I am amazed at how little conscious education most of us have had in how to be as a couple. We take in what our parents or other adults around us do and either try to copy that or to avoid doing it in the same way.
As far as I can tell; schools avoid giving the topic any structured serious attention, some religious groups offer marriage preparation, some celebrities offer themselves up as role models in the media but, for the most part, we muddle along and work it out for ourselves with the odd, or overly frequent, complaint to a friend or family member. Until, perhaps, the wheels fall off and we clam up in shame or act out in some, usually unhelpful, way.
Then, it seems, we either get out as best we can laying off the blame on our former loved one and, once we’ve licked our wounds, possibly starting the whole process over again or we stay fixed in an impasse, closed and defended, cold and distant or hot and combative until, somehow, something or someone changes allowing movement.
It needn't be like this.
Whilst, in the main, most couples don’t get near a couples’ therapist until the wheels are pretty much off - sometimes we get to offer something like an MOT or a service but most of the time things have gone a lot further down the road. I wish it were otherwise but a good starting point for any kind of psychotherapy is to acknowledge what we have and to take it from there.
Most of my work with couples is about helping them to communicate well about where they are, how they got there and about where they would like to go next in the relationship. This we do by way of talking and listening, structured exercises and sometimes homework in the form of skills practice or information gathering.
I addition to offering work with individual couples I am currently exploring the possibility of offering a group for couples to share and explore issues together with others possibly in similar situations once the pandemic allows. Initial thoughts are that this would be offered as a monthly event taking place on a Friday or Saturday or possibly as a free standing week-end experience as part of a themed series. Updates will appear here and on the home page as the project develops.