Sometimes in our relationships we hit a difficult stretch of road. It happens early on, after the first honeymoon period comes to an end. Or it occurs later, as a result of recurrent misunderstandings, or just the wear-and-tear of daily life. You feel bitter, because you know your partner can make you happy. They used to. Or you feel betrayed, because you know your relationship can be a haven of safety and comfort. It used to be. Or hopeless, because it worked before, and now it doesn’t, and it’s mysterious what happened.
It’s very possible to again experience companionship and joy in your partner relationship.
I make use of a very fluid adaptation of Imago therapy in couples work. This provides a framework so we can track progress, but remains responsive to the specific needs of the couple.
Our work focuses on developing an effective communication style. On noticing and becoming interested in the fact that two people use the same words to describe different realities. That an awareness of this counteracts a lot of the right/wrong, if-you-win-I-lose thinking that characterizes our process when we don’t feel safe. On increasing each partner’s awareness of their own needs in relationship as they were established in childhood. On reawakening to what drew you together in the first place.
When isn’t couple’s counseling a good idea? When there’s domestic violence or other forms of abuse present. When either or both partners are practicing an addiction, or are in their first year of recovery. In these circumstances it might be better to take on some individual work first. This might include anger management training or recovery work.
Not all partner relationships follow the same pattern. I have familiarity in working with people in consensual non-traditional relationships, including domestic triads.