We are never as vulnerable as when we’re in love.
Most relationships will get strained at some time, resulting in a failure to function optimally and produce self-reinforcing, maladaptive patterns. These patterns are sometimes called “negative interaction cycles.” There are many possible reasons for this. Couples therapy is a vital resource in both crisis situations and in general maintenance supporting your relationship to run as smoothly and as satisfactorily as possible within your circumstances.
- Stuck patterns of relating.
- Communication issues/breakdowns/conflict
- Managing strong emotions such: anger/sadness/fear/shame/jealously.
- Obstacles to intimacy/sexuality.
- Power and control issues.
- Betrayals and issues of trust.
- Past traumas and early psychological dynamics.
- Illness and depression (and other emotional difficulties)
- Difference in values.
- Becoming a family and parenting stress.
Some basic principles underpinning how I work include:
- Providing a confidential dialogue which normalizes feelings
- Enabling each person to be heard and to hear themselves
- Providing a mirror with expertise to reflect the relationship’s difficulties and the potential and direction for change
- Empowering the relationship to take control of its own destiny and make vital decisions
- Delivering relevant and appropriate information
- Changing the view of the relationship
- Improving communication
As well as the above basic principles, the following are fundamental to how I work:
- Identifying the repetitive, negative interaction cycle as a pattern.
- Understanding the source of reactive emotions that drive the pattern.
- Expanding and re-organizing key emotional responses in the relationship.
- Facilitating a shift in partners’ interaction to new patterns of interaction.
- Creating new and positively bonding emotional events in the relationship
- Fostering secure attachment between partners.
- Helping couples to rekindle and maintain a sense of intimacy.
At the heart of couples work is looking at the relationship as a system, understanding how the couple co-creates situations esp. negative relational cycles, and how each individual needs to take responsibility for their response to the other’s behaviour. This is the starting place to begin to raise awareness of how negative relational patterns arise and what needs to change for greater relationship satisfaction to happen.
I also support couples to manage the trauma of separation. This involves creating a space of honest reflection and meaning making on the relationship, its journey, where it ended up and the various reasons for the break up, including issues of different, and unmet, needs.
The value of creating a space for lessening conflict during breakup can be extremely supportive for maintaining an ongoing amicable relationship oriented towards co-parenting children.
I approach couples work primarily using the following therapeutic approaches:
- Emotion Focused Couple Therapy. (EFTc). I trained with the the Australian Centre for EFT (Emotion Focused Therapy for Couples). www.aceft.com.au
- Relational Gestalt Psychotherapy.
- Systemic approaches.