Couple’s Therapy

Emotion focused and Psychoanalytic approach to Couple therapy
Sometime the couple who therapy are contraindicated for conjoint couples’ work becauseeither of the spouses doesn’t seem motivated to work in joint sessions.So, probably a concurrent couple’s therapy might be the best option in the beginning.
• The couple are emotionally distant from each other and their relationship has reached a point where the wife wants a divorce.
• Suppose the wife in the story seems to have experienced isolation and lack of secure connectedness/attachment as a child, and these experiences seem to inhibit her from being secure in her relationship with her husband.
• From experiential family therapy perspective root cause of the problem faced by this couple is emotional suppression (Nichols & Schwartz, 2006). Therefore they are locked into self-protection and avoidance.
• Beneath the defensive expression of anger and withdrawal (the secondary emotions) there seems to be hurt and longing (primary emotions) (Nichols & Schwartz, 2006).
• The couple in question seemsinsecurely attached. And therefore we see perhaps the husband fears vulnerability and so shows frustration instead, and on the other hand the wife because she fears vulnerability her response is more likely to be withdrawal (Nichols & Schwartz, 2006).
• If mother wasn’t a good container, the projective identification is carried out with greater intensity and frequency and continues to be used as an ego defense in adulthood.
• That partner’s communicate about feelings without engaging in blame game.
• Each partner listens to and understands the other partner’s perspective.
• That couple share thoughts and feelings in a manner that promotes intimacy.
• Develop an attitude of acceptance toward each other, forgiveness toward shortcomings, and tolerance toward unique personality and behavior traits.
• Express the underlying primary emotions that promote understanding.
• Help each spouse experience a secure base in the therapist and facilitate a relationship that is reparative through the individual therapy.
• The therapist explores the each spouse’s unconscious phantasies as they arise in relation to the therapist, as s/he works through the transference in the individual therapy. Also identification of projective identifications and the developmental deficits experienced by the client.
Intervention: Emotion focused and psychoanalytic strategies
• Assessment- creating an alliance and explicating the core issues in the couple’s conflict using attachment theory.
• Identifying the problematic interaction cycle that maintains attachment insecurity and relationship distress.
• Uncovering the unacknowledged emotions underlying interactional positions.
• Reframing the problem in terms of a problematic cycle with underlying emotions and attachment needs.
• Encouraging acceptance and expression of disowned needs and aspects of the self.Help them with ‘Emotional Expressive Training’.
• Encouraging acceptance of the partner’s new openness.
• Encouraging the expression of specific needs and wants and creating an intimate, emotional engagement. And facilitating new solutions to unresolved relationship issues.
• Consolidating new positions and more honest expression of attachment needs.
• And the therapist brings into focus requirements of the reparative or developmentally needed relationship through the interpretation of transference and countertransference (clarkson&Nuttal, 2000).
• The therapist being therapeutically attuned to the client continues to provide a holding environment and be a container in the therapist-client relationship. Here the therapist gives a temporary secure base by modeling a non-excluding style of care giving. (Byng-Hall, 1990).
1. Nichols, M.P.&Schwartz, W.(2006). Family therapy (7th Ed). Pearson. NY
2. Sholevar, G.P. (2003). Couple’s Therapy. In G.P Sholevar&L.DSchwori (Eds), Textbook of Family and Couple’s Therapy (p.417-581).American psychiatric Publication Inc.
3. Clarkson, P.&Nuttal, J. (2000). Working with Countertransference. Psychodynamic Counseling 6(3), 359-379.
4. Byng-Hall, J. (1990). Attachment Theory and Family Therapy- A clinical Overview. Infant Mental Health Journal (11)3, 228-236.