This title refers to a book by Patrick Casement and was both informative and self-effacing at the same time.

We find at Coupleworks that we learn all the time from our clients and never more so than during 2020 and 2021.  Resilience, tenacity, the will to alter their systems in all areas, managing bad feelings and atmospheres brought about by too much close contact without periods of separation while at work.  Everyone became more comfortable with the Internet and its Zooms, Skypes, Face Times and Whatsapps.  The third dimension was removed and though a loss it was also a gain to meet in a two dimension way which can approach relationships in a more measured way.

With these changes, I have noticed that Couples and those who seek a partner can enter therapy trying hard to smooth out the sharp edges between them, learn different emotional languages, listen and hear each other and become more discerning and less judgemental.  They hope to unblock the log jam and allow intimacy to begin to flow again.

Alongside these shifts, I have, over time, noticed an ability to mimic new words and phrases very quickly so through the internet new words become normal almost overnight.  This is encouraging when working as a Couple and Single Therapist because it illustrates how, if the will is strong enough, new things can be inserted into behavior patterns as well as into our dictionaries.

Some of these have become integrated into our language so fast that we hardly notice:

Lean in. Reach out ‘Like’ and ‘Right’ inserted into sentences as an additional punctuation mark

The answer to questions starting with ‘So’. 

Journey to illustrate our passage through life rather than Sat Nav.

Narrative instead of story.

Notion instead of idea.

If humans can pick up what they hear seamlessly it shows how couples or individuals trying to sort difficult interactions with their partners, friends or family can quickly make tiny changes in how they interact. This can help to defuse a difficult atmosphere and stay with self instead of placing blame.  By trying to analyze their’ partners’ they are not focussing on themselves rather, they are using ‘you make me’ or ‘you always’ or ‘if only you’ more than ‘when I feel a certain way about something which has just happened, it makes me feel….’  

By altering their emotional language as well as their everyday verbal interaction they can return to their original attraction to each other and recover what feels lost.

The need to’ keep up’ and’ keep on’ the same page as our own and other life stage peer groups has become instantaneous universally so being aware of personal intimate language and how it can open up areas of pain in self and others can also be achieved with a little thought.

Clare Ireland