One of counsellor Samantha Carbon's specialisms is working with couples and here she shares her top 10 revelations that come out in couples therapy.
1) Couples therapy allows both parties to recognise and understand that many of the pain and hurts they experience in relationship stems from their past. Emotional wounds and unmet needs from childhood often spill into the relationship causing frustrations, which can be explored together in therapy.
2) Couples therapy draws attention to conflict which can be seen as an indicator the relationship is itching to grow and progress at a deeper level. This may feel uncomfortable for some at the start but conflict can support both parties to deepen the relationship into a different type of love, from romantic love to real love with a level of emotional intimacy.
3) Couples therapy can highlight the importance of the relationship rather than the individual partner. Couples can begin to work as a couple together and focus on the “We” rather than the “I”. It can be transformational shifting from one’s own needs of gratification to embracing the well-being of the whole relationship. The overall goal is making the “space between” safe.
4) Couples therapy explores the expectations of the relationship. Both parties can learn how to get their needs met but asking, sharing, telling and giving to each other without assuming thus banishing the mind-reading syndrome that often gets played out.
5) Couples therapy can demystify the concept the “grass is greener” as partners can often fantasize over better alternatives to their situation. It’s mature and more productive to work through current struggles that are plaguing the relationship rather than holding onto the illusion a new relationship will be free from criticisms or lack of intimacy.
6) Couples therapy reminds both parties on the importance of play as many forget to enjoy the relationship. Humour, laughter and joy are crucial ingredients as couples who play together, stay together.
7) Couples therapy highlights that nobody is perfect and thriving for a perfect relationship is unrealistic. It’s safer to consciously acknowledge the imperfections and work on being imperfectly perfect together as there is magic in accepting each other’s blemishes. Both parties can learn how to love in the other what they dislike in themselves.
8) Couples therapy can give pointers on better ways to listen to one another. So it’s not what is said but how. The overall goal is both parties can take it in turns, which increases the likelihood that both will be heard.
9) Couples therapy highlights the lack of respect and love the relationship has been missing and craves. It can remind both parties of the affection and praise that was once showered to each other in the beginning. Consciously complimenting each other can keep the marital engine going.
10) Couples therapy can show that differences of opinions and beliefs can be managed. It creates an opportunity to value and appreciate the others point of view in order to get to common ground. I believe the more couples accept each other for who they are, the more they become like the person they ideally want them to be.
Samantha Carbon of Samantha Carbon Therapy, provides counselling and psychotherapy in Shoreditch, Barbican, Ruislip, & Marylebone London.
tagged in Couples