Relationships are at the core of people’s lives and sense of wellbeing, and even the happiest and healthiest ones are subject to the stresses and strains of modern living. These tensions, if not addressed, escalate to a point where, sadly, separation can seem the only possible option. In certain cases, this could be in the best interests of both parties but, for many couples, matters can often be resolved by sensitive, kind listening, and a gentle exploration of the roots of the conflict and distress. Often a couple’s relationship emerges from these dark, testing periods stronger and healthier than previously.
Behaviours thought to be the cause of tensions and arguments are often symptoms, erupting from an underlying, and not immediately recognisable and understood, cause. Professional help provides support in identifying these causes, and in non-judgementally exploring the respective triggers and sensitivities of each partner. These tend to be found in an individual’s history. Past hurts can accumulate and dovetail, intrusively forcing their way into one’s present life, and awakening some very raw feelings.
To protect ourselves from pain, we may defensively attack the other person, or we may close down and distance ourselves emotionally. Neither of these behaviours may necessarily be done consciously and deliberately. But both of these undoubtedly increase a couple’s feelings of disconnectedness and hurt. And, in this way, a vicious circle of distress becomes established.
Couple therapy aims to interrupt this cycle by providing a safe and respectful place for attentive listening, exploring and reflecting, with the aim of building a more satisfying relationship, founded on mutual understanding, closeness and trust.