Couples Therapy: Partnership Change Processes

Characteristic of a couple’s therapy is that the practitioner does not see himself as an expert who solves the problems of the couple. Instead, he acts as a moderator who guides and accompanies the change process in the partnership. He clearly states that the problems in the partnership arise through the mutual relationship patterns and neither of the two partners blames for the problems.

The therapist actively seeks to establish a trusting relationship with the partners and to fashion a framework in which both can express their feelings and needs. In doing so, he usually uses the characteristics of client-centered interviewing. He brings appreciation to both partners, empathizes with their feelings and thoughts, and behaves as he is (authenticity).

An important goal of the couple’s therapy is to nurture the autonomy and personal responsibility of the partners so that in the long term they are able to solve their problems independently and to lead a happier partnership.

In doing so, the therapist attaches great importance to the resources and strengths of the two partners – for example, what they have coped well despite all the difficulties. He also emphasizes small changes in a pragmatic direction and praises the clients extensively. He can also highlight the positive aspects of previously negative behavior. For example, the reproach “Once again you have forgotten our wedding day!” Can also be interpreted as: “You are important to me. That’s why I wish that you think about our wedding day. After all, I still love you. “

The Benefits of a Couple Therapy

When two partners are in crisis, many, often violent feelings are involved: anger, disappointment, hurt, sadness. The therapist as a “neutral third party” can help constructively tackle the problematic issues despite this emotional confusion. She is the one who keeps calm and prudence in conversation and thus offers a constructive framework in which both partners can meet during the couples counseling. In addition, she can use specific conversation techniques to direct the conversation in one direction, to bring more calm into an emotionally charged conversation, and to help the client to perceive her present feelings more clearly.

The therapist as an outsider and as an expert in interpersonal relationships often has more authority to steer the conversation and initiate change. Finally, it can give the partners confidence if they see the case as hopeless. For example, after a session that didn’t go well, she may say, “Today we didn’t have a good time with our conversation. There are many feelings come up, also a lot of anger and injury. And then, of course, you are hardly able to find solutions. But such feelings are sometimes there and sometimes less. I am sure there are good chances that we will progress better in the next sessions. “

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