As a Coupleworks therapist, I have always respected my clients and their agenda for coming into therapy, no matter what the presenting problem seems to be. During the last 15 months, my respect and admiration has grown for people in very difficult circumstances, who continue to try and understand what was happening to their couple.
Communication difficulties are often presented as the reason for seeking a therapist with whom they can expose inner feelings in safety. Interestingly, not feeling heard is often the answer to my asking why they think they are coming into therapy.
Another very important question for me is how did they meet and what was their initial feeling which ignited something special apart from sexual attraction? What did they feel the other person could do for them which no one else had, in their adult life, up to that time?
If expectations and hopes remain unspoken, how can they feel heard? What drew the couple together on meeting can become the difficulty which brings the couple into therapy. Once the couple becomes established in the minds of friends and family, other problems can arise and bring feelings of let down, unfairness, rejection and loss.
We at Coupleworks do Pre Marital/Long term Relationship work and encourage the couple to voice their feelings about each other and how they each feel the other ‘gets them’ in a way they have not experienced before.
This, before the Covid virus raised its head across the world, was already something we worked with quite frequently. During the last 15 months an entirely new dimension has developed causing small difficulties to become more frequent and hurtful. Adult intimate couples are not programmed to live together 24/7. The thread of intimacy before became damaged and torn, in some cases, to the point where neither person was able to hear the other.
My admiration for the continued struggle to understand and tolerate what has happened was always there but is now much deeper and rooted in the continuing search to understand human strength and kindness in unknown and frightening circumstances.
In many cases, we have been working together to unpick the virus which mutated into the root of the couple and inject some carefully explored vaccine to start rebuilding the healthy root and antibodies within the couple to show the hurtful virus the back door.
That analogy illustrates how hard humans work from within to keep themselves and others safe and at ease.