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Tangled Emotions & Untangling Relationships: Kellie Walsh on Couples Counselling and More

Updated: Nov 13, 2023

In this article, I'm thrilled to introduce you to our newest team member here at Aly's Place, Kelly Walsh! Kelly, a seasoned professional in the therapeutic field, may be relatively new to couples counselling. Still, her journey from regional Victoria to Washington D.C. and back has equipped her with a unique perspective. Read more as Kelly shares her diverse experiences, deep empathy for those facing depression and grief, and her passion for helping couples navigate challenging transitions.

Kellie's Journey and Background in Counselling

After years living in Washington, D.C., Kellie relocated to Australia in December 2020 amid the pandemic. After three decades in the U.S., she pursued her counselling journey. Before her current role, Kelly worked in addiction rehabilitation. Her background includes an undergraduate degree in psychology from George Mason University. She even ventured into hairdressing, amassing 38,000 hours of client interaction. This unique experience honed her listening skills, which are crucial for her current career as a couples' counsellor. Her transition to this role has been surprisingly comfortable, and she finds fulfilment in helping individuals navigate their relationships.

The Motivation Behind Couples Counselling

Couples counselling piqued Kellie's interest due to its connection with addiction and relationship issues, often intertwined. Many recovering addicts were anxious about facing their relationships without substances as a buffer, starting anew with their partners. Kellie noticed that unhappy relationships made other aspects of life more challenging and saw progress when couples improved their communication. She finds it rewarding to assist couples in creating a more positive environment, particularly when it benefits their children. Kellie also noted how parental relationships often influenced family dynamics and addiction issues, creating a holistic approach to counselling.

Memorable Moments in Couples Counselling

In couples counselling, exploring generational patterns affecting current issues is common. Some couples, like the one Kellie works with, aim to enhance their relationship for the sake of their child, demonstrating their heartfelt dedication as parents. While most couples genuinely prioritise their children's well-being, balancing parenting and relationship care can be challenging. Therapists help by addressing negative behaviours, offering individual sessions, and acknowledging that partners may progress at different rates in therapy, making it a rewarding but challenging task.

Working in a Team of Counsellors

For Kellie, working in a team of couples counsellors has been a truly positive experience. Her colleagues' camaraderie and genuine care provide reassurance and make her feel like she's not alone in her concerns about her clients' well-being. It's heartening for Kellie to see everyone's dedication to their work, fostering a newfound faith in humanity and creating a supportive environment.

Advice for Aspiring Couples Counsellors

For aspiring couples counsellors, gaining experience with individuals facing challenging behaviour and emotional turbulence is essential, as couples often enter counselling with intense emotions. Patience is key, as defences are high, and it takes time, typically more than a few sessions, for couples to make meaningful progress in improving their relationships. The mind-body connection is evident in counselling, as relationship issues can lead to physical and emotional health problems, emphasising the importance of addressing relationship issues for overall well-being.

Self-Care for Counsellors

Kellie finds rejuvenation and energy outside counselling sessions by indulging in her love for bushwalking and motorbike rides on scenic country roads. She recommends exploring the beautiful hiking trails in the Dandenong Mountains and Warburton area, highlighting the accessibility of world-class trails near Melbourne. Her self-care recipe includes hiking and enjoying motorcycle rides.

Kellie brings a warm and empathetic approach to her couples counselling role. Her journey from addiction rehabilitation to this fulfilling career has been remarkably smooth, where she leverages her extensive listening skills honed during her hairdressing days. Kellie's passion lies in helping couples build stronger connections, inspired by her observation that relationships often intersect with addiction issues, affecting overall well-being. Working as part of a supportive counselling team, she finds solace in the shared dedication, reaffirming her faith in humanity. Kellie's advice for aspiring couples counsellors: patience, empathy, and understanding the profound impact of relationships on mental and physical health are essential.


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