All posts by Howard Todd-Collins

About Howard Todd-Collins

Grad.Dip.Couns.HS, M.Couns.HS, Counsellor/Psychotherapist, Consultant MACA Howard is the director and owner of Men and Relationships Counselling. He passionately believes that given the right space and environment, men open up and talk about their lives in a way that empowers them to take steps to change. He has a strong connection to the growth of men, with over 15 years experience in designing individual and group programs for men and fathers as well as facilitating human relations groups. Go to > and Learn About Our Consultants – What We Do And Why

Men and Relationships

4 Simple Steps To Improve Relationships.

Some men get stuck when it comes to improving their relationship.

Many blokes avoid the issues altogether, deny there is even a problem or wait for their partner to try and fix it!

This sounds like a rather cynical view of men and relationships in general.

However, a startling statistic coming out of the research by relationship expert Dr John Gottman  describes that, on average, a couple wait 6 years before seeking help!

That’s a long time!

There are numerous ways couples try and improve their relationship.
They organise date nights, negotiate equal shares of domestic and parenting roles, buy gifts etc.

Are these really enough or is there a more comprehensive way to solving the problem?

First steps

When relationships get really stuck, most blokes, indeed, most partners, struggle to resist their desire to fix their partner or demand their partner fixes themselves!

This can lead to further conflict or at least keeping relationships stuck as partners become more and more defensive.

Becoming aware of your contribution towards unhappiness in your relationship is a significant step to break any impasse.


An obvious suggestion is to talk about your worries, thoughts and feelings with your partner.

If you’re like many men, however, this idea is usually met with one of the following:

“ I don’t have the time to talk. Our lives are so busy”


“ What on earth would I talk about? What would I say” 

Inevitably the longer you wait, avoid or deny there is a problem, the likelihood is that things get worse.

What follows is a 4 step guide to prepare you to start talking with your partner.

  1. If you could create the kind of relationship you want to have, what would that relationship look like?

The purpose of this first step is to help you reflect on what’s been lost and what could be gained or retrieved in re-establishing the kind of relationship you want.

How and why did you and your partner get together in the first place?
What were those character traits, values, or behaviours that drew you to them in that first instance?
What new traits, behaviours and attributes that you have grown to love in your partner since you met?

Here are some examples of the kind of relationship partners want:

Men and Relationships

Take some time to make a list of your own.
  1. What is required of you to create that relationship?

Here’s where it gets interesting!

How do you contribute towards a happily connected partnership?

How does your style of communicating determine the mood in your relationship?

Think for a moment about your communication style, emotional and physical needs and expectations. Do these help or hinder the kind of relationship you want.

How do you initiate ways to get close with your partner? Or are you waiting for them?

Here are some examples to consider.

Men and Relationships

Time to be honest with yourself!  Make a list of your own.

  1. How motivated are you to improve your relationship?  What might be your blocks?

Motivation to change really boils down to how much desire, effort and time you are willing to put in.

All relationships are a work in progress, including yours!

However, do you know your own personal blocks or obstacles that may be a major hurdle to changing your relationship?

Here are some examples of what kind of blocks can get in the way:

Men and Relationships

What are your blocks?

4. How do you help your partner feel loved and appreciated?

How do you show the love?

Are there practical things you do? Or, is it the physical affection you offer?
What about the ways in which you communicate?

Expressions of love and appreciation are important to sustain in committed relationships.

Here are some examples:

Men and Relationships

List all the ways you show love and appreciation of your partner.

This is just the beginning!

After completing the above questions, ask your partner to follow the same 4 steps.

Then create some uninterrupted time to discuss each of your responses.

It’s likely that you may need to talk more than once about your responses.

Try and avoid a debate or argument. The conversation needs to be calm and non judgemental.

It’s a discussion that requires empathy, curiosity and care. It’s all about how your relationship can move forward.

Take the steps, and let me know how you go!

If you need help, give me a buzz!

Men’s Counselling – What do men talk about?

Men’s Counselling helps blokes in all sorts of ways.

Have you ever wondered what issues are discussed in men’s counselling?

In their attempts to make more sense of their lives, blokes discusses a variety of life events, relationship problems and emotional health.

At the core of the conversation is their desire to become better versions of themselves.
Men are not alone in struggling to make sense of their lives.
Many of their problems are similar to the experience of women, and significantly the same for many, many other blokes.

The themes covered in men’s counselling can be categorised in terms of more general difficulties or quite specific in terms of relationship problems.

Here’s a snapshot.

General difficulties

Men's Counselling


Relationship problems.

Men's Counselling

Counselling is a form of self-care

Counselling helps men initially to find ways to stay calm and clear headed through turbulent times.

It’s the kind of conversation that promotes and teaches self care, a critical component of health and wellbeing.

Men are, in general, notoriously bad at looking after themselves.

Too many men end up managing their stress with activities that are numbing, distracting or shaming

Good self care can be defined as follows:

“Self Care needs to involve activities that are nurturing, joyful and create a sense of wellbeing”

Reducing Stigma

Counselling is becoming a more acceptable way of getting support and essentially a space in which men begin to learn more about their capacity to change.
This exclusive, private conversation guides men to pay more attention to thoughts, feelings, ideas, hopes, dreams and goals.

It’s the ultimate self-care package!

Call now to find out more!

Valentines Day

Is Valentines Day an accurate measure of love?

Valentines Day can be a mixed experience for some relationships.

Some couples see Valentines Day as an essential ingredient of their romantic and intimate lives.

Accordingly, they plan, organise and manage the day with relative ease and comfort. Indeed, it can enhance their love, intimacy and connection.

However, for other couples it’s more complicated!

Millions of men and women sweat nervously as Valentines Day approaches.

There are thousands of thoughts going through the minds of thousands, probably millions, of men and women.

Possibly,  it’s fair to say, more likely men doing the sweating than women!

Valentines Day

Expressions of love may never be captured in one day.

The pressure of Valentines Day depends how much you get seduced by the commercial hype and your capacity to genuinely express love and romance to your partner as a natural form of communication.

Take the pressure off!

It’s highly likely you already know how to express your love and appreciation of your partner. Think for a moment of:

  • All the things your partner likes
  • The activities they enjoy
  • What makes them smile
  • Their passions

If you don’t know, now is the time to find out!

How do you do love and romance?

Valentines Day doesn’t have to be the one day of the year to show love.

However, how you express your love to your partner is important.

Do you:

  • Tell them ‘I love you” regularly
  • Do stuff for them
  • Buy surprise gifts throughout the year
  • Take them out to dinner, holidays, weekends away
  • Show physical affection
  • Stay in touch throughout the day
  • Compromise your own needs sometimes
  • Make yourself available when they are struggling


This Valentines Day don’t wait another 364 days to let your partner know how you feel about them.

How do you express your love for your partner?