Fast Facts

1. How long does the relationship counselling take?

Each couple or individual will have their own current and past issues to explore in a careful but efficient moving forward manner. Counselling can usually take with weekly or bi-weekly sessions from 3 to 6 months, sometimes longer. Some relationship counsellors conduct 50 minute sessions, some counsellors 90 minute sessions.


2. What if my partner doesn't want to come but I do?

Ideally both partners in counselling optimizes the understanding of the issues as well as growth and happiness opportunities for that relationship, however, if one partner is ready and the other is not, that partner who is ready for counselling can still benefit from relationship counselling.


3. Is it true relationship counselling is like a battle between "he said - she said" with the counsellor?

The focus in relationship counselling is NOT to label one partner as "the problem partner," instead, the intent is on a) reducing anger or depression, b) clarifying the bumps in the road, c) learning listening - communication, negotiating and problem solving skills in relationships, d) reaffirming each other's needs, e) what each partner is willing to give for a happy, loving and safe relationship and f) rebuilding intimacy, fun, trust and nurturing.


4. Is relationship counselling expensive since we have to come for at least 3 to 6 months?

Our counselling services are provided on a sliding fee scale to make the counselling at our centre one of the most affordable in Hong Kong in order that our clients can carry-on in counselling without worrying about running out of money before their goals have been achieved.


5. What languages do you provide relationship counselling in?

English, Cantonese, Mandarin, Spanish, German, French, Korean and Japanese. Due to our very high demand for services, not all languages are available during high peak periods.


6. Is relationship counselling helpful with couples who have experienced infidelity?

Trust, nurturing and intimacy are the 3 key elements for a happy marriage (along with fun and kindness). When trust has been broken by infidelity, the other positive elements of a relationship can be greatly affected, often times causing other emotions like anger, depression or fears. Relationship counselling can be a safe, structured, healing way to reduce the sandstorm effect of those emotions and allow couples to better understand the reasons for the infidelity (the disconnection), and how the couple can seek out opportunities for reconnecting.


7. What type of relationship counselling models do you use?

Our relationship counselling service is for all religious and non-religious couples. We have experienced, trained counsellors with various effective relationship counselling models to include IMAGO relationship counselling as well as the traditional psycho-educational model of relationship counselling. We also provide a Christian - pastoral care type of relationship counselling as well.


8. What privacy and confidentiality do we have in counselling?

All counselling sessions are private and confidential, strictly meaning all matters discussed in counselling can never be released to any third party without consent of the persons in counselling. Our counsellors notes are also noted with a "without prejudice" disclaimer which prohibits any counselling notes to be used legally against another person save for when a criminal act has been committed.


Marriage - Relationship Counselling


Relationship counselling at St. John's Cathedral Counselling Service is available for adults (English, Spanish, Japanese, Korean, Cantonese, Mandarin languages) who are single, living with a partner, contemplating marriage (pre-marital counselling), married or experiencing a possible break-up or divorce. Our relationship counselling is not about "who is right and who is wrong," but instead, our initial focus is to empower our clients to become more aware of the causes of their own emotions, the motivators behind their own thoughts, and the consequences of their own chosen behaviors (verbal and body). In short, one must be insightful (who am I) and mindful (what am I doing) of the "I" first and foremost when entering into and engaging in the "We" relationship world. This ensures many positive outcomes in life, to include authenticity and honesty-transparency to the self and others. Unfortunately, often times relationship counselling focuses solely on helping couples "engage in conflict more constructively," missing out on generally the most important goal in any type of counselling: allowing a person to reflect on their identity, needs and aspirations in the attachment (relationships) and achievement (work and school) worlds.


Our relationship then counselling focuses on many other goals and objectives in relationship counselling, to include building relationships and/or reconnecting relationships around a communicative, loving, kind and intimate  model to not only increase a person's happiness and health, but also to enhance their job performance, parenting skills, workplace creativity and motivation, and personal growth.




Being in a positive, loving relationship is one of the five main ways we can live in a healthy and happy state. Unfortunately, when "bumps in the road" occur in personal relationships, various unkind and unpleasant emotions arise (depression, disappointment, anger, confusion, fear and anxiety) as well as negative thoughts (resentments) and unhealthy behaviors. As a result, one of the main goals in relationship counselling is to support the couple to regain a sense of control and understanding of the causes of their relationship disconnect. Understanding the "why" greatly increases the chances of understanding "how" a couple can then reconnect.


In today's ever changing and sometimes commercially and materialistic driven world, certain stresses and strain from work can take a toll on our personal, intimate relationships. The struggle to balance work demands and home obligations are frequently seen as a cause for relationship counselling. Working long hours, frequent out-of-town traveling, no time to chat in the day, and little time for family activities can lead to relationship issues.

Concurrently, such issues as menopause, substance abuse, poor financial management, health related matters (cancer, injuries), loss of a family member (unplanned and/or expected deaths), low sex drive, children leaving home for school overseas, inconsistent parenting, adoption and other typical life events contribute to relationship disconnections.


However, we have also seen that couples who have difficulties in communicating and problem solving are at (greater) risk of relationship disconnections (not only once but possibly several times over their relationship period) as well. Issues such as fear of sharing feelings, being uncomfortable with conflict, unable to communicate clearly about one's needs, using anger and control tactics to co-exist, and the "disease to please others" are typical communication behaviors that cause disconnections.


As one can imagine, there are numerous forces at play (nature and nurture) that can cause unhappy relationships. Yet, whatever the reason(s) may be, those who deny and/or disregard the disconnections (in other words, "do nothing") also increase the risk to the more harmful element of relationship disconnections; deep-seated resentments that can lead to self medicating behaviors such as over eating and alcohol abuse. Eventually what was once possible (the reconnection) is now viewed as impossible.


Our relationship counselling services provide the following programs:


1. Pre-marital: couples who enroll in this program receive an official certificate and documentation from St. John's Cathedral and St. John's Counselling Service upon completion for use in most churches and religious centers around the world. The program prepares couples for the wonderful opportunities and challenges in married life, exploring such topics as conflict management, family planning, sexuality, understanding life cycles and human change, happiness models, work-life balance, parenting, communication skills, financial management,  and emotional intelligence;


2. Reconnecting: this service is for couples who are experiencing distress and/or disconnections in their current relationship and desire a safe, structured, caring environment to resolve conflict and reconnect. Participants will experience thru a IMAGO, positive psychology and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) model that explores not only why couples are disconnected, but more importantly, how couples can reconnect thru a happiness model to further enrich their commitment and bonds;


3. Empty Nest: a program for couples who are preparing for their children to no longer live at home (kids off to boarding school or children who have married and moved on) as well as for those couples preparing for retirement and living alone. The program focuses on how to structure their daily lives without children in the home and still find happiness, harmony and joy with "it's just you and I;"


4. Intimacy Builders: fun and exciting  program at SJCS for couples who desire to revitalize their marriage or relationship. An effective program for those couples who have noticed their professional lives have overtaken time and resources from their romantic lives, helping couples rediscover intimacy, fun and a balance in work and home life;


5. Parenting: another valuable program at St. John's Cathedral Counselling Service, assisting women who are experiencing depression as a result of miscarriage, pregnancy terminations or "postpartum blues." The program also helps first time parents how to prepare for the two roles of Daddy or Mommy (nurturing) and Male Parent or Female Parent (guidance) as well as how to handle stress, the naughty child and the terrible teens;


6. Sexuality: often confused as the only type of intimacy (actually there are five intimacies), we provide counselling for couples and individuals who want to better understand the dynamic and fulfilling world of sexuality, the joys in the bedroom as well as how sexuality changes as we grow older (and hopefully wiser).