According to Gottman, a leader in the field of couples therapy there are four factors which are predictive of relationships ending.
- Criticism of your partner’s personality
- Stonewalling, or refusing to interact
Gottman further maintains that couples who function effectively treat each other with consideration, and are supportive of each other. In relationships couples often lose their way and the above factors creep in and relationships become stressed and conflictual.
How do couples resolve this?
With the help of a skilled couples therapist couples are supported to communicate in ways that allow each person in the relationship to ‘listen’ and reflect and to learn how to appreciate and enjoy one another and to learn to live with the differences that exist.
Couples are supported to manage conflict and create a sense of shared meaning and connection in their relationship, helping them to make sense of their struggles.
There are 5 principles of couples therapy:
- Changes the views of the relationship. Throughout the therapeutic process, the therapist attempts to help both partners see the relationship in a more objective manner. They learn to stop the “blame game” and instead look at what happens to them as a process involving each partner.
- Modifies dysfunctional behaviour. Effective couples therapists attempt to change the way that the partners actually behave with each other. This means that in addition to helping them improve their interactions, therapists also need to ensure that their clients are not engaging in actions that can cause physical, psychological, or economic harm.
- Decreases emotional avoidance. Couples who avoid expressing their private feelings put themselves at greater risk of becoming emotionally distant and hence grow apart. Effective couples therapists help their clients bring out the emotions and thoughts that they fear expressing to the other person. Attachment based couples therapy allows the partners to feel less afraid of expressing their needs for closeness.
- Improves communication. Being able to communicate is one of the core elements of intimacy. All effective couples therapies focus on helping the partners to communicate more effectively. Couples may require “coaching” to learn how to speak to each other in more supportive and understanding ways.
- Promotes strengths. Because so much of couples therapy involves focusing on problem areas, it’s easy to lose sight of the other areas in which couples function effectively. The point of promoting strength is to help the couple derive more enjoyment out of their relationship.
Please be advised there is currently a 4 to 6 month waitlist for appointments with Martine.
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