About Us

​RIA  is the brainchild of Trish and John. We first met in 2005 when we were asked to co-facilitate a lifestyle management program with a group of Vietnam veterans. During the program, we discovered that we shared an interest in helping people live more satisfying, fulfilled and enjoyable lives.

Over several years of working together and refining our thinking and knowledge about what works and what doesn’t work in helping couples, we conceived the idea of Relationship Institute Australasia.

Since meeting in 2005 we have been honing our skills, and adding to our theoretical knowledge and clinical skills through formal training and reflective practice.  Finally, we launched RIA in September 2012.

Our guiding principle, is to utilise sound, evidenced-based approaches to help people build, repair and rejuvenate strong, sustainable relationships. We are also committed to developing and training relationship therapists across Australia, NZ, and Asia.  Expanding the network of expert therapists will assist us to reach as many people in as many communities as possible.

Together,  we have more than 60 years of career experience in the fields of community engagement, organisational development, group process, clinical practice, relationship counselling, life coaching and professional training.  In addition, we have more than 40 years experience of being in intimate relationships with our own spouses Mark and Tracy.

How can we help?

We can help by providing couple counselling in person; via Skype or FaceTime; or through one of our range of workshops.

​Based on the work of world renowned couples researchers and therapists, including John and Julie Gottman, Susan Johnson, Dan Wile and others, we provide a straightforward framework in which any couple can learn tools and exercises to renew, repair, rebuild and rejuvenate their relationship. Our evidence-based approach to relationships provides a clear and uncomplicated structure to improving/strengthening relationships.

A strong, healthy and fun relationship can be a cornerstone of support in your life. Good relationships improve all aspects of your life, strengthening your health and wellbeing, your career, your resilience, and your connections with family, friends and colleagues. Relationships are your most important investment; they provide the structure not only for love and connection but also for families, finances and recreation.

Strong relationships do not happen by chance.  John Gottman says couples generally fall into two broad categories - masters of relationships and disasters of relationships.  

We know that the masters of relationships think, feel and act in ways that create long-lasting bonds of connection. We know that successful relationships are developed on the bases of friendship and appreciation.  Masters use respect and gentleness in managing conflict and build upon each other’s goals and aspirations.

However, when relationships are not working, significant stress, anxiety and negative conflict are created. We know that the disasters of relationships turn away from each other and rarely give positive feedback or demonstrate appreciation toward each other. When in conflict, disasters of relationships use contempt, criticism and defensiveness to protect their position.  Good listening is nonexistent.

Our programs are filled with practical strategies that go to the heart of what makes relationships strong, meaningful and connected. We will provide you with the techniques to strengthen and build stronger, closer and more intimate relationships.

Couple Counselling

Couple Counselling can be managed in a number of ways.

In Person

Attend one of our offices on the Gold Coast or be referred to a suitably proficient professional in your state for 1 or 2 hour sessions.  To make a booking on-line with Trish right now, click here!

Skype or FaceTime

Arrange Skype or FaceTime sessions with Trish or John for 1 or 2 hour sessions.  To book on-line with Trish right now, click here!

Marathon Therapy

Book a 2 or 3 day marathon adventure with either Trish or John (2 or 3 intensive days just focused on you and your relationship – weekend marathons available) in one of our offices on the Gold Coast

Weekend Workshops

Presently we offer 2 weekend workshops for Couples

The Art and Science of Love Couples Workshop

A well researched and validated 2 day workshop for couples of all types, at all stages of relationship, this workshop is filled with practical, simple tools and exercises that confirm, strengthen and/or restore your satisfaction, fulfillment and love in your relationship.

Bringing Baby Home

A 2 day workshop for new and soon to be parents that teaches couples how to strengthen their friendship, increase intimacy and regulate conflict, during that testing time of bringing home a new baby, and/or parenting a houseful of small children.  Couples also learn about child development, how to co-parent with their partner, and discover ways to keep both parents involved.

Where do I start?

Take ACTION now!

Begin improving your relationship today.  Sign up to recieve our informative articles and stories about how to foster connection and depth in your relationship.  More importantly, attend our Relationship Recipe workshop and tak the first big step forward in taking charge of your relationship and making the changes you want and dream about.

Over the years, we have worked with newly committed couples who want to get off on the right foot for the rest of their lives together. We have also worked with couples who arrive with very little hope of saving their relationship and leave with renewed optimism and the skills and strategies to maintain a strong relationship.

“We can’t prevent all relationships from ending……. But we try really hard to!”
        Trish Purnell-Webb 2012

10 things you can do now to start improving your relationship.


Start catching your partner out doing good things and let them know.


Everyday say 20 positive things you appreciate about your partner to one negative thing; that’s right, a 20:1 ratio. This is about building up the emotional bank account.


Start really listening to what your partner is saying. Suspend your judgements and invest in understanding their needs and desires.


Spend time getting to know your partner’s interests, likes, dislikes, favourite movie, music and so on. Remember, we change over time. Updating what we know about each other is essential.


When in conflict with your partner, look for the aspirations and future goals within that conflict.  Remember, conflict is a normal component of relationships.


Always remember, the use of contempt, criticism, stonewalling and defensiveness in conflict is highly destructive.


Research clearly shows that the use of contempt in relationships is the number one predictor of divorce.


Manage your own stress levels and by learning techniques to reduce your physiological and psychological symptoms of stress and anger such as increased heart rate, tightness in the body and narrowing in thinking.


When your partner bids for your attention, turn towards them and show genuine interest.


Take a moment to breathe.  Book in to one of our ground-breaking workshops.


Thank you for your enquiry. We will get back to you soon.

Let's Talk

To best direct your enquiry, please fill out the following form, including a brief message. One of our relationship professionals will reply as soon as possible.

If you require urgent assistance please call
1300 791 870 or contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 http://www.lifeline.org.au/

By submitting this form the information provided will be added to the RIA database and used to provide you with helpful hints on strengthening your relationship and advance notice on upcoming events and workshops in your state. All information will be kept private and not used in any way other than stated here.


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By submitting this form the information provided will be added to the RIA database and used to provide you with helpful hints on strengthening your relationship and advance notice on upcoming events and workshops in your state. All information will be kept private and not used in any way other than stated here.