Melissa Johari, B.A., M.S.W., RSW
The Couple Wellness Expert
“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” Lao-Tzu
Congratulations, you have started your journey! You have taken the brave step of searching for someone to help you along with your journey to improved personal wellness and enriched relationship.
Couples counselling is a journey. Depending on what kind of journey you are taking, you will gain different skills along the way. For some, it will be a journey of healing, or a journey of growth, or a journey of learning. For most, however, it will be a journey involving some degree of all three wellness skills. Every area of your personal wellness (financial, spiritual, physical, emotional, social, vocational, sexual, and environmental) interacts greatly with your relationship.
For more on this, see The Couple Wellness Expert’s “Relational Wellness Wheel”.
Are you experiencing distress and unhappiness in your relationship?
You may be experiencing emotional pain that is impacting other areas of your life. You know that for you and your partner to have the best possible relationship you can, certain changes need to take place. These changes need to happen in order to restore balance, respect, and closeness between the two of you. It takes both partners to work towards and sustain a sense of balance personally and relationally. It is my belief that if the two of you are motivated and committed, you have the potential to reach that goal. Often it takes one person to initiate the journey, but it will take effort and willingness from both of you to find the answers and healing you are seeking. You both already have the answers within you. Often times the surface level issues that are causing you distress now are really a reflection of deeper underlying issues that need to be addressed. Once any underlying issues have been dealt with, most couples find that there are fewer surface issues to deal with. It is my role to listen to each side, to reflect, inform and challenge both of you. I will help you to recognize and work through those underlying issues and will guide you in building effective communication skills as you travel the path of healing on your journey to a happy and sustainable relationship and personal wellness.
Do you want to build the skills needed to help your relationship last?
Knowing that nearly 50% of marriages end in separation or divorce may be enough for you to make the effort to work on the foundation of your relationship before problems arise. Across the globe, this statistic of nearly 50% has clearly been going on for 40 years, but it doesn’t have to apply to you. Maybe you are engaged to be married, recently married, or have been married for some time but feel your relationship needs a boost. Relationships take consistent effort and work. It is very easy to forget this and start taking each other for granted. It is also very common to have high expectations of your relationship, only to find yourself feeling disappointment down the road. You are not alone and I am trained to help you learn the skills necessary to cope with the inevitable conflicts or stresses that come along in every relationship. The practical aspects of a relationship (such as finances and chores) are important to work out and communicate about because you are (or will be) sharing a life together. I love working with premarital couples and using tools such as PREP/Enrich to quickly assess their compatibility and personalities.
Annual relational check-ups and couple retreats are also great ways to help get your relationship back on track or simply encourage more closeness. The old adage of an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure is very true. You will find this to be a personal and relational journey of growth.
Are you interested in relationship education?
If you are part of a school or church and would like to have someone come and speak to your group of children, youth, or adults regarding healthy relationships, I am available.
My vision is to help people understand what is involved in a healthy relationship before they are even in one or before they encounter any serious relationship problems. Values such as trust and respect are the foundation of a healthy working relationship. Respect for oneself, respect for others, and knowing your rights as a human being is imperative because without respect there can be no trust and trust is foundational in relationships that work. This is a journey of learning. There is hope! Regardless of whether you are cohabiting, engaged, recently married, or have been married for a long time, you can find that internal and relational peace you are searching for. Take your partner’s hand and together, with me as your guide, you can walk through your journey of healing, growth and/or learning.
Areas of speciality
My main focus is on couples, although this sometimes involves work with each individual, extended family or their children. For example, if through the therapeutic process, it is discovered that part of the source of conflict for a couple is the relationship between the wife and her parents, some family work may take place. Likewise, if it comes out in our work that the teen son of the couple is causing distress for the couple, then there may be some individual work with the son and family work with all three family members. That being said, these are the areas of couple work that I specialize in:
- Premarital counselling
- Couple enrichment and couple retreats
- Couples facing issues of fertility
- Foster parents and adoptive parents
- Abuse in childhood
- Adult children of divorce
- Parenting problems
- Issues of intimacy
- Lack of self esteem or couple esteem
- Stress management
- Communication issues
- Family of origin issues
- Improving mind-body connection
Choosing the right therapist is very much like choosing a partner – you have to have the emotional understanding and connection. We have to “click”. If you as a couple are ready to start our journey together, please contact me to set up an appointment so that we can see if we are a good fit.If you think you are not yet ready but would like more information, please sign up now for my quarterly newsletter “Achieving Wellness” .
At the same time you will immediately get free tips on how to make your relationship work in today’s busy and demanding social environment.
Melissa Johari, B.A., M.S.W., R.S.W.
Melissa is a Couples Counsellor based in Toronto who has worked with families of all ages and of various racial, cultural and religious backgrounds for 10 years, and has been happily married for 8 years. She is Canadian of mixed racial background.
Melissa has her Honours Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Western Ontario, and a Master of Social Work from Wilfrid Laurier University. In her studies and in further post-graduate training, she has developed skills in and practices Brief Solution Focussed Therapy, Narrative Therapy, Internal Systems Theory, Emotionally Focussed Therapy, Strengths Perspective, Mindfulness Theory, Psychodynamic Therapy, Anti-Oppressive Practice and Relational Life Therapy.
Melissa believes that each person is a unique and does not try to fit the individual or couple to a theory but rather uses an eclectic approach in applying her training, based on your own needs. Melissa takes a holistic perspective, taking into account all areas of your lives: financial, spiritual, physical, emotional, social, vocational, sexual, and environmental.
See Melissa’s “Relational Wellness Wheel” for more information: visit http://www.thecouplewellnessexpert.com/
Melissa is a Member of the Ontario Association of Social Workers and is a Registered Social Worker with the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers. She is also a prospective Member of the Ontario Association of Marriage and Family Therapy.
Melissa has done research on how couples use humour in their relationships, and presented at various conferences throughout North America.
The mission of The Couple Wellness Expert is to improve personal wellness one couple at a time by leading the client on a journey of healing, growth and/ or learning.
The vision of The Couple Wellness Expert is to see a greater awareness in the community, the city, and the province of the need to foster healthy relationships from the start. This means parents modelling positive relational skills at home, children learning these skills in school and premarital couples taking workshops and/ or doing premarital counselling.
Just like investing in your car, home, or physical health, your emotional well-being also requires repair and maintenance for success. You can achieve that happiness and satisfaction that you are wanting in your life and in your relationship. There are various services offered through The Couple Wellness depending on what your personal needs are.
Feel free to contact me to discuss these services further and have a free 15 minute consultation.
Also, don’t forget to sign up for the free “Achieving Wellness” newsletter and when you sign up, you will also immediately receive your free tips on how to make your relationship work in today’s busy and demanding social environment.
First couple session is 1.5 hours. The first 40 minutes of your first session is free. First session investment rate is $80 for 1.5 hours. Subsequent couple sessions are 50 minutes per session at an investment rate of $80.
If you chose to pay in advance, there is a discounted investment rate. Three couple sessions paid in advance is an investment rate of $225 (more than 5% discount). Six couple sessions paid in advance is an investment rate of $430 (more than 10% discount).Couple sessions could also include some sessions with each person individually, or could also include other family members.
Your journey to personal wellness is specific to your needs.
The Prep-Enrich inventory is a very well known, highly valid and highly reliable confidential on-line questionnaire. Using the results of this inventory, we can quickly assess couple compatibility and personality in session, saving you time and money in the long-term.The investment is $29.95USD which is paid directly on the Prep-Enrich website with log-in information that The Couple Wellness Expert would provide to you.
The results of the questionnaire would be discussed during our regular couple session or as part of a group workshop
Annual relationship check-ups
Just like your annual physical check-up, The Couple Wellness Expert provides an annual relationship check-up. Previous couples are strongly encouraged to come back annually to review skills already learned and to resolve any issues that may have come up over the year. This is an excellent way to ensure you address small issues before they become big problems. The old adage rings true: an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. In order to remember the date every year, it could be around your anniversary date, Valentine’s Day, or the date you first came to me or had the last session with me. Regardless of the date you chose, it is important to stick with it each and every year. It could be as little as just one couple session to go over how everything has been going in your lives and in your relationship. The check-ups could also include doing the PREP/Enrich inventory or doing a brief Marriage Checkup questionnaire. These check-ups are intended to strengthen and protect your relationship in order for you to achieve optimal wellness.
Premarital or couple workshops are provided based upon demand. There are typically 6-8 group meetings per workshop. Subscribe to the “Achieving Wellness” newsletter to be the first to hear of all the details about upcoming workshops.
Intensive weekend retreats are offered as needed. They could be an intensive therapeutic weekend for one couple, or offered to a group as a condensed workshop. They could take place locally or abroad. Please subscribe to the “Achieving Wellness” newsletter to be the first to be notified of this exciting prospect.
The Couple Wellness Expert can come to speak at your school, church or event. This is the proactive work I love. Reaching out to people and talking about healthy relationships and achieving balance and wellness in life is my passion.
Please contact me to discuss details further.
Payments can be made by credit card on Pay Pal, by cheque ($20 NSF fee would apply for any returned cheques) or in cash. The relationship investment rates are not covered through OHIP. However, they may be covered through some extended health care benefit programs.
Are you ready to achieve personal wellness and enrich your relationship? If so, I can help. If you haven’t already, please read about me above and my services above to give you a better sense of who I am.
To book an appointment, please feel free to contact me or book online at http://thecouplewellnessexpert.com/
If you are not quite ready to take the next step by contacting me to book an appointment, please consider getting more information through signing up for my “Achieving Wellness” newsletter.
Computer: I offer counseling services using Skype for those who live out of the Greater Toronto Area.
My Skype name is thecouplewellnessexpert, all one word and lower case. Please discuss with me first to set this up. Services outside of the Ontario area would fall under Ontario liability laws.
In Person: I have two locations to choose from- Leaside Therapy Centre, located at 1395 Bayview Avenue, Toronto or St. Matthew’s Anglican Church, located at 3962 Bloor Street West, Etobicoke.
Click here to book an appointment online.