Three possible reasons for couples therapy
The reasons why couples consider couples therapy or couples counseling are diverse and individual like people and couples themselves. Conflicts and dynamics are in the nature of people and breaking them in a relationship is my main goal in couples therapy in my practice in Berlin Charlottenburg.
Nevertheless, there are some recurring themes and basic patterns that I would like to elaborate on here. You can find more topics related to relationships and other matters of the heart in my couples therapy blog.
Find your way back to love
The issue most couples come to me with is escalating fights. Many can no longer get out of there on their own because it has become so entrenched that a clear view of things is no longer possible. That is because the conflict happens on the emotional level, not the facts level, and when the emotions play rough, a quick conflict solution is hard to achieve.
In emotion-focused couples therapy, the dynamic that is most common is called the "pursuer-withdrawer dynamic," meaning one person (usually the woman) criticizes and attacks and the other (usually the man) retreats. These are subconscious strategies that are usually triggered by the fact that the woman feels not seen and then loudly demands attention, whereupon the frustrated man feels as if he can't please her anyway and is doing everything wrong in her eyes. This overwhelms him and he withdraws. This withdrawal in turn triggers the woman even more and she accelerates even more.
There are also couples who are both in attack mode and others where both partners withdraw and nothing is being discussed (which is fatal). The way out of this is not so easy, because rarely one is right and the other isn’t. So if a couple is fighting over an unwashed coffee cup, the conflict is not resolved if one simply washes it up in a rage. Because the conflict is not the coffee residue in the cup, but the fact that the other once again ignored the desire for order and cleanliness.
In couples therapy, I show you on the one hand how to quickly stop such a conflict dynamic, and on the other hand how to find out what it's really about. And how you can then heal the real deal.
The vanishing sexual desire
I talk here under the tab "Couples therapy" about the vanishing sexual desire, because this is actually, next to quarrels and affairs, the issue with which couples most often go to a couples therapist. I will go into detail in the section "Sex therapy".
Many books have been written on the subject of lack of desire in long-term relationships. Maintaining desire during a marital routine is indeed a difficult endeavor for many. No wonder, after all, excitement and routine contradict each other! But it doesn't have to be that way, there are plenty of examples of couples having good sex for decades. If it is not so, it often has 2 reasons:
1. Sex is not the way either one or both enjoy it. But they often cannot change it, because they do not know how!
2. Both want something completely different. SM and flower sex are hard to fit together. So is three times a day and once every three months.
So does this mean that a couple, which is affected by one of the two points, is doomed to a sexless life? Not necessarily. Because good sex can be learned, and if you're willing to compromise, you can reconcile a lot of things. Does that always work? Of course not. But it is worth a try! In couple or sex therapy, you learn to talk about the often shameful topic more constructively and to find solutions. The solutions can lie in implementing completely new ideas or simply in a more constructive implementation of what is already there.
A third reason why couples go to a couples therapist is that one of them has cheated. Trust is down, communication is difficult. Many accusations lead to even more withdrawal of the cheating person which adds to the lack of trust of the one cheated upon, many repetitive questions make communication difficult, and many negative emotions dominate daily life.
Can trust be restored? It can. No longer the "unicorn glitter trust" that you have when you are still convinced that your partner would never ever do such a thing. But rather an adult trust that comes when you really get involved with each other and work on your relationship .
"The first marriage is over, do you want to start the second?" asks Esther Perel at this point. And if the answer is yes, with the support of a couples therapist the relationship after this difficult time can become better than before, and the bad time of emotional chaos is transformed into an even deeper love. I will be happy to support you in this process.