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Weibliche Paare zu Hause

Couples therapy

Here I present possible contents of couples therapy.

The term couple here should not only mean dyadic, but should also include diverse forms of intimate relationships in addition to monogamous relationships, such as open and polyamorous relationships. 

For more information about the framework conditions click here:

Sequence

At the beginning of couples therapy, we develop consensual goals and discuss framework conditions, although there is no obligatory structure. The sessions usually last 50 minutes and cost €100 per couple. My contributions are in the nature of recommendations that the couple can experiment with inside and outside of the sessions. I have experience with intercultural and LGBTQI* relationships and like to reflect with clients on the extent to which gender or culture/language-specific peculiarities are significant in their cases.

Therapeutic background

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) forms the basis of my perspective on couples therapy. Other approaches that I like to work with in couples therapy include Emotion Focused Therapy (EFT), Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT) and common communication models: controlled dialogue, the four-ear model, non-violent communication.

Attitude

 

“For the heart, life is simple. It hits as long as it can.” Karl Ove Knausgard
 

Even though openness to the outcome is important and a peaceful separation can be a valid goal, I try to focus primarily on the positive aspects of the relationship in the sessions, which sometimes receive too little attention. I strive to understand every point of view and be impartial. Not only to convey acceptance to each individual person, but also because the principle of emotional connection means that only joint solutions can work.
 

“To know love, we must be honest with ourselves and others.” bell hooks
 

I believe that problems are part of a relationship and are not the exception, but the rule. Many couples* believe that what has already happened to them is extraordinary and particularly bad and draw profound conclusions about their inadequacy. My view of humanity and my experience with relationships, on the other hand, is that we all make mistakes, but are rarely malicious or sick, but - to think more compassionately - have simply lost our way and should find better alternatives. A mindful perspective and caring support from outside can help develop new ways of thinking and behaving that can give the relationship a new perspective. Developing a common, gentle language - verbally, but also in gestures - is often part of improving the quality of relationships.
 

"Must one think? Won't one be missed?" Ingeborg Bachmann

Many people experience partner problems as “heart against mind” and demand the realization that the clear mind must finally prevail against the dull heart. There are undoubtedly cases in which this is true. But in my experience, an overly rigid mind is more often the cause of the problem than a lazy heart. Far too often we get lost, tangled up and caught up in the constructions of our minds. On the other hand, if we can trust our hopes more than our fears, a brighter perspective can often emerge.
 

“Love is an activity and not a passive affect. It is something you develop within yourself, not something you fall into.” Erich Fromm
 

I would like to encourage you to see the quality of the emotional relationship as a product of behavior and not as a purely physiological coincidence. I am convinced that through a mindful and loving attitude and caring actions we can prepare the ground for trust, security and intimacy.

Content

In my experience, partnership problems often cross several levels, which is why attempts to solve them should be made through various approaches. When problems have already manifested, symptoms of withdrawal or escalation usually appear. Typical causes of conflict and approaches can be:

  • Everyday stress: Here it helps to recognize contextual factors and apply pragmatic problem-solving strategies 

  • Withdrawal: Learning to communicate, accept and implement needs cooperatively

  • Dysfunctional patterns of interaction (aggression, power games, mistrust, etc.): This can be about developing an understanding of the biographical interaction patterns, mindfulness and techniques for emotion regulation

  • Frustrations regarding intimacy/sexuality: Find ways to acceptance, rapprochement or opening up

  • Stagnation/lack of orientation: What vision do you have of each other? What qualities in your relationship would you like to promote in the future?

  • Critically question rigid concepts, entrenched attributions and subjective truths and open yourself up to new experiences

  • Hurtful communication: learning to speak to each other more gently and sensitively

For more information concerning my focus on diversity please click on the following links.

Gender Sensitivity

Cultural Sensitivity

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