Counselling approach with couples
When working with a couple my role as a therapist is different. My main aim is to enable a couple to express complex feelings to one another. I support the couple to listen to each other in order to gain a better understanding of each others emotional experiences and each others behaviour.
The couple therapist’s responsibility is to the relationship and both partners should get equal time, attention and understanding from the counsellor. The task is to enable a couple to make sense of their relationship dynamics, the roots of their difficulties as well as understanding difficult, painful or hurtful feelings which arise within the relationship. This can bring about improved communication and relating for the couple. Making sense of the conflict between the couple can lead to inner growth and change in the relationship as well as for each partner. In some instances a couple decides to separate and the couple therapist will try and support the couple to work through this process.
‘In seeking therapy,the couple has, consciously at least, agreed to try to find another way, and the involvement of the couple therapist, who is temporarily allowed into their relationship,offers the possibility of a third perspective’ (C. Wrottesley:’Three in the room’. Therapy Today March 2018)’
I have recently completed a post-qualifying training with ‘Tavistock Relationships’: ‘Certificate of the Study of the Couple Relationship’.
Please read on to find out how ‘Tavistock Relationships‘ defines couples counselling:
‘Counselling and couple therapy can help people understand why their relationship is in distress or why they feel distant from their partner. It can clarify, for example, why both halves of a relationship might be feeling under stress or that the lines of communication have broken down. Sometimes it is to deal with a sexual difficulty between partners or to help cope with losses that have yet to be mourned. Sometimes it is important to think together about what is going on and to make links to patterns of relating that will have started when both partners were very young, perhaps replicating or rejecting aspects of life in their families of origin.
Relationship therapy can be helpful in this situation for both individuals and couples, as it looks at what lies behind current difficulties, paying attention both to the past and the present in order to bring about change.’