Amanda Dounis [psychotherapist] interviews Toni Langford [counsellor] on couples relationships knock down and rebuild.

Disclaimer: this transcript has been modified to make more sense for the reader and is as true and genuine as possible. 

Codes are used to indicate speaker:

A = Amanda 

T = Toni



And a warm welcome to today’s listeners. Allow me to introduce myself as the host of Today’s episode. 

My name is Amanda Dounis and I am the founder of the positive thinking clinic located at Wolli Creek, Sydney. Here at the positive thinking clinic, I see clients of all ages. 

I see individuals, couples, families, and small groups. I conduct psychotherapy and use a variety of modalities delivered through counselling techniques and hypnotherapy.

I am a professional counsellor a clinical hypnotherapist and strategic psychotherapist. I’m an early childhood teacher and an NLP master practitioner.

To learn more about what I do and what I offer, visit my website www.posititivethinkingclinic.com.au. The easiest way to connect with me on social media is to search my name. Amanda Dounis or my clinic, positive thinking clinic. You may also access my social media at the bottom of my web site.

I am the author of my coping skills handbook aimed at kids 8 to 12 years of age. I have also turned this into an online course. 

I have a range of podcasts that can be found on amandadounis.podbean.com  In addition to the positive thinking clinic I am the owner of four early learning centers. I am passionate about quality care and emotional wellness of all ages. I believe we set the foundation for emotional wellness from a very young age.

My early learning centers are licensed as positive living skills services. I also have an emotional wellness & kids Facebook group. 

One of my greatest hobbies is learning. I think I am always enrolled in a variety of courses no matter how small. I enjoy adding to my skill set as an integrated therapist. I learn diverse skills and select the best fit for any situation. 

If you wonder if I have any other hobbies I am also into fitness.

I have run a number of marathons including two ultra marathons.

 So that’s me in a nutshell. If you wanted to get in touch you can use the contact form on my website positivethinkingclinic.com.au I would love to hear from you. 

Signing out and moving forward, you’re listening to Amanda Dounis. 

Joining us today is Toni Langford from TLC [Toni Langford counselling] and she is a Gymea based counselling and clinical supervision service. She offers face to face, and zoom counselling, and supervision, to individuals couples families and groups. 

Toni’s passion is relationship problems and issues. She likes educating people to understand what the other person is saying and not to put their feelings or their filters and perspectives on what they think that they are hearing.

The key to a good or even great communication is not to be a good talker. Toni says it is to be a good or even greater listener. 

Since 2005 Toni has been helping people deal with their day to day lives, supporting them to find better ways of communicating. 

She has also run emotional eating workshops through most of southern Sydney’s curves women’s health centres, as well as providing clinical supervision and mentoring for counsellors and hypnotherapists, either face to face, zoom, or groups.

Communication starts with understanding ourselves first says Toni.

If we can’t understand or identify with what we want, how can anyone else understand us. Once we have that clarity, understanding what other people are saying is the next step. Communication is a gift not a weapon. Yet we are all guilty of using it to hurt and to wound, simplifying and debunking how we all communicate. And yes there will be generalizations. Communication is the base of any good relationship especially the one with ourselves.

It’s not rocket science says Toni. If a dog and cat can happily live together then why can’t two people of the same species do the same? Why can’t they get along without fighting?

As a counsellor, Toni’s role is to become redundant once someone has reconnected with their own internal strengths and coping strategies. Then she says she should no longer be needed when they have struggles in the future. They now have plans and skills to use. Instead of having to involve others.

You can find out more about Toni Langford on www.TLCounselling.com.au

She does face to face sessions at Gymea. You can locate her at twitter and Facebook: TLC Tony Langford counselling. 

She’s done a Diploma of holistic counselling, Bachelor degree in counselling, clinical supervision qualifications, and training and assessment qualifications. I hope you enjoy today’s episode. 

Okay, Toni, thank you so much for joining us today. I really appreciate that you’ve got the time so that we can create this wonderful episode for our listeners. 


My pleasure.


Thank you. I’m looking forward to it. 

We’ve got a really important topic and Tony’s one absolute expert and what we’re going to talk about today is knock down and rebuild.

Tony before we get into it I’m just going to read something from one of your pieces of literature. And you wrote down it’s a simple it’s a simple renovation or so it’s a simple or it’s as simple as renovating a post to knock down and rebuild. Sorry I put that first sentence not the best but I’ll just continue.

If your home is falling down around your ears full of rot to end disease why would you renovate it would be like putting up a flagpole in front of a condemned house. If the area you live in is good and the basic land meets your needs then why not knock down the old line and build a new consciously build one when you pack up the house before it’s demolished you throw out all that no longer serves or is broken out of date no longer fitting.

You don’t take that sort of rubbish week in and your last sentence … So why not do the same with your relationship. 

That’s so powerful and impactful and I’m so glad I had the opportunity to find that in your writings. And it’s so true. Knock down and rebuild. What can you tell me about these Toni.


 Well I suppose it comes from 15 years of doing, you know doing this work with couples and and I realize that a lot of people say oh you know we love each other and love is never enough.

You know it’s like saying Well the hot water system in the House still works. So we’ll just keep the house even though the roof leaks and it’s about looking at you know it is  your relationship worth saving is is that infrastructure that you know the shared moral value ethic, ethics, the moral compass, the shared vision of what a relationship looks like. So love is just not, there’s not just enough in staying together as we know for the children is one of the worst things you can do.

So it’s about looking at I suppose if you take one step back there’s always damage done in a relationship. You know we use words as weapons not as gifts. And so there’s a lot of the water under the bridge and we have to look at what does the individual need to get past that that pain.

What do they need to let go of all the things that they perceive was done to them in arguments you know whether it’s there’s been because normally a relationship falls apart because of lack of trust whether it’s infidelity lack of support unable to rely on the other person and whether it’s it’s real or perceived it doesn’t really matter whatever the person is feeling, is what they’re feeling and all indications. Yes. So it’s like what are they prepared to do to let go of the past.

And some people go Yeah yeah yeah. But then as soon as you put a book what it means, you negate, you actually wipe out everything that was said previously. So it’s about finding out what they need what they need to hear from their partner, what new experience they need to have of their partner that will help to grow the trust because trust is never about the other person it’s always about the person that was done wrong by and it’s about well if they do this to me again will I ever get over it.

So it’s almost a self preservation; What if I keep punishing them I’m keeping them at arm’s length, so I don’t have to become vulnerable. So you’re protecting yourself. And so you know if you’re prepared to make yourself vulnerable and you know try one more time or try again in the relationship you have to leave everything behind. I hate it when people go I just want to go back to where we were because where you got you where you are.

So nothing forgotten and now you know. 

Well it’s not actually it’s not buried and pain doesn’t decompose just because you bury it. Oh I’m not going to talk about it I’m not going to talk about it. It doesn’t stop me not thinking about and I mean buried in the fifth and that’s finish you can let that go. Not burying it on the inside and waiting for an explosion of emotions. It’s really easy to help our clients.

And the thing is we can’t help our client unless they know what they want or what they need to let go of it. And normally it’s about they don’t feel or believe the other person understands how hurtful whatever it was was for them. So until the other person can demonstrate and that’s why you know traditionally people will keep punishing the other person because they’re still hurting so why shouldn’t the other person hurt.

And it’s not a conscious thing most of the time means it’s a very subconscious or unconscious thing. And so it’s about going Okay you know what you need to let go and so you step back and you go Okay do you want to work on this. What are you prepared this is just get my diary. This is three things that I’ve I’ve written down that I like to to say to my clients and this is this is the jump off point. It’s the first one is how much do you want to fix this or rebuild this.

What are you prepared to do. And the final one which is really really really important and this is where we come into arguments. What are you willing are you willing to stop trying to convert the other person to your way of thinking. So you know if someone’s had an emotional affair then the person the demon is like has to find a way to forgive the other person find out and figure out what they need to hear from that person and then let it go when they’ve got that whatever that subjective thing is.

Okay. Are you willing to let go and if they’re not then ok I’ve actually called quits on maybe a dozen marriages and I mean I’ve told them to go to see solicitors because one of them isn’t is not able to let go if they’re able to let go. The first thing I do with them and it’s sort of homework is they have to figure out what they’re not going to bring to this new marriage this new home.

You know so you know if someone’s needy or their partner is always saying you’re needy Well it’s like well maybe that’s something I’ve got to work with within myself and a therapist or someone that they trust to let go of that needs neediness. What is it that is causing them to bring dysfunction. So I think I mentioned it last time that I said I see there’s there’s one partner there’s the other partner and they put into a third unity at the third entity which is the relationship. So what you put in there is what you get out.

So if you’re putting all these expectations that this partner of yours is going to be everything to you. Well it’s it’s it’s it’s set up for fail. 

You know our our sense of self and our identity and happiness comes from inside out. We have to make ourself happy not our relationship. Our relationship can enhance that. We can get happiness from it. However we still have to have a base of contentment happiness peace and calm and self-worth within ourselves.

Also at that point the important part which are fun. So thank you for saying it. It’s really important that when two people are in a relationship and they get lost amongst blame. And you did this. And I remember that. And that hurt me. They come to us. So we’ve got to then minimize we don’t have to hear the whole drama story.


We can respect that and they can respect that they’ve got this story. But what is it that you bring to the table. And then we got to clean it up because their conversations bringing mess because their life is a mess and I really sympathize with that. But. How we sit that we get them on a clear path for therapy.

Do we get them to write down what their pain points are and what their goals are and then we decide what we’re going to work on individually and together and what we’re going to let go because this knock down rebuild we don’t want to renovate. If they’ve been renovating their relationship year after year and they realize that the pain just gets old really fast and that the hot water system does have to get replaced what is it. We knocked down. We let it go.


And so it is a … Yes. So you know there’s lots of different ways but there’s always going to be sort of, I honestly believe there’s gonna be a funeral so to speak so whatever that there’s gonna be letters written not for publication or giving to the other person or the things I want to let go of that the other person has done to them. All the stuff they contributed all the stuff that caused that. You know the dry rot and the asbestos and all that.

All those sorts of things they put them down in on paper and then I’m really big on things like if they own their own property then buy a plant like a plant they both like a tree or whatever and you can get both latest tear them up stick them in the dirt put the plant on top and then what happens is that paper is decomposed well so if you think about it the sheet but the pollution that was on those letters is gonna feed the plant and and then that grows the plant the other ways to do the same but burn it and have a cremation and then you can put the ashes you know under a tree or just let it go in the wind but there has to be a point where everything from the past in the negative sense is let go of any major.

And it is a really hard thing for people to do if they’ve been hurt by their one and only. So I think it’s creating creating a a symbolic ritual like that is that they are very young then it’s not flexible. We agree that we’re going to use this these letters and manoeuvre to help grow something brand new here. Or we’re using these letters and then I need to read each other’s letters now.

I prefer they do. And I think on average letters you’re talking about is the six letters. 

Well there’s the Shirley Smith letters from: set yourself free. However there’s also just you know if there isn’t anything that’s really happened in a relationship other than they sort of separate like you know they’ve they’ve moved away or they’ve just drifted apart because of children and all that sort of stuff but then it’s about well you both contributed to the drift of that relationship.

It’s no point blaming the other person because even if you only put one percent in that’s still a contribution and I don’t believe in saying you it’s your fault. I say I don’t care if you contributed ninety nine percent and you contributed one. It takes two hands to clap and you both have contributed to driving this this relationship into the gutter. And those letters I have to say you introduce me to these four years ago.


And gee they are effective because they are true to what you told me: letting go of a relationship. It doesn’t make you break up. It could be a part of a relationship. It’s a let go of the dysfunction. So it can be with a loved one, a partner, a friend, an ex, someone that’s passed away. Yeah.

And it’s a good thing because that first letter that we talked its that, that Shirley Smith talks about is hatred and anger anger which is such a volatile and icky perky type emotion that it’s it’s it’s very cathartic to be able to just vomit that out onto the tape on the paper. And because you know it’s it’s hard to admit that you absolutely despise and hate someone even though you can love them because it’s a very fine line.

I’d like to throw in, couples that bear with the first couple of letters because the feedback I’ve received is Oh I’ve wanted to give up but I reinforced from the very first day. It’s a it’s a six day plan you stick to to the plan because and the very first couple of lives are extremely difficult and cause a lot of pain.

But it’s so therapeutic that I’ll stop this like it’s knockdown and my build once I just I’m one of these people that if I’m going to do it I’m I’m just going to feel that discomfort ongoing. So it’s like pull the Band-Aid off and I I and I tell my clients I would suggest it’s not it’s only a recommendation that you clear the house and you have a big jug of water you have a lot of tissues and lots of paper and you just go for it and you do the first letter, draw a line second letter draw a line or through the six letters of anger and hatred hurt and pain what you’ve contributed what you got out of it and then you know gratitude.


Yeah I do it differently I do it one per day because I do want them to sit with that and see what good is a process, and then unprocess for the whole 24 hours. I’ll just say the commitment and the consistency from them. So that’s my suggestion but I guess anything can work for anybody in any way it’s that and if you think about it as a physical energy because as you know we’re all made up of energy when we look like that first letter of anger and hatred when we let go of that.


That’s quite a big space to feel and and you can feel a bit empty and unbalanced after it because it’s like those snow dome things you get in you shake you all those little You did some of this and all the little flakes have to settle. And so when I’m working with couples in that knock down rebuild context it’s about no alcohol because alcohol  is a depressant and it makes you more sensitive and we can mis misinterpret what’s being said.

So you know no alcohol be kind to each other if you can’t say something not nice keep your mouth shut and let the process happen. And and it’s quite interesting once they’ve done that ritual and which is very painful it’s very painful to actually admit. Well you know you know I’m to blame here too it wasn’t all him or her. You know once you can take responsibility go Okay I don’t want that in my life anymore I want that person but I don’t want the dynamics then you can start looking at building a new relationship and it starts off with dating.

It starts off with little and I hate big grand gestures I like things like you know pizza. It’s about you know in the backyard or playing you know or you know listening to music having dates is about time not money. And you know with Kogut and also just the financial stress we’re all under code or no code.

But I think when we make those reconnection is really easy you know grabbing a chicken like I said dead bird red rose and limp salad get out of the beach and have a picnic and even you can always reconnect with the happy memories that they’ve had with each other by saying when. What memories do you have that you would love to relive and when they could get started.

That’s what I like to work with when it comes to couples because the conversation can be manipulated changed reinterpreted. So once we get like our … yep sure they’ve brought down this stuff with you and I. Our role is let’s put that on the board so that okay. Well you said these are the memories you’d like to revisit and both parties get to write down what it is and you find that they’re the most simplest. Nothing could be picnics it could be going for a drive.

It could be watching a movie. And so we reconnect using the same thing. However what I’d like to. I want them to become aware. What. What do you do differently now than when you used to watch a movie before oh now a trump. Oh I have the key Donald Trump and … why is it so you say you’re divisive. Very well said yeah of course. So then we say well what do we need to change that you’re doing today so that it could be similar to before.

That could be a new relationship again knockdown rebuild. But the thing is this this is actually about building a whole new one so you know if if if you as you know as a as a woman in business your phone is your lifeline with your business however like you know I get clients contact me on the weekend I don’t reply to them. If anybody contacts me other than a few after 7:00 pm or before or 9 am like I see the calls and texts come in but I don’t answer them.

So it’s about setting a boundary. If if for me a device is there for work and contact you shouldn’t be having an affair with your device. You should be having an affair with your partner. So it’s about you know if if if there’s any one you know one way that people can contact you if something goes wrong with a family member the police will knock on your door so you don’t need to be going Oh it’s a phone. I got to answer the phone.

So having – doing it, what would an ideal, and doing a vision board, what would an ideal relationship look like for you, and not have it set in stone and I think this is where a lot of couples go wrong, where you know he might say well you know I want to be able to play golf – you know more often and he might. See you might get to play golf once a month and he’d like to play golf twice a month. And she sees it – oh here we go. He’s off the game or she may say I’d like to have a massage every so often.

And he goes oh here we go. She’s spending money we don’t have. Just because someone says I’d like this, doesn’t mean it’s chiseled in stone. And so it’s about going OK how can we work that in. Because I think you know we talk about relationships. 

You know the C word commitment. I think it’s more about compromise. Every relationship that succeeds has compromise from both people. I’m flexible sometimes it will be 90 percent and sometimes 10 and sometimes one hundred and none.

So it’s and it’s that when people get to that tit for tat Well you always do this. I never. Then it’s then we’re back in the past again. Yeah. So it’s about looking at what you expect from a relationship what you want to put into the relationship what you want out of the relationship what you expect from your partner and then having a negotiation about it. And some people find that really difficult. Especially women being able to say what they want because of fear of rejection.

And it’s really sad that women traditionally have a lot of difficulty to be able to say well you know I’d rather let’s eat dinner at the dinner table because he likes to watch the news. Well you can watch the seven o’clock news on on the ABC or the 5 o’clock news on Channel 10 and you can still have dinner or you can watch it online. You know what I mean like this if you want to know why he doesn’t give me five minutes at the end of the news the rest of the time you don’t need it.


I like your model for knock down rebuild, something good but they have that, you get your clients which you probably do because you know the master of knockdown rebuild. I like it. You get them to say what they did to rock the house. Yes. What did that contribute. I like that.


Okay well it’s premature the vision board because the little guy is also emotional and expressive. But if someone should do those after the letters because then they they they expect completely spaced out. You’ve knocked down you demolished everything is gone off the land. Well now we’ve got to get a plan of what they need it. They need a five bedroom four bedroom One bedroom two story one story. What is it. OK.

But if they had a leak in their house when they rebuild they have to do better waterproofing. So what was the leak. If the leak was nagging then OK OK. When you rebuild what are we going to do so that we can waterproof this snacking and the nagging is I don’t know who’s doing the nagging the women the women the husband the women which I have without. Who are this together. But the person that does the making is the person that needs to work on that.

They claim that I’ll give the I’ll give you an example right. I’m working with a couple that have been together 14 years and he’s very sporty and he he does endurance type stuff sports so and it’s not her gig so that’s all right. But he spent these before Covid. He spent a lot of time doing these sports and so she felt quite disconnected.

So and she said all I want and I had the two of them in all I want is that he organizes it spends as much effort organizing stuff for us as what he does for himself. So you know that was they were doing that and then off they went and then and he he he he’s on his job is being shut down from Covid. And so he wasn’t working so she said it was fantastic he she she was working from home but he would make dinner and it was like they were dating again because he loved to cook.

He’s now gotten a job again and he’s he’s out all five days a week and instead of her saying to him I’m feeling like we’ve slipped because it was that it was dysfunctional, really good. And then they’re back to dysfunctional. And she didn’t say anything to him. She’s just she’s just like you know crossed her arms and gone. Well if he hasn’t felt it – Why should I do anything about it. Well you both contribute in this and the minute you start feeling disconnected from your partner it’s about. Okay Hey Frank I feel disconnected what’s happening here. 

So I’m now working with them again about owning their own feelings and saying hey you know I’m feeling because he felt it but he just thought well what can I do about it. And unfortunately you know women have a tendency of doing a lot of the heavy lifting in the relationship as far as the emotional side. And if you need more connection with your partner then you need to tell them that.

So over the weekend he was, he went away, and which he was happy about and he was posting photos up on Facebook and then he rang her on the way home. I texted her on the way home three times to say I’m going to be like oh I’m gonna be late. I’m going to be even later and it was only because of traffic and all this sort of stuff. He got home and she gave him the cold shoulder and he didn’t know what what was wrong so you know… 

Then a couple of days later after she stopped sulking he she said well you know you’ve posted all this stuff on Facebook but you didn’t bother contacting me. And when he told me this he said Now I’m being micromanaged which by my wife you know I can’t even do anything right and I said well think about it. And I actually had to get him because he thought she’d I’m going to have to work on it. And and my build a structure is that there’s only two relationships you have to work on your whole life the one with yourself which is your primary and the one with your partner with Second just because you landed the fish doesn’t mean you don’t have to keep maintaining it.

And a lot of men have this belief that I caught the fish I landed at … so it’s about women feel the same as well yeah know I’m just using this couple as an example. So he now realizes that when he, if he goes you know doing these rock caving things or whatever it is he’s gonna do next. Before reposting them he gives her a quick ring and goes Hey sweetheart you know how’s your day. I’m just about to post photos I’d love to hear what you think. I’ll talk to you tomorrow.

90 seconds to happy people. How hard is that. Is that hard work. If that’s hard work then there’s not a lot knock down rebuild because you cannot be who you were back then and expect that a new relationship you can’t get rotten meat and mouldy vegetables and put them together and then make a healthy meal. And same with beautiful off the hook. You know why good beef and mouldy asparagus. Again unhealthy.

So even if not, if both people I said had this vision in my head that. You know when a relationship is knocked down rebuild if you want this to go forward you have to jump off that cliff. Whether the other person jumps off or not because you bring yourself to all relationships if you don’t fix you you’re going to end up in the same relationship again and again and again and again and there’s your patents.

So you’ve got to want to jump off that cliff and because you want to change you don’t want to be the person that was you know nagging or needy or you know clingy or or rude or indulge in like I’m independent or disruptive whatever those things. You’ve got to look at what you bring. If if you have children and your friends and yeah you are. You are a bit you know full on Tony. Okay. That’s me. 

I’m getting that message that I’m full on. Well okay I’m full on. So what’s happening with me is my diet out if I got this belief that well everybody’s just going to put up with me. That’s not that’s not respectful to other people. So it’s about it’s really big deep digging into self you know that mirror up to yourself which is what counselling is about and being able to go well you know this is what I want what am as I said before what are you prepared to do to fix this.

And it has to be fixed this not fix that because let’s talk about self care for a minute see how important it is when our clients come in our couples and. We ask them. What are you doing for self care. Because when there is a lack of self care then this attack and blame.

So once they get the sleep a priority their nutrition improved even water intake or less of alcohol or any other substance that the way they speak to themselves a bit of letting go. Yeah or a little bit of extra time to them of all of this is self care makes them happier.

Less resentful and much more pleasant to be with one another says self K I think is a very big part of the management plan when we rebuild. But it’s also to do you’ve got to realize and I don’t think people understand this that. We are all Visa debit cards right we can’t help anybody else if we’re depleted.

We have to fill ourselves up and whatever that is whether it’s yoga going to the gym you know giving yourself permission to sleep in on a Saturday night or giving yourself a Saturday morning or giving yourself permission to have half a block of chocolate but do it with respect and no judgment. 

You know it’s about being kind to yourself. Treating yourself like it would you be a faithful, or your daughter. And then going well you know I’m feeling down. This is what I need or um I just want to have a bath. Everybody leave the house. Here’s 50 bucks get in the park and get some fish and chips. I want the house for an hour and giving yourself whatever it is and everybody is very individual. I’m I’m very much about, as a therapist because everybody comes as you know they spit their cooties honest. Metaphorically speaking we get energy and emotions thrown at us.

A nice bath with Epsom salts bicarb and a tin of coals coconut cream in the bath, in the bath and the cream doesn’t go slimy and it doesn’t make a scum on the bath, but bicarb Epsom salts or magnesium a very drawing drawing drawing they’re not herbs minerals.

So the … on my skin gets released so I’ve decided to put coconut cream in once and the coconut create the coals this is only ninety nine cents so it’s the cheapest one I can find. And you just have a bath in that and it helps to take the emotional baggage that gets stuck to you especially in a family or as therapist as well. And I do that every week even in summer to call back. But in winter a hot bath and I think we we need to find whether it’s walking walking on the beach sitting down.

It’s about reconnecting with yourself it’s not about being with other people it’s about almost that internalizing it going okay. What am I feeling. What do I need. What don’t I need. Some people never know what they need. They know what they don’t need. So I don’t need this I don’t need they said okay what’s left. OK. All I’ll use what what’s left is as a context but it’s very individual. You know what’s your self care and get healed up running. So that’s got to be one of yours.


Yeah. Running for me. Just my happy place and why he so many people so all that marathon was such a hard run it was cold it was gloomy with hills and I think I didn’t do that run … something different. The sun was shining and my music was playing and I just. Yeah that’s my account I love it but I got to say we’re excited about it.


If I didn’t line up with the horses you know I was out walking with a friend the 

other day and and it was Sunday it was really windy and the wind was blowing past and I laughed and I mean this is like when am I alone, big boy you know. You know I can say I can show you a photo a big boy and there’s this, man big boy. Oh wow yeah. And he was asleep in the paddock one that I saw I was just I went out we gave him a cuddle you know and I love those windy days that you’re galloping along and the wind is blowing in your eyes and it’s shown I that.

That’s that’s when you feel peace and calm in it yet. So it’s about finding that self care and for men that might be having a drink at the pub it may be having a round of golf it may be watching the footy. It doesn’t matter what it is if it if it puts currency emotional currency back in then you’re available to your family and then your friends and then your clients. So on. But if you deplete you become reactive.

So if you’ve got currency emotional currency you can be proactive about how you manage your stress levels. If your depleted then you become reactive you go to a crocodile brain and your flight fight for its. Very interesting and very simple so does that answer your question about how we stop that knock down rebuild context.

Absolutely I think we can talk about that for 500000 hours and we can renovate the whole house before we knock that down and rebuild it. And that’s why I think it’s nice that our couples and our families can choose. Brand new bricks brand new dawn is brand new design though is it conditioning guest tasting.

Oh the works and still bring their favorites with them until they get used to bringing your favorite combos and the beautiful leather lounge and you know your fuzzy slippers. But it’s quite costly. What becomes really important I find especially when cup of course some couples come so that they can break up and we do that would make sure we do that nicely and some couples come so that they can stay together and we do that as nice as we can as well.

They come with. History. Now the the relationship that they have to their past is often. What’s killing them. Yeah. And so we work on how and personal strategies that’s going to help them detach from the emotional relationship to it because that causes anger or jealousy or rage or mistrust. All of that stuff.

And then we read the letter writing which sounds good and without visual porn which is like OK where to from here we make a play up an architectural plan what’s going to go in their house. Well how much of this do we need. How much of that do we need. What shall we get rid of what can we afford. And when we build our new relationship or our new home it’s going to be very specific though. Amanda very very easy because if someone says I want my partner to support me.

Well what does that mean. Could be more supportive. Okay. What does support look like to you. You know you can write that down. That can go on. I mean one angle does that mean I want him to listen to me for every night after dinner I’d like him to give me half an hour undivided attention so I could just have a debrief. You know it’s it’s got to be very specific. If you say it’s like as I said last week about the metaphor of I want a car well what do you want to use a car full. Oh I just want a car.

But what color what’s up. You know so it’s really important that you get down to the nitty gritty and that’s how I think everyone is different. And our job is to say OK because they often give us the globalization language and we say okay so let’s be specific. And what does that mean for you. Because we can expect their partner to interpret or perceive it exactly how they are delivering it what it means for them.

So this communication is what becomes just like when we’re rebuilding a home or a brand new home everybody needs to communicate the window guy and the plumber and the electrician. Absolutely everyone has to know are the ones that put power points in the wrong places to get out. Okay. So I think what the takeaway message is today is that sure knock down rebuild if you can’t do it alone then you go to a proper therapist who’s got the expertise to help you not to tell you what to do but to help guide you.

But there’s certain criteria that need to be met so that this can be done safely because usually you only want to rebuild your home once and you’ve got to put that context of as us as therapists. This is how I always imagined the way I work with people always if I mean that knock down rebuild I’m the architect and I’ve got this table full of all different ideas.

They individually pick up what every little bit No I don’t like that but I like that or I like that but I’d rather it ran and I’m I’m the one has all the information and may cherry pick. You were talking about something before and I imagined all these cleaning products on the table like you know green ones and you know really strong ones and different sorts of gloves and they get to pick. You know it’s not our job to make them change their minds or do this.

Our job is to provide them with options. So you know and so like we’re almost the person at McDonald’s. Would you like fries with that. So we see the things it’s like what you want this. But you know you’re talking about having a holiday once a year and doing this and doing that work. So how does that work. Where do you get that money. So it’s it’s not a pipe dream. It’s very logical.

It’s emotional but it’s not emotive. And so it’s about being very logical and planning and Okay well how do you know we’re here. You want to get to there. What steps do we need. And that’s where an architect like a canceling out tactic. We help with the steps that get them to where they want to be and you start saying they might want to be straight away the mail. Okay. How do we get there. It’s like we’re not doing a marathon.

We’re starting little things little and often and they’re sustainable. And then the trust comes back. And then you know that dating starts and then they start liking each other and then there’s a chemistry and some physical connection and then they the love comes back and then they start planning trips and futures and all that sort of stuff and it is very organic and it goes at their pace and they’re only as good as the homework they do will fit.


Well I guess that’s knock down and rebuild in a nutshell. So do all of our listeners if you wanted to get in touch to learn more you can contact Toni Langford counselling through your website 

So Toni thank you so much. You’ve been just awesome today I’ll see you next time I’ll think of a brand new topic from this. 


Oh I’ve got so many topics I could keep going for days. I thank you.

Amanda Dounis

Positive Thinking Clinic

1/7 Magdalene Terrace

Wolli Creek, 2205

0458 850 850



It is important to know that resources are available if you are experiencing anxiety , and exploring other websites, such as mindaustralia, and headspace.  

I welcome you to visit my podcast to learn about anxiety basics.

In any emergency you can always reach out to lifeline.

Help is also available for kids, and support for families too.

You may find my Coping Skills Handbook a great resource.  It teaches kids how to cope with everyday challenges using a simple C.O.P.E. formula.

You can find out more about me on natural therapy pages or psychology today

I am a level 3 member of the Australian Counselling Association and am a member of the Hypnotherapy Council of Australia

Here is a short clip on FAQ at Positive Thinking Clinic https://youtu.be/GNWaRVsC-OU

Ways that Positive Thinking Clinic can help you https://youtu.be/m0z-f0PSQNM

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