When individuals enter into a relationship, a whole new world of experiences, both exhilarating and challenging, unfolds. Initially, a couple is in a state of bliss. They are energized by good feelings and each is devoted to the good of the other. Over time, numerous factors may either foster or hinder the couple’s ability to maintain a mutually enhancing relationship
Difficulties can emerge for a variety of reasons:
Often couples manage to deal with their problems and even become stronger for it. Sometimes, even the hardiest of couples find themselves stuck and need to turn to outside resources for help. These resources can include family, friends, spiritual supports, or counseling and therapy.
The AIM of the therapist
The therapist aims to provide a safe, non-judgmental setting where the couple can enter into a meaningful conversation. Each individual not only talks about his or her thoughts and feelings but also learns to listen deeply to the other’s thoughts and feelings. In a spirit of cooperation, therapist and couple identify key issues, strengths and gaps. They focus on what’s going right and figure out how to support each other in meeting needs and overcoming obstacles.
Typical issues that arise in couple work include:
Therapist and couple explore a variety of approaches. Sometimes improving communication skills and understanding of each other is enough. Sometimes practicing to notice what each admires about the other helps. At times, it may be important to do deeper psychological work around unresolved issues of the past. Developing internal and external resources can be critical. New perspectives pave the way to new behaviours. Education, mediation, real-life practice and psychotherapy all play a role in helping a couple to re-discover their lovingness. In some cases, these approaches can help a couple end their relationship as constructively as they wish.