Many couples encounter difficulties and experience distress in their relationship. This can undermine both partners wellbeing and confidence depending on the severity of the problems they face. Other times conflict in a relationship just serve to reinforce self-defeating habits such as self-criticism, shame, and harshness on the one hand or blame, grandiosity, self-righteousness and resentment on the other, At times it can be devastating and the stakes may be very high.
A mistake that couples often make is that they seek individual advice to try and solve the couple’s difficulties (see related article)We believe that attempted solutions that have not been that successful in the past may actually be part of the problem. These patterns of relating tend to be very sticky and hard to change on one’s own without the perspective of a third party.
Talking together with a third person can enable people to get unstuck from difficult situations and unhelpful patterns of relating in a safe and calm way. It can help with conflict resolution, communication, intimacy issues and general relationship satisfaction. We may look together at the way that experiences in our families and childhoods, past traumas and previous relationships inform and shapes the way we relate today.
Couples therapy can also be helpful where one person in the couple is experiencing particular difficulties such as mental health problems bereavement or addictive behaviors that affect both people in the relationship.