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Couple therapy: an aid to rebuild links

Couple therapy: an aid to rebuild links

May 17, 2024

Couples therapy is a type of help that many marriages or people involved in courtships use to get out of their relational crisis.

This option breaks with the idea that psychotherapy is a place that is attended only to express ideas that affect only oneself: psychology can also be applied to affective bonds and communication between two people.

  • Related article: "How to know when to go to couple therapy? 5 reasons of weight"

Interview with Cecilia Martín, psychologist

On this occasion we interviewed Cecilia Martín from the Psicode Institute, to explain what are the keys to couples therapy.

What are the types of problems most couples come to therapy for?

Although the motives are very varied, the most frequent reason for couples to consult now is infidelity.

Infidelity in couples, both men and women, is more frequent. And infidelities are forgiven. They are not a cause of rupture. But for the person to forgive and regain trust in their partner, they need therapy.

In the Psicode Institute we work the deep crises that couples go through after discovering an infidelity. And in 90% of cases, couples recover and even emerge strengthened from it. "I never thought I could forgive him and now I'm very glad that I found out about the deception. We love each other much more and we feel more united than ever and I trust our relationship "are some of the testimonies of our patients.

Another of the great reasons for consultation in couples therapy is that we help them recover their passion. Passion with capital letters because people want to feel for their partner and want to feel loved and desired by her.

After many years of relationship, routine and monotony often wear down the couple and sexual desire decreases. It is a current complaint of both men and women. Low sexual desire is often interpreted by the other as "you do not love me anymore" or "you do not want me anymore". And those misinterpreted messages produce a lot of suffering for people. One of the key points of our couples therapies is to recover the spark in the relationship, to recover the passion and the burning desire for the other.

In other cases they may be jealousy, dependence on one of them, problems of lack of space and care for oneself or difficulties in making decisions.

Sometimes they come to make the decision to continue together or not. Not because they misbehave as a couple, but because there is a conflict in values, each one has a scheme and they can not reach a "walk together". For example, having or not having children, giving up a career to accompany the couple to another country, the demand to have open sex by a member of the couple, etc.

And in other cases, recurrent discussions and conflicts are the main reason for consultation.

Couples want to learn to solve their differences regarding different topics, for example, with the political family, education of children, social relationships, domestic responsibilities, and fail to reach agreements. In some cases the communication becomes aggressive and the discussions take place in front of the children, which further aggravates the situation.

In these cases what is done in couples therapy?

In couples therapy, they learn to solve those problems by which they argue over and over again. The couple enters a daily conflict loop from which they can not leave. As soon as the subject of conversation is removed, it already produces tension in the environment. Why does an apparently simple subject cause so much commotion and so much aggression in the other?

Not only are issues of communication and points of view different but there are more emotional components involved. Possibly that theme drags a lot of history from the past and is touching weak points of each one.

All these factors are what we analyze in therapy: the fears of each one, the life stories that have marked their character, etc. Once you get to the click! It is easy to find solutions and couples manage to stop arguing.

Many times, when the couple's therapy is represented in the media of audiovisual fiction, the writers focus a lot on the discussions and conflicts that erupt during the sessions. Are discussions really part of the normal functioning of this type of therapy?

In our consultations we try that these scenes do not happen. Our philosophy is that "to discuss a psychologist is not paid, because they already know how to do it alone". Couples already have enough with the wear of their discussions at home to reinforce it in the consultation.In addition, allowing it would help to create more distance, because the psychologist is ahead, because we all like to be right, everything is magnified more (consciously or unconsciously) so that it is on our side.

That is why we avoid these situations although we do not evade the problems. The psychologist must know how to mediate correctly and prevent the climate of tension in the consultation from rising. The objective is for the session to end well and for the couple to emerge stronger from each session and having learned something.

What are the main objectives of this form of psychological intervention?

The main objective of the therapy is for the couple to believe in love again. That they feel that their relationship is worthwhile and that they feel that they have chosen someone special with whom to share their life. When the couple achieves this, they feel full and motivated to solve any adversity.

How do we get it? Well, sometimes you have to work things from the past. Reprocess and close the past to look at the present. Couples come with so much distrust, resentment, disappointment .. If you do not work the grudge for the past, this boycott the present.

We work on the expression of feelings and increase the emotional approach between them. We teach them effective communication techniques, we act as mediators in the discrepancies, we help them to recover their passion and, above all, to make them feel like a "team" to solve future difficulties that are part of everyday life.

Which are the most common and recurrent couple therapy variants, and how do you know which one best suits each case?

The couple therapy variants depend on the therapeutic approach that each professional works. From the Psicode Institute we work under an integrative approach, with techniques from different approaches: systemic therapy, cognitive-behavioral and even psychodrama techniques for more emotional work.

Each couple is unique and requires a unique job. There are usually no universal solutions that work for everyone. For this reason, couples do not find the solutions by looking at their friends. It is a deep work that tends to be more complex than individual therapy.

What kind of measures are promoted from the therapy so that the couples who come to this service commit themselves to make progress?

Ideally, the two members of the couple should come motivated to make changes and work together. When this happens, the therapy is usually brief and the changes are obtained in very few sessions.

But it is not usual. The normal thing is that both of them, or at least one of them, is already very tired of fighting for the relationship. They usually ask for help when they are already exhausted and when they only see separation as the only way.

In these cases you have to work motivation and look for the strengths of the relationship. Help them find the reasons to stay together.

Is it normal to go to couples therapy without having much hope of improving the situation?

It is the usual. We start from the base that most people when they call us to make an appointment, is because the ultimatum of rupture is just around the corner.

They say that when they come they have tried everything, but it is not true. They have tried again and again solutions that do not work, or that even aggravate the situation. They need the expert psychologist to help them see what they do not see.

Some, when they ask for an appointment, despite giving them as soon as possible, we find that many times in those days the couple has already ended the relationship and they do not go to their date. It's a shame, because they did not exhaust the last cartridge.

At other times if it is true that they come too late. For example, in infidelity problems, couples often ask for therapy when infidelity has been repeated several times. Here the person who has been betrayed, is so disenchanted that in order to restore confidence it takes more time for therapeutic work. If couples sought help after the first episode of infidelity, it would be much easier to work.

The good part of the unbelievers in the possibility of improvement, and that despite this they tried, is that they are then rewarded for their effort. They are the ones who are most amazed by the changes and therefore more grateful they are with their partners and with their decision to start the process.

Does this pessimistic perception of things change over the course of sessions?

Clear. As the process progresses and you see the changes maintained over time, optimism and credibility in the couple appear. Many couples, after experiencing the results of couples therapy, recognize that if they had known it, they would have come earlier. Couples therapy works.

When couple therapy does not seem to move forward, what do the causes tend to be?

When one of the members does not really intend to fight for the couple because he no longer loves her, but the couple therapy continues, only for a secondary gain for himself. It may happen that one of them wants to save the relationship, but it is clear that he needs to see a real involvement in the other in the therapy because if not, it is separated.

We have seen cases in which one of the two who wants to continue in the relationship but not because he loves his partner, but because the break involves a series of losses that he is not willing to assume and comes to couple therapy to prevent his couple you leave.

For example, the fear of losing their purchasing power, not wanting their children to live with separated parents, etc. The attitude of these people prevents the real development of couples therapy and it is very difficult to move forward.

In what situations would you recommend going to couple therapy? How to know if the problem is significant enough to take this step?

We recommend to go when a problem appears that causes suffering to the couple and that they can not solve by themselves. Sometimes, if the couple comes early to ask for help, in very few sessions the problem is solved and the couple can continue happy.

If the problem has not been solved and they just let it go, that problem will come out later in the future and will make the situation worse.

What would you say to people who start to wonder if their relationship is viable?

Important decisions in life are taken from a rational state, from calm and serenity. If you are in a situation where you are overwhelmed emotionally because in your partner there are constant confrontations, resentment and anger will not let you see if the separation solution is correct.

In the short term it can be a relief, but in the medium or long term you may realize that there were other options.

Rethinking infidelity ... a talk for anyone who has ever loved | Esther Perel (May 2024).

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