Relationship Therapy is an exploration of the metaphorical space between two individuals in connection with one another. Its focus is on the interaction between the partners and the origins of each individual’s behavior in terms of their relationship with their primary caregivers. The core belief in this orientation is that change will occur when each individual makes a concerted effort to learn what their partner desires and what triggers them to either withdraw or confront them. Effectively, the result is a greater understanding of their partner.
This can be accomplished through learning a variety of communication techniques, a two-way process that not only involves the articulation of one’s feelings but also listening to the “other” in order to confirm that what one heard was accurately received. One of the goals of communication is to make sure that each partner accepts the other for who they are while not attempting to pass judgment or change them.
Looking for Love in All the Right Places
The characteristics that bring two people together are not as obvious as one may think. There are the conscious ones such as sense of humor, good looks, gainfully employed, and ambitious, which are readily identifiable. However, below the surface, there are the unconscious traits operating as well. These may be traits that have been either suppressed due to a family rule while growing up or a trait that one yearned to develop and has found in the other. It is these traits that we look for in the partner to make us whole again. Since they are out of the awareness of the individual, it is incumbent on the therapist to bring them into awareness. Human beings have a very difficult time dealing with the unknown and only when they can understand the motivation behind their behavior can change take place.
Take for example the person who has grown up with parents who never allowed him/her to do for themselves. They never felt the feeling of accomplishing something on their own. This person may have unconsciously chosen a partner whom they hoped would teach them to be independent. The partner, on the other hand, may be totally independent and feel suffocated when his/her freedom is violated. He may unconsciously expect his partner to keep her half of the bargain. From time-to-time there are going to be issues around the giving of space to the other, likely to cause friction between the couple. Until each is able to communicate their feelings and understand what the other is going through during these times, the crisis will continue. These conflicts are, in reality, gifts, creating the potential, for each, to expand and grow as individuals.
While extremely effective when working with partners in a committed relationship, many of the strategies employed by this therapeutic model are effective with individuals as well. So, if one of the partners in a relationship refuses to come to therapy or someone is looking to get into a relationship, they can benefit too. I want to hear your story. Click the button below to contact me and schedule a consultation.