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What We Might Learn in Couples Therapy

like many things that help our

relationships couples therapy

has a habit of sounding appallingly

unromantic involving patients grueling

work and a host of embarrassing

conversations about matters it would be

much easier never to have to think about

let alone discuss with a partner and a

trained stranger our culture teaches us

to trust and follow our feelings but

couples therapy knows that this is

normally a disaster for our feelings are

for the most part errant and encoded

with primitive responses from a troubled

past

so instead couples therapy encourages a

far wiser response standing well back

from our first impulses neutralizing

them through understanding and where

possible we routing them unless

self-punishing

and more trusting directions living

alongside another person is obviously

one of the hardest things we ever

attempt we should expect to get it wrong

unaided and feel unashamed about the

need for in-depth training there are a

number of vital things we might learn in

couples therapy for a start in a quiet

room we finally have the chance to

define what we feel the problems in the

relationship really are without things

immediately degenerating into shouting

sulking or cynical avoidance we're

normally far to cross with or upset by

our partner to be able to share with

them in a way they'd understand what

we're actually so angry and upset about

it helps to be in front of a stranger

we're both a little intimidated by and

have to behave ourselves with it's

highly unusual to be able to put things

so starkly but also so reasonably for

example the fact that you never touch me

and behave so limply and

unenthusiastically when I touch you is

slowly killing me and though I love you

I don't know how much longer I can take

it how much better this sort of thing

than a decade of low-level sniping and

repressed

fury secondly therapists are skilled

teasing out from us why what bothers us

bothers us normally left to our own

devices we don't unearth the emotional

meaning behind our positions we squabble

about where to go on the weekend rather

than explaining what exactly going out

or staying in represents for us

internally and as a result the other

finds us merely stubborn and mean and

all that's interesting and poignant in

our position is lost thirdly therapists

break up unseen repeated patterns of

upset and retaliation a classic

therapeutic game is to ask both parties

to fill in the blanks when you I feel

odd and I respond by dot so when you

disregard the children I feel rejected

and then respond by trying to control

who you see in the evenings or when you

don't touch me in bed I feel invisible

and respond by being ungrateful about

your money with a therapist acting as an

honest broker new contracts can be drawn

up along the lines of if you do X I will

do Y once we get a little bit of what we

really want but usually haven't properly

asked for the other's needs

feel a lot less onerous and hateful

sometimes the advice at couples

counseling is almost beautifully

pedantic name three things you resent

about your partner and next three things

you deeply appreciate also keep the

criticism specific so not your cold and

ungrateful but if you can call me when

you're running late then families can be

kept intact with little more than this

through couples therapy we are

challenged to abandon some of our

grimmer ideas about how people can be

and what will happen to us in love if I

am vulnerable I'm not necessarily going

to be hurt I might try to explain and

the other might listen we are given the

security to throw

some of the scripts we grew up with

about the futility of ever trying to be

understood we can start to be moved by

another's pain what does it feel like a

good therapist will ask to hear your

partner explain how it is for them when

you we can start to take care of each

other

a remarkable idea comes to the fore that

this other person isn't really our enemy

that they like us have some very bad

ways of getting across

what are at heart some very

understandable and touching needs

couples therapy is a classroom where we

can learn how to love we're normally so

embarrassed about not having the first

clue how to do so we leave things until

we're too angry or despairing to do

anything but hate the most hopeful and

therefore romantic thing we can ever do

in love is sometimes to declare that we

haven't yet learned how to love but with

a little help are very keen to learn one

day the School of Life offers

professional couples counseling with

qualified psychotherapists that can

benefit people at all stages of their

relationships if you would like to learn

more click the link on your screen now