Psychotherapy and Couples: encounter and disagreements
Working with couples in psychotherapy is a complex but enriching experience of one of the most important human experiences: the meeting with the other.
Jacobo Moreno, the creator of the Psychodrama model, define meeting in a fragment of his beatiful poem "Invitation to a meeting" (1914):
"A meeting of two: eye to eye, face to face.
And when you're near I'll tear out your eyes
And I will place them in the place of mine,
And you'll gouge out my eyes
And you will place them in the place of yours.
Then I'll look at you with your eyes
And you will look at me with mine."
It is possible for a couple that, with all their diferences and disagreements, with all their different backgrounds, values, ways of thinking and feeling, to be able to meet each other like Moreno said?
"All you need is love" as the famous song told us. Is that really true? Doing couple's psychotherapy has taugh me that even this concept can be misleading. At the end, thats also another concept to share and understand by the individuals how are in a couple, not everyone feels and thinks love the same way.
Research in couple's therapy show us that in the complexity and beauty of being in love, there are other factors that can be related or not to the subjective experience of love in the couple but are extremely important for being in a heathy relationship. These factors are trust, respect, the use and dynamic of power, assertive communication, commitment and the capacity of intimacy, not only sexual but emotionally as well.
Another interesting way of understanding love and reflect on it in a therapeutic process is Robert Sternberg´s theory about the three components that are in a loving relationship:
Intimicy, that relates to affect and trust;
Passsion, that refers to energy and excitement to be with one another and
Commintment, related to the decision to keep the relationship and their life proyect despite the ups and downs that may arise.
Do you open the possibility to reflect on how this factors and components are operating within your relationship? To openly talk about the encounters and disagreements that you may have on all of them between you?
Couple's psychotherapy enables this possiblity. For me is an not judgemental and creative space where you can explore and reflect about the dynamics and fuctionality of your current relationship, in order to change patterns that can be a source of suffering, discovering the coresponsability that all members of the couple have in them in order to create new and healthy ways that allows a real meeting, like Moreno proposed back in 1914.
For a video demostration of some Psychodrama exercises working in couple´s psychotherapy, visit my "Sharing in Psychodrama" section and search for "CEP11: Sobre las relaciones de pareja. Reflexiones en Psicodrama". (you can also add english subtitles in the video)