Who We Are

Couples in Step is a boutique-style agency (we don’t want to be too big or multi-faceted) that works solely with couples to create secure and safe relationships through rebuilding, repair, and recreating security and trust in the partner relationship.

We believe close relationships are as important for human beings as food, water, and shelter. We believe most relationships can be saved by helping couples understand that misunderstanding, not malice, is at the root of relationship distress.

Our therapeutic model has no room for blame – we believe both parties are part of relationship distress, and we foster positive motivation in overcoming reactive/difficult behaviour.  We are proud of the many successes our clients have achieved over the decades of our practice.

Our Founder’s Story

Irene Oudyk-Suk lived and worked in the Philippines for three years. Upon her return to North America in 2005 she began Couples in Step.

Here are her words:

“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 neighbours, 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?’

“I was also away from supportive friends and family, adjusting to a society not my own, managing household staff for the first time, figuring out work environments so different than what I was accustomed to–it all exacted a toll on my marriage, as is the case for many couples who take their marriages abroad.

Irene continues below, but first this well-known fable…

Irene Oudyk-Suk, founder of Couples In Step

Irene Oudyk-Suk Training & Experience

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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.”

Irene continues…

“I can’t single-handedly end HIV in Africa, bring peace to the middle east, 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 building a team of therapists who share my devotion. There are no shortage of relationships that could use a new lease on life.

But it’s not just the couples who come to Couples In Step…

Saving starfish one at a time - like saving a relationship, one at a time

Makes a Difference for Irene, too

The effort Irene and her husband expended on their relationship, in the Philippines and in adjusting back to North America, reminds her 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 my relationships and my work with couples.”