Marilyn Gross
3 Thomson Street
Brighton, Vic 3186
Ph: 03 9596 8608

Else Gingold
91 Grange Road
Glen Huntly, Vic 3163
Ph: 03 957 68620
 

 

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Most people want to be part of a couple - to share the joys and sorrows of life, to care for and be cared for, to be understood and to understand, to dream together,to have children with someone who is both a lover and a friend.  Married or not, the dreams include being together for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health.  But sometimes the dreams go terribly wrong. The statistics for marriage and relationship break up remain very high.

Couples therapy can often help.

Couples may present for help over a range of difficulties – infidelity, fights over money, addictions,  (especially gambling and alcohol), infertility or an unexpected pregnancy, worry about the behaviour or emotional state of a child, sexual difficulties, or simply the fear that the “loving feeling” has been lost. 

What happens in couple therapy

is dependent not only on the presenting problem.  The therapist needs to find out: 

* what the couple wants from each other – are their goals and wishes similar?

* how realistic are their views are of each other – do they really know each
other well?

* how willing is each to accept the other for who they are?

* what ways and patterns of problem-solving or avoiding problems have developed– is there a chance   for an honest and respectful exchange of difference? Is there a capacity to listen to the other and to put forward one’s own thoughts?

* how does each member of the couple feel about him or her self?  Are they able and prepared to think about what they contribute to the relationship?

Not all of these things may be consciously known but can come to be recognized.
These and other factors affecting the relationship come not just from the relationship itself but have been influenced by many experiences in the life of the pair, from early upbringing and family experiences to opportunities, crises and traumas faced as life progresses. 

In working analytically with couples, then, it is not just the presenting problem that is discussed.  A full history of each partner is taken and a great deal of thought is given to thinking about how the couple are with each other and the therapist. 
Generally speaking, no “advice” is given and the solutions will be found not in the therapist’s ideas of how things should go but will emerge from the work.  Each person gets a chance to know themselves and their partner better, and to find better ways to fulfill those wishes that brought them together as a couple in the first place.

Some couple work is done entirely with the couple, sometimes one or both partners may have individual sessions.  This depends on what becomes clear during the assessment. 

At all times, however, in couples work the therapist/counsellor is mindful of the fact that it is a couple that has come for help and that both people must be kept in mind.