Couples counselling and psychotherapy

Melissa is best known for her compassion, non-judgmental style and her capacity to see the root problem quickly. Melissa’s approach to couples counselling is to get to the heart of the problem quickly so she can help you resolve the underlying issues of ‘here and now’. For best results, Melissa recommends the first scheduled appointment to be two hours long and for the initial sessions thereafter to be for two to three hours and then eventually step down to one hour. In the long term, this often means couples spend less time overall in couples counselling. Melissa’s main model to help couples is the PACT approach - Psychobiological Approach to Couple Therapy.

“Melissa is incredibly generous, kind and patient, she made me feel very supported in helping our relationship. I thank you for all the work you put in to giving us the tools to be the best partners to each other that we can. ”

Brett and Lauren, 2019 - Couple in therapy with Melissa.

PACT was developed out of exciting, cutting-edge research in three areas - neuroscience, attachment theory and biology of human arousal. Melissa believes that understanding the unconscious process between couples is central to change in creating love and connection. She believes that telling a couple what to do with “tools” will not change the unconscious dynamics that are set down strongly due to how the brain works, how we are shaped in relationships and early relational trauma. This is why she chooses PACT as the key model for change between couples. This model works with the core issues created by a couple together unconsciously.

What kind of problems does PACT help? PACT is designed to help couples with any and all issues for which you might seek help from a therapist. It is especially helpful for couples considering marriage and couples seeking to preserve a relationship in danger of divorce or dissolution. 

What can I expect when we first meet with Melissa?  Your sessions will include: addressing your primary concerns, talking with your partner while I observe and comment, interviews to identify attachment styles, learning and practicing effective communication techniques, and exercises to help you feel safe and secure with your partner.

We'll also discuss how often we should meet based on the crisis level in your relationship, and I'll explain how I'll assist you in steering your relationships to a better place.  

Penrith Fee: Session $220.00 per 60 minutes (including GST) and Haberfield Fee: Session $265.00 per 60 minutes (including GST).

Individual counselling or psychotherapy

Counselling focuses on enhancing people's capacity to cope with specific life challenges, such as a relationship ending, bereavement or anxiety. Melissa can help you get through a personal crisis, and help you develop goals for the future.  Psychotherapy focuses on achieving change to break destructive habits or patterns. Often people notice that the nature of their personal difficulties are repetitive; similar issues arise time and time again in different contexts and relationships. While Melissa enjoys working with couples, individual work with her clients particularly in long-term psychotherapy and self-analysis is a great passion of hers. She has had extensive training in psychotherapy as well as her own ongoing psychotherapy journey which is central to understanding her clients brave steps to starting this in-depth work. Melissa believes change happens when the unconscious is understood and examined fully. Her Relational Psychotherapy training in Transactional Analysis supports this process.

Here is a testimonial from someone who experienced the psychotherapy journey with Melissa.

Melissa Ferrari offers a wide range of psychotherapy and counselling services in Sydney and deals with issues such as:    

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  • anxiety

  • depression

  • addictions

  • separation and divorce

  • grief and loss

  • life transitions

  • parenting

  • obsessive compulsive behaviours

  • childhood trauma in adulthood

  • problems dealing with family members

  • dating advice and coaching

  • stress

  • recovery from an affair or infidelity

  • sex and sexuality issues

    Melissa can help you achieve better self-understanding and change long-standing patterns of behaviour that may be disrupting your relationships, your well-being or work.

    Penrith Fee: Session (50 minutes):  $180.00 (including GST) 

    Haberfield Fee: Session (50 minutes):  $195.00 (including GST) 

With Melissa’s help this process has taught me how to stand up for myself in my personal and professional life. It has improved my relationships with my kids. My kids have mentioned I am calmer, more approachable and its opened up our lines of communication. My parents say ‘They have their daughter back. My relationship with myself has changed heaps; I learnt it’s ok to be me. Psychotherapy Client with Melissa - 49 Years Old

After many years of studying different modalities this has been the process Melissa has come back to time and time again because it is really effective in helping people discover who they are and how to experience themselves congruently both as how they present to the outside world and how they feel on the inside. This process unveils their “unique self” and helps participants to operate from a place of calm, more ease and peace without automated coping mechanism responses, which often don’t get us what we want from life.The Core Profile is a model designed to identify and map the relationship between the “Authentic Self” and the “Auto Protector” aka The Machine. In today’s terms it would be called “True Self” and the “False Self”.

In 2019 Melissa is offering a 8-week course of The Core Profile - 8 x 50-minute sesssions at a cost of $1450.00. Included will be a enlightening process called “The Gift Ritual” which helps uncover your authentic purpose to assist you in finding direction to your true “inner path” for both work and relationships. Melissa thoroughly enjoys presenting this fantastic body of work to individuals, couples and groups.

If you are interested in Melissa facilitating a group therapy of aprox. 8 in this process please don’t hesitate to email her directly. Group therapy work is one of her favourite things! Here is an account of a participants Core Profile journey.

Zoom Online Sessions

Professional, ethical and empathic counselling and psychotherapy in the privacy of your own home or office with Melissa. Melissa is accredited in offering counselling and psychotherapy online.

Counselling through Zoom online Sessions - Couples or Individuals   

Fee: Individual Counselling & Psychotherapy Session $180.00 (inc. GST) (50 minutes)

Fee: Couple Counselling Session $220.00 per 60 minutes (inc. GST). - These sessions are counselling only. First session it is recommended to book 1.5 hours.  


Next Couple Retreat - Friday 18th October - Sunday 20th October 2019

A couple’s retreat is a great way to re-connect with your partner and remind yourselves of why you are together in the first place. Melissa Ferrari’s couples retreats schedule has been especially designed for couples to take time out together to re-discover their closeness, to feel the love and respect for each other as individuals and to celebrate that special, unique bond that you share with each other. In a boutique rural outer-Sydney location you will experience the luxury of:

  • 2.5 day program with couple relationship education and experiential learning in group and one-to-one check in session with Melissa

  • Private, exclusive spacious spa or balcony room in boutique 4 - star hotel hotel (2 nights)

  • All meals included:

  • New extended programme including Friday afternoon.

  • Friday night: 3-course dinner feast on Friday night with Melissa and the group in a private function room with sumptuous food.

  • Saturday night: 3-course dinner – table for two at a beautiful award winning restaurant known for its innovative cuisine.

Read - 5 Steps to Choosing A Couple Retreat & 4 Signs You Need A Couple Retreat

Melissa is highly knowledgeable and extremely insightful. She makes everyone feel included, respected and safe. By the second day we could all open up without fear or judgement even as a whole group” - Couple Retreat Participants February 2018

3 Day Couple Intensives  

Melissa often sees couples from out of town or interstate for an intensive 3 day process - 5 hours per day of couple therapy at her office located in Penrith. This can be an effective way to shift long-seated resentments and serious problems within your relationship. Many couples find this experience helps kick-start their relationship again without the pain and conflict that has been holding them back from love, intimacy and closeness for some time.


It is also suitable for couples who find weekly sessions hard to schedule regularly due to work and commitments or want to work intensely focusing just on their relationship problem. The 3 Day Couple Intensive fee is for the couple therapy only. YES, you will work as a couple just with Melissa! Accommodation of your choice can be found in Penrith/Haberfield or surrounds. There is an extensive questionnaire that would need to be answered on application for this couple intensive style of therapy to assess suitability. 

The next date available for application is: Available at either Penrith or Haberfield rooms.

Friday 6th September - Sunday 8th Sept 2019 - 15 hours of intense couple therapy plus pre-intensive online session, extensive pre-questionnaire and follow up session.      

            48 Hour notice required for all cancellations

Please note: All testimonials on this website are true and authentic. Names have been changed to meet full confidentiality agreements. All testimonials have been approved by the people who wrote them for use on this website.