Why Relationship Therapy?
"We are born in relationship, we are wounded in relationship, and we can be healed in relationship."
Working on a relationship – caring for a relationship
We don’t only brush our teeth daily, we also regularly see a dentist; we service our car and repair it as soon as we feel something isn’t quite right; we water and feed our flowers so that they can grow well. However, with our relationships, we often expect that it will be easy and low-maintenance. We expect it will turn out well without us really having to bother much and grow without getting much nurturing.
Repeatedly couples say they don’t need therapy because they are not in such a bad condition. Also repeatedly couples start to grief during the good-bye-process about what might have been possible if they had started working on their relationship with a therapist earlier, and undergone the process of change in consciousness sooner. Plants need water before they dry out.
Fear of separation through looking at the relationship closely
Many people hesitate joining their partner for couples therapy or a couple's workshop because they feel unsure about the outcome for themselves and the relationship. Indeed consequences cannot be foreseen, however, turning a blind eye to one’s relationship is also no guarantee, as many separations show. And without looking at and feeling not only the beautiful but also the difficult and vulnerable aspects of a relationship many chances of personal growth and mutual healing go untapped.
Some people feel guilty or at least blamed in their relationship and are afraid a therapeutic setting would give such feelings more space and weight.
An (Imago-) relationship therapy is no trial and no test. It is not about finding out who is guiltier, who is less to blame, who is right, and who is wrong. On the contrary it is the realisation that in a relationship two hurt/vulnerable people get together who tend to hurt one another through ways they try to protect themselves, and about increasing safety and connection in the relationship through a better understanding of this context.
Shame and the dirty linen that should be washed at home
Despite developments in the late 60s and 70s giving a public voice to private matters, many people today still feel embarrassed not only to admit difficulties in their love relationship but more so to seek professional help from the outside. It often doesn’t come easy to talk about intense feelings and awkward behaviours with other people, be it in a couples therapy with a therapist or in a group setting like a couples workshop.
All the more touching it is to witness again and again how relieved and alleviated many people become once they have managed the first step to therapy or workshop by discovering and realising how „normal“ their behaviours and experiences are, how common many patterns in relationships are, and by seeing that all couples undergo challenging phases. The wheel does not have to be reinvented by each and every couple!