Couples Therapist and Psychologist in Pretoria
Couples therapy begins with an individual therapy process so that each person is fully heard and puts their side of the story per se on the table prior to the couple being brought together in the therapeutic space. Couples therapy is for individuals in partner relationships, dating, committed or married. I work predominantly from a relational, communications perspective. Together with my training and experience in couples work, I draw on the works of renowned relationship therapist, Esther Perel and american expert in relationships Terry Real and integrate their works into how I think about and work with couples. Part of this process is resolving unfinished business, enhancing communication, conflict resolution, negotiation skills, as well as enriching intimacy and sex in the relationship. Building safety as well as reigniting desire in the relationship.
Given that our intimate relationships are private, we often try to work through the difficulties we experience on our own without seeking assistance from others. However, once we are trapped in patterns or conflicts we sometimes struggle to get out of these without external assistance or new skills that can be used to alter these patterns. Often relationships improve when specific skills are introduced to the couple, these can be communication skills, conflict resolution skills, or skills around intimacy, depending on the needs of the couple and the struggles that they bring to therapy.
Through couples therapy I assist couples in gaining direction for their relationship or overcoming challenges faced within the relationship. This can be to address specific aspects of their relationship, making decisions, negotiating difficult things to mention a few. I believe couples therapy is about practically addressing the difficulties so the couple can take what they gain from therapy and apply these when at home.
Couples therapy can also be helpful prior to engaging in a life-changing process, such as marriage (pre-marital therapy), before or after the birth of a child (change to the family dynamic) or in the joining of a family (blended families). This is really about assisting the couple in preparing for the upcoming processes or dealing with the changes emerging from a change in the couple’s situation. This may also tie in with family therapy.
Some of the areas where couples therapy can assist include:
- Enhancing communication within the couple, thereby overcoming barriers in communication and enhancing how each individual hears and responds to their partner
- Restoring emotional closeness, intimacy and relationship satisfaction within the couple relationship
- Assisting with sex, sexuality and intimacy
- Identifying and clarifying mutually agreed upon roles and expectations (often pertinent in blended families)
- Developing healthy boundaries within the relationship in order for each individual’s personal needs to be met
- Assisting partners with need identification and fulfillment
- Resolving conflict and enhancing skills for the couple to resolve conflict moving forward in their relationship (including unresolved anger, financial conflicts, unresolved arguments, differences in parenting styles)
- Infidelity in the relationship
- Extended family difficulties