First encounters with the Relationship Room
Upon entering the Relationship Room’s elegantly furnished sandstone terrace in Balmain, overlooking Sydney harbour, you’d be forgiven for thinking you had the wrong address. A world away from the neutrality we conventionally associate with the rooms of psychologists, clients are instead greeted with hot towels and a relaxed environment. Little do visitors know that upon this first – and decidedly pleasant – encounter, the therapeutic process has already begun.
Therapies at the Relationship Room are all evidence-based and offered by registered psychologists affiliated with the Australian Psychological Society. Under the guidance of Principal Psychologist Rachel Voysey, the Relationship Room therapies include cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT, perhaps the most publicly known therapeutic technique), acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), systemic therapy, narrative therapy, interpersonal therapy (IPT) and mindfulness based interventions.
A sensational approach to psychological services
At the heart of the Relationship Room’s approach to therapy is the use of ‘sensory modulation’ techniques. Sensory modulation, according to one academic definition, is “the capacity to regulate and organize the degree, intensity and nature of responses to sensory input in a graded and adaptive manner,” allowing the client or patient “to achieve and maintain an optimal range of performance and to adapt to challenges in daily life.”*
A simpler way to look at altering sensory modalities as a therapeutic approach is to understand that the essence of every human being is embedded in the sensory events of our everyday lives. From the moment a client steps into the Relationship Room, itself a potentially stressful experience, the Relationship Room works to help clients reach an awareness of their selves in terms of their senses. This extends to an understanding of the sensory modalities – vision, hearing, taste, smell, and touch – that a client may associate with traumatic memories. From there, client and psychologist work to integrate these senses into the therapeutic process. The therapeutic philosophy of the Relationship Room is to use the senses to facilitate the mind-body connection. This connection allows the client to engage with the therapeutic space and the therapeutic process.
This approach is the secret to why the Relationship Room is a surprising site for psychological services to take place. Unlike the typical setting found in other clinics, the Relationship Room greets your senses rather than grinds them down in the pursuit of clinical ‘neutrality’. In fact, your senses and sense of self are given the highest priority from that first step over the threshold through to the post-therapy reflection room, where your body and mind are nourished with a light meal, a fresh juice, espresso or herbal tea.
Individuals, couples, families, communities
Relationship Room therapies are effective for a wide range of problems. Couples and individuals seeking to reconnect with their partners and revitalize relationships – often after experiencing infidelity or just the general grind of a day to day relationship – find their communication skills enhanced and their ability to repair the damage wrought by the past improved. Individuals suffering from anxiety, depression, grief and loss, drug and alcohol dependence, or post-traumatic stress find themselves with the renewed ability to recognize the triggers that precipitate disruptive symptoms or behaviours, furnishing them with day-to-day strategies to help them remain grounded and functional.
Group therapy is another important aspect of the Relationship Room’s repertoire. Obviously, family counseling constitutes a form of group therapy, but six-week courses and weekend workshops are also offered to groups of individuals suffering from similar problems. This helps clients understand that they are not alone and gives them an opportunity to learn from one another in a safe, convivial environment. The Relationship Room’s therapeutic groups centered on relationship repair and surviving infidelity are amongst the most popular the clinic offers.
Similarly, the Relationship Room also provides services to the corporate and business sectors. Here, communication skills, mediation and conflict resolution services are offered to small groups or employees seeking support for workplace anxiety and stress management
For those interested in seeking help and renewal in a relaxed environment from compassionate counselors, the Relationship Room is now taking bookings. For any enquiries, contact Paula Saad on 95559115 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
* Miller, L. J., Reisman, J. E., McIntosh, D. N., & Simon, J. (2001). An ecological model of sensory modulation: Performance of children with fragile X syndrome, autistic disorder, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, and sensory modulation dysfunction. In S. Smith-Roley, E. I. Blanche, & R. C. Schaaf (Eds.), Understanding the nature of sensory integration with diverse populations (pp. 57-88). San Antonio, TX: Therapy Skill Builders.