When we become a couple and fall in love, we invest a part of ourselves to become a shared identity, which provides us with joy, intimacy and safety. At the same time, it can become one of our greatest challenges.
Couples seek therapy for a range of problems. Some of the most common complaints include a lack of communication, constant arguments, unfulfilled emotional and sexual needs, financial concerns and parenting conflicts. Couples often seek help not because their problems are different from those of other couples, but because they are unable to resolve them. Sometimes, this is because of a buildup of frustration and disappointment over time, or because of a crisis in the relationship, such as an affair, or a traumatic event like an illness or loss in the family. Many couples experience problems when their firm/soft parenting styles become increasingly polarized.
Everyday People Psychology & Family Therapy aims to be a neutral therapeutic space where both partners’ stories are heard and held. Through experience we know that difficulties between couples are rarely due to just one person, as we are complex beings with individual fears, needs and hopes. Often the work involves unpacking the meaning and intentions of past hurts, and understanding how intimacy may have been blocked as a result. Building emotional communication is an essential part of couple therapy.
The aim of couple therapy is to help partners gain a better understanding of themselves and each other, to decide if they need and want to make changes, and if so, to help them to do so. Exploring earlier attachments to caregivers and other relationship partners can help clients understand the current dynamics that get in the way of their connection. Couple therapy may be helpful if you are experiencing the following:
- Ongoing criticism, defensiveness, and little resolution
- Chronic hurt, excessive fears of abandonment and rejection
- Loss of trust in the aftermath of an affair
- Loss of respect and the presence of contempt
- No arguing, but no communication or closeness either
- Persistent sexual dissatisfaction