Interview - Charmaine Saunders

Interview: Charmaine Saunders, Counsellor, Author and Relationship Expert - 17th August 2006

What's your background?
12 yrs English teaching in girls' schools before starting my counselling career in 1983.

How and when did you discover that personal development and counselling were your calling?
my students always teased me about being more interested in what made them tick rather than what I was teaching them. So after 12 years of teaching, I needed something more personally creative and remembered that my highest scores in my undergraduate studies were in psych and sociology. Went back to study and qualified in '83.

In your line of endeavour what do you find most rewarding?
I enjoy all aspects of my work and esp. the variety but the most rewarding task I perform each day is answering questions from people all over the world about problems and personal concerns.

How many people have you assisted over the years?
thousands and thousands, thru counselling, radio, TV, seminars, classes, public speaking and of course in the last few yrs, over the net.

How do you maintain a work / life balance?
used to be a workaholic but for the last 10 yrs or so, I combine long working hours with plenty of breaks, no early starts and plenty of time-out, find nature particularly healing, sit outdoors a lot and go to the river/sea etc at least once a week. Social life in moderation is also refreshing.

Can it help to write down ones feelings?
very much so. I encourage my clients and students to write a reg. journal and esp. in times of crisis and extreme emotion.

Is there any stigma associated with consulting with a counsellor?
a lot less now than say 10-20 yrs ago. Guys tend to be harder to get into the counselling room but make excellent clients once they commit.

What media appearances have you made over the years? (see the website)

Who are your life and business mentors?
I don't imitate or follow anyone else's path but I admire people who have made a name for themselves and run companies, employ heaps of people, have power in the world though that's not my personal style. I have been strongly inspired by Louise Hay over the past 15 yrs.

Have you see the "relationship blog", Sam In The City? If so, how would you feel about contributing to that?
if she were willing to give me a small space, maybe for a sex or singles q & a, that would work well.

Can the internet be harmful to relationships?
again, more of a counselling quest. than my pr info. Short answer - yes

Does the internet assist you with your professional endeavours, and if so, how?
very much so. When I began working on the net in 1998, I had a vision of reaching people all over the world, writing columns etc but never dreamt of the scope that I've achieved since then. The other positive aspect for my career is being able to reach editors and publishers etc easily and quickly. I once earned $2000 for one article which I sold to Harlequin Worldwide just by writing to the editor of the website.

Is it a good idea to talk about sex and relationships on television is shows such as 'Talkin Sex', 'Beauty and the Beast' and 'Sex In The City'?
very, very important because even though we think we live in enlightened times, sex is still misunderstood and creates a lot of guilt. It's especially important to talk about sex in a natural, informative way for young people. If it can be done with an entertaining style, all the better

What void would you fill in the Australian television landscape?
I have a special talent for reaching people from all walks of life in a very down-to-earth, practical way that they relate to. I make people laugh yet am comforting and warm in my approach. On TV, I'm natural and credible, explain things in an accessible way.

Why is it so important to make your partner feel valued? (dumb question, I know)
counselling question.

What star sign are you?
Libra with Capricorn rising and Pisces moon which is a good balance because Libra is all about fun, very sociable and friendly; Capricorn is all about work, discipline and achievement which has helped me gain 4 degrees, write 6 books and do all the other work I've done; Pisces makes me very kind-hearted and creative and giving.

What do you do to relax?
I must read every day - it's as important as breathing to me. I must be around nature on a reg. basis, I like to walk, sit in my garden, I love watching TV but only shows I enjoy, I love eating out, especially lunch with friends, I love to laugh and play with my cat, I find my spa hugely relaxing and also, a lovely bubble bath - all very simple things.

What's your motto?
that we are responsible for our own happiness and it's only as hard as allowing it - that each day is a new beginning and life is a wonderful gift to be treasured.


Editors note: One of Australia's premier relationship counsellors. Charmaine has authored many books including Winning Relationships, which is a must read for anyone involved in relationships of any kind, and that's all of us.

Charmaine Saunders official website


Charmaine Saunders

Winning Relationships


Mind, Body and Spirit