which you are worthy, so you can clearly understand that you are not the reason people have left (it is more about their emotional capacity). 


If you are in a couple, Phoebe can provide a safe space to discuss these concerns together. Couples therapy will work using similar methods described above, with a focus on the relationship dynamic co-created in your present relationship. I will draw on principles largely from Attachment Theory and Schema Therapy/Coaching. 

What type of relationship help or counselling is available? Where do I start? 

Phoebe offers a wide range of services to help individuals with relationship concerns. The Relationship Space has a focus on helping empower women in their relationships, and women can choose to work individually with Phoebe (see packages) or in a group setting (see women’s group). If you are unsure about what approach may suit you best, please contact Phoebe and she can discuss your unique situation with you to determine the best fit. 


If you are interested in couples therapy or including your partner in your healing, please reach out to Phoebe and she can advise what options may best suit. Phoebe sees couples in person and online. 


If you are longing for your own space or sessions to work on relationship themes and patterns, individual packages or the women’s group may work best for you. Everyone is welcome to attend individual sessions with Phoebe, and the women’s group is for those who identify as female. 

I want to work on my relationship, but my partner doesn’t.
What are my options for relationship counselling? 

Whilst it is helpful for your partner to be involved, it isn’t essential. Often you alone changing your style of relating has impacts on your partner. I have witnessed one partner’s increased honesty with emotions result in similar behaviour in their partner. I’d encourage you to consider individual counselling sessions or participating in the women’s group to explore what you bring to the relationship and how that can shift. 

Your website mentions Relationship Coaching. What is involved? 

Relationship counselling is a more commonly understood term when considering relationship therapy, help or support. Phoebe is a trained Relationship Counsellor, however, her approach is ‘coaching’ in its style.


Clients tend to find Phoebe empathic and warm, however, Phoebe will  offer practical solutions to your concerns. Skills taught are largely from Schema Therapy and include reframing beliefs, changing your inner dialogue, developing new narratives for relationships and scripts for calming your nervous system, and offering soothing and comforting words to your ‘inner child’.


You will benefit from Phoebe’s approach if you identify with each of us having internal parts (modes) that show up when triggered. We will spend time tuning into the ‘inner child’ who experiences grief, sadness, shame, and anxiety and soothe that part. You will develop greater access to your ‘healthy adult’: all your wisdom, strength, and coping resources that guide you to healthy relationship choices and authentic living. Coaching is an accurate description of the work we will do as Phoebe is direct, authentic, prescriptive and skills-based in her approach. You will experience clarity and direction for your relationships. 

How does relationship coaching differ from relationship counselling?

Relationship or dating coaching tends to be more solution-focused and less pathologising. Rather than focusing on what isn’t working, we focus more on your  personal strengths and tap into your authenticity. Relationship coaching tends to also be more present focused, drawing connections from the past to present behaviour and then suggesting new ways of approaching dating and relationships.


These new behaviours will be supported by reframing of beliefs and greater self-expression and vulnerability. You will be provided with plenty of skills to practise outside of sessions including self-soothing and new self-talk. Phoebe has tried and tested these methods in her own therapy as well as with clients, so you are in the hands of someone who can relate to your experiences. Relationship counselling uses empathy, reflective questioning and reflecting patterns and themes back to the client. Phoebe uses both a counselling and coaching approach in her work. 

How does relationshing coaching work? 

In individual relationship coaching or the women’s relationship group program, Phoebe will conduct a detailed assessment to understand your attachment style, love languages, and schemas (relationship themes that repeat across your life). You will be given feedback on these patterns and provided with specific goals and an action plan to soothe your attachment response and shift schemas. Across sessions, we will check in with your progress and update your coping strategies for each relationship or dating challenge you face. 

What is dating coaching?

Phoebe can help you focus on finding more joy, intimacy and connection in dating or within your current relationship. In dating coaching we will focus on how you show up on dates, who you are drawn to, how an emotionally mature and available potential partner may feel, self-soothing your anxiety during dates and throughout the process of dating. We may also look at dating values, partner values, your comfort around receiving love and connection, and your self-worth. Phoebe may help you feel more open and optimistic about dating, confident in the unique gifts you bring to a relationship, and feel more at ease being open and vulnerable across time. 

Who offers relationship counselling or relationship coaching? What is Phoebe’s training?

Many practitioners, therapists or coaches of different training backgrounds offer relationship counselling or coaching. In my opinion, it is important that you choose a practitioner who you feel you can be vulnerable and safe with, as well as feel confident in their training. Phoebe is a Clinical Psychologist, who uses evidence-based approaches and treatment modalities drawn from psychological science, research and literature.


These modalities include Schema Therapy and Emotionally Focused Therapy for couples. Phoebe also completed training in Relationship Counselling (couples and families) with Relationships Australia across one year, so she uses best practice couples counselling informed by structural and systemic therapies, as well as Gottman Therapy.


Phoebe has experienced Schema Therapy and Schema Coaching as a client and strongly uses these practices in her own work. Phoebe feels that these therapies (a combination of counselling and coaching) were so effective that she wants to pass these on to her clients. 

I don’t live close to Randwick or in Sydney. Does Phoebe offer online counselling and coaching?

Yes, absolutely. Phoebe has been conducting online therapy and counselling sessions for several years now, and finds that they work much like in person sessions. She has also provided online training to provisional psychologists at the College of Professional Psychology. At the heart of Phoebe’s work is empathy and connection, and so you will experience this online also. Phoebe’s women’s relationship group runs online, allowing women from all over Sydney, Australia, and even the world to connect online. 

How do I work on my relationship and relationship patterns?

Understanding Attachment Theory and Schemas are a good place to start. Any of the interventions above including individual counselling/coaching or the women’s group will allow you to experience Schema Therapy/Coaching and address relationship patterns. Phoebe is also happy to offer 30 minute individual sessions if you would like a taste of the work we can do together.


These can complement the women’s relationship group or an individual coaching package. Please feel free to reach out to Phoebe via email or request a complimentary 15 minute consultation and we can discuss the best approach for your personal situation. 

Image by AJ

For more information:


0404 247 383


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