The initial approach to couples therapy or couples counseling, as with individual therapy, is a conscious decision to get help. So there is a "joint decision" before the first couples therapy meeting. It is very important that at least for a "joint attempt" both want to come to couples therapy. This small agreement is already part of the therapy process and often not so easy to achieve.
Due to strong mutual hurt or blame, the relationship may be so stuck that anything together seems impossible. Perhaps one person has already separated internally. Sometimes couples who come to therapy are only together because of the children. Sometimes, however, there are completely different reasons, such as an unwanted pregnancy testing a couple or perhaps there are different ideas about relationship concepts. Often it is major changes in one person in the relationship that cause uncertainty, anxiety or even panic on the other side. This is where objective couples therapy on neutral ground can be helpful.
In the couples therapy session or couples counseling, you talk honestly with your partner. Because there is nothing to lose. I guide the conversation if it needs it. Otherwise, I listen and pay attention to fairness. At the end of the session, I analyze my view and probably give a homework assignment.
Therapeutic approach to couples therapy
Couples therapy or couples counseling are open conversations with an open outcome. You decide what to talk about. As a couples therapist, I make sure that both partners can bring up their issues on an equal footing. How often you meet with me for couples counseling is decided by you as a couple. Often it depends on how the mutual understanding for each other develops. Because that is what it is all about in the first place: mutual understanding and forgiveness.
In most cultures, people live in groups/communities. In Western cultures, it has become accepted that couple relationships form within groups. So if two people have found each other, they try to share their love but also their longings, fears and problems in a kind of "love longing". This is not easy - because every life has individual "love longings" and often lacks the courage to share secrets, guilt, bad conscience, habits. Often we do not dare to show our partner our honest ME because we are afraid of losing or hurting the other person. Lack of trust, lack of understanding, focus on our own needs or problems leads to isolation and withdrawal of love. Love sometimes disappears secretly.
What is couples therapy?
Procedure of a couple therapy
How we proceed is undogmatic and depends on you.
Whether you would prefer to meet with me as your therapist individually first, or we do a three-person session, we can discuss. The important thing is that both want to come.
In so called "narcissistic influenced relationships" sometimes a feeling of love is not felt at all - by one or both partners. Here additional individual therapy would be important.
In the three-person session, each person gets the right to describe without interruption from his/her point of view what is disturbing, what he/she wants and what he/she doesn't want. Then we put it all in order and take the most important issues for discussion. The main point here is to listen and develop understanding. Once we have gathered enough common understanding, there will be a peaceful outcome - no matter what it looks like. How often we see each other depends on how mutual understanding develops.
Exercises for at home
Often, stalled relationships are about the "languages of love." Do you know the book by Gary Chapman?
"Five languages of love" by Gary Chapman.
1. praise and recognition.
2. togetherness - time just for you.
3. gifts that come from the heart.
Read it together and find out what makes your partner(s) feel loved or unloved and why. Through socialization, parents' treatment, karma or whatever we call it - every person has very individual love needs. And that's why every human being also needs very individual addresses. Maybe you don't know the love needs of your partner or your partner doesn't know how you feel lovingly addressed?