Just as individuals or even trees, it is normal for relationships to go through seasons, and sometimes reach critical points. Many couples find high value to engage in couples counseling allowing an experienced practitioner to provide guidance and perspective to assist each couple in their own unique process of better understanding and moving from stuck patterns, negative emotions, and to feel a stronger connection and communication. Not uncommonly, couples find that some of their challenges are often also meaningful opportunities to strengthen the relationship with the other and oneself.
Theoretical Frameworks and Training
Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) is an evidence-based couples therapy framework based on the notion that human emotions are based in a real human needs, and gaining a more full understanding of our own and our partners’ needs behind emotions are among key aspects of healing from maladaptive patterns. Needs for intimacy and space, spontaneity and stability, are often in dynamic tension with one another in any relationship whether thriving or not. Changing patterns or negative emotional states comes from a place of deep listening to each other, alongside insight into our own and our partner’s attachment style.
Imago Therapy / Imago Relationship Therapy (IRT) is based in the Latin word for “image” which relates to the image that we each have of what love is “supposed” to look like based on our own familial experiences growing up with our parents / families of origin. This image can often be unconscious and the process is making it more conscious is part of what allows conflict to become an opportunity for growth in the process of Imago therapy.
Couples counseling can be of value at any stage in a couple’s relationship. Though most couples therapists will recommend between 10-40 sessions, sometimes even 5 sessions can provide just the critical momentum. It is hard to give an ideal number of sessions for every couple, as sometimes an original challenge area in the relationship is significantly improves and another area becomes more of a focus for later sessions. There is no shame in working on ourselves to better our relationship, we all have things we continue to learn and to work on.