helping couples reconnect

Irene Oudyk-Suk, MSW, RSW

Irene glassesHello, I’m Irene Oudyk-Suk, the marriage & couples counsellor and sex therapist at Couples In Step. I’m passionate about couples therapy.

Let Me Tell You Why…

philippines mapMy husband and I lived in Manila, Philippines for 3 years. Away from supportive friends and family, adjusting to a society not our own, managing household staff for the first time, figuring out work environments so different than what we were accustomed to–it all exacted a toll on our marriage, as is the case for many couples who take their marriages abroad. But there’s more to my passion for couple’s therapy than my own experience.

Living away from North America changed me from a Canadian citizen to a world citizen. I personally looked into the eyes of women and children caught up in the sex-trade industry. Day-to-day life in the developing world helped me more easily appreciate the aspirations of people from Haiti, Zimbabwe and Thailand. Mudslide, tsunami and typhoon victims were my near neighbors, not distant strangers. I wondered with an urgency I never knew before, “With all this suffering in our global village, how can I really make a difference?”

Makes a Difference for That One

A familiar fable tells of someone walking along a starfish littered beach after a storm. She comes upon a beachcomber throwing marooned starfish back into the ocean. The woman out for a stroll is amazed, and asks the beachcomber, “What are you doing?”

Saving starfish,” says the beachcomber.
Why? There’s so many! Throwing a few back won’t make a difference.”

“The beachcomber picks up another starfish, throws it back into the ocean and responds, “Makes a difference for that one.”

And that is how it is for me, too. I can’t single-handedly end HIV in Africa, bring peace to Afghanistan, or rebuild Real, Quezon (mudslides in Philippines that claimed hundreds of lives during the time I lived there). I can, however, contribute to the healing of the world by helping one couple at a time. And there are no shortage of marriages that could use a new lease on life.

Makes a Difference for Me, Too

The effort my husband and I expend on our relationship, in the Philippines and in adjusting back to North America, reminds me daily of the challenge of living in a global village.

When my husband and I are gridlocked in argument, I sometimes succumb to words of contempt and attack. Reflecting on this, afterwards, I realize that I’ve caught a glimpse, in myself, of the divide between, for example, extremist Islam and secular Western values. Every time my husband and I successfully manage some warm but straight talk, or reach out to heal wounds we cause, I catch a glimpse of what our global village needs–and I’m energized with new hope. That hope fuels my passion to contribute to the healing of the world by focusing on both my marriage and my work with couples.”


Irene Oudyk-Suk has training and experience that is described here. You may also contact Irene Oudyk-Suk via email or call Couples In Step at 416-459-0956. To find out where Couples In Step is located go to location .

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