Ah the passion! Feeling that promotes butterflies in the stomach and a sparkle in the eyes when facing a loved one. Everything becomes lighter when you are in the company of those who chose to share your life. But, as the experiences go by, it is natural for the couple to feel more comfortable to be who they really are.
When routine becomes present in relationships, passion gives way to a critical look in relation to characteristics and behaviors that were not previously expressed and/or perceived. The relationship can have major impacts, and if you are not careful, it can lead to the end of a love story.
For a healthy relationship to exist, it is necessary to share reflections, respect for differences in position and opinion. However, these reflections are not always likely to be carried out.
Demands like these are recurrent in a psychology office. But how can psychotherapy help? Let’s understand more about this?
What is Couple Psychotherapy?
Couple Psychotherapy is one of the possibilities of action of Clinical Psychology. The sessions take place in an appropriate therapeutic setting, that is, in an environment free from external exposures and interruptions.
The consultations are conducted by a Psychologist with the objective of promoting interventions in an ethical, confidential, non-moral way, so that the couple achieves the desired answers to resolve the difficulties faced in life as a couple.
It is noteworthy that, to start couples psychotherapy, those involved do not necessarily need to be officially married. Couple means all relationships, regardless of a formal union.
With a welcoming and impartial posture, the professional has the function of being the intermediary of the couple, expanding the possibilities of healthy dialogues, promoting reflections, helping to modify old patterns of behavior that gave rise to conflicts, emphasizing respect and reciprocity in relation to the positioning of each.
How does Couples Psychotherapy work?
The sessions take place weekly and last 50 minutes, but it is noteworthy that the weekly frequency can be intensified if this need is agreed between the parties. When the foundations of conflict are identified as intense and rooted for years, sessions can take place twice or more during the same week.
All meetings take place at the same time and on the same day of the week. Respecting these psychotherapy rules is understood as the first therapeutic exercise, since most couples do not have the time, habit or willingness to spend 50 minutes a week to talk, reflect on the behaviors and feelings caused by the relationship.
Some professionals adopt the posture of carrying out the first individual session, so that they can understand what is happening in the relationship as a whole, get to know the psychic dynamics of each one, as well as the individual demands facing the difficulties faced in the relationship. For example, it is common to observe that some behaviors can be seen as the center of the initial problem, but for the other party, this same behavior does not justify the couple’s crises.
Depending on the dynamics of the couple, the professional may also request individual sessions throughout the couple’s psychotherapy. For example, if one of the parties is dominant and does not allow the partner to speak, the professional may request an individual session, enriching the couple’s next session.
As in individual psychotherapy, couple psychotherapy demands active participation, it is noteworthy that the desire for psychotherapy has to prevail for both. The themes addressed during psychotherapy are all those that refer to the relationship between the couple, that is, all subjects can be mentioned, but only those related to the initial complaint will be taken care of.
More important than the weekly sessions are the couple’s reflections between sessions. It is common for the psychologist to suggest activities to be performed throughout the week, these exercises can vary according to the couple’s demand. Some activities can be carried out in partnership, while others are suggested for the purpose of individual reflection.
It is worth emphasizing that the professional does not have the power to dictate what each person should do, but to exercise the importance of reflection between the couple. The therapist will always be just the facilitator and the couple responsible for choosing and implementing behavior changes.
It is not possible to specify the exact number of sessions that will be sufficient to resolve the initial complaints, it will depend mainly on the couple’s commitment to modifying patterns that cause conflicts and on the understanding of the importance of improving the dynamics of coexistence.
When to seek couples psychotherapy?
The disagreements and thehe conflicts can happen with any couple, but when the frequency intensifies, causing discomfort, disrespect and communication becomes complicated or unfeasible, it is extremely important to take care of the relationship. That is, when the couple realizes that it is no longer possible to resolve conflicts as a couple, it is important to consider starting the psychotherapy process.
However, couple psychotherapy can also be successful when performed preventively, even before the onset of the crisis between the couple. Performing psychotherapy preventively is to promote self-knowledge and wisdom to live with the couple’s possible daily conflicts. Psychotherapy as prevention helps mainly to avoid hurts, resentments, future symptoms of the couple and everyone involved in this dynamic.
How do you know if it’s time to start Couples Psychotherapy?
When the couple is unhappy with the direction of the relationship and understand that there is a need for changes, regardless of whether these changes lead to the rediscovery of love, or to the desire for divorce, it is the ideal time to start psychotherapy.
Each relationship is a universe of possibilities, experiences and fantasies. For each couple, the need to start psychotherapy may have different reasons, but the objective of the sessions will always be the resolution of conflicts and the elimination of suffering.
As important as thinking about couple psychotherapy is being available to carry out individual reflections on marital problems.
Be aware that, for the couple’s well-being to return, a contribution is also necessary in their individual plan, that is, to be available to ask questions regarding their own behaviors and to understand that both are responsible for the weakened relationship.
It is important to emphasize that couple psychotherapy is not the solution to the separation, especially if the couple sought therapy after years of discomfort, hurts and withdrawal from experiences. But when psychotherapy is started preventively, the relationship can be “saved” before even thinking about the possibility of divorce.
There are several stimuli and situations that influence the progress of psychotherapy, so the results depend heavily on how the parties will appropriate the reflections originated in the sessions.
What are the most frequent reasons for seeking couple psychotherapy?
There are a multitude of possibilities that lead couples to the Psychology office, but couples with difficulties to readapt to Relationship Changes during the various stages of the relationship are often present.
Cycle transitions in the relationship:
Newlyweds: the shock of daily contact can cause discomfort in the relationship, causing discussions. It is suggested to start couples psychotherapy preventively even before marriage, so that the couple has coping resources to live with the necessary adaptations for a good daily relationship in the face of the new life together.
Psychotherapy for newlywed couples
Birth of children: the maternal and paternal role can cause the couple to estrange. Adapting to this role can take some time, influencing the couple’s affective and sexual rapport.
Children’s education: disagreement in relation to child rearing are also frequent causes of discussions that influence the couple’s affective life.
Children leaving home: the Empty Nest Syndrome brings the need to readjust the couple’s routine, in this situation they may face an emptiness not only in the presence of the children, but caused by the lack of intimacy and experiences between the couple. At this stage, couple psychotherapy is essential for a reunion, rapprochement and reflection on the importance of allowing themselves to experience activities dedicated exclusively to the interests of both.
Couple psychotherapy birth of child
Within each item mentioned above, there is an opening for different demands, which may or may not be associated with these cycle transitions, such as:
Discontent with the relationship in general.
Lack of admiration for the partner (a).
Incompatibility of values and plans.
Verbal or physical aggression.
Too much jealousy.
Difficulties in communication.
Difficulties in relating to families of origin.
Seeking help in these situations can promote important reflections for the resolution of such conflicts. Allow yourself to go in search of a healthier relationship!