PACT is a fusion of developmental neuroscience, attachment theory, and arousal regulation and is quickly gaining a reputation for treating the most challenging couples. Clinicians learn how to use "bottom up" interventions to help couples make changes in the ways that they relate to each other.

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 so she can help you resolve the underlying issues in the ‘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 or attachments. This model works with the core issues created by a couple together unconsciously leading them towards secure functioning.

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.  

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

Weekend fees: Penrith: Couple Session $250.00 per 60 minutes (including GST) and Haberfield Fee: Couple Session $295.00 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 with all aspects of the self supported and encouraged for integration. Her Relational Psychotherapy training in Transactional Analysis and Psychodynamic approaches she uses helps the people Melissa works with successfully change aspects of their personality as well as help with relationships and connection with self and others.

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.

    Weekday Fee: Penrith - Individual Session $180.00 per 50 minutes (including GST) and Haberfield Fee: Individual Session $195.00 per 50 minutes (including GST).

    Weekend fees are: Penrith:  Individual Session $210.00 per 50 minutes (including GST) and Haberfield Fee: Individual Session $225.00 per 50 minutes (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

The Core Profile Process - The Key To Inner Freedom

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”.

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. 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) - Weekdays only.

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

Couples who see Melissa regularly also use Zoom for check ins in between sessions too! Ask Melissa how Zoom can help your therapy process.

3 Day Couple Intensives  - Please email for 2020 availabilties!

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. 

15 hours of intense couple therapy plus pre-intensive online session, extensive pre-questionnaire and follow up session.      

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

48 hours notice required for all cancellations or full fee is charged