Couples are complex and unique in the way that they function and what roles partners take on. Traditional couples therapy has generally focused on the Freudian model of how childhood issues affect each partner in the relationship. This methodology can be time-consuming, while leaving less room for the couple’s interactions based in the reality of every-day life.
When partners seek counseling, it is not only more effective, but more alive to focus on real-time discussion during therapy. As a result, each person in the relationship can express the nature of their needs and grievances while learning to listen to and understand the other. These may have been suppressed due to fear of conflict or other concerns. Couples can learn to become increasingly honest with one-another – this in itself creates intimacy and trust when done in the safe space of therapy. In other words, the therapist acts as a catalyst to careful discovery and real-time expression of subjects that may be unresolved in the relationship.
This doesn’t mean that childhood issues are never included. However, what is happening in the present time, how and why thoughts and feelings are not expressed, and assumptions made by each partner can often more efficiently be worked with in the present.
Because people are so unique, couples have their own dynamics that are best understood as their style of communication unfolds. These interactions are full of interest, life, and patterns to be understood and shifted. The focus on getting things done in therapy is often a relief to people, as it doesn’t need to take years to make lasting changes in communication and intimacy. This approach can be extremely effective, especially for highly motivated couples who are willing to look deeply and honestly at patterns and communication styles that may be hampering intimacy.
Katharina Sandizell, LMFT