Relationship issues and couples in gestalt therapy
Couples and relationship issues are increasingly prominent in my private practice. How are these issues addressed within therapy? The presence of a third party, the therapist, changes the dynamic of a couple. There is in the session a sense of a wish to change things and try something different, this alone is often what brings a couple into therapy. It is this dynamic that enables the therapist to bring to awareness aspects that together a couple may not be able to explore.
Issues such as trust are often to the fore of relationship issues. When trust has been betrayed, can it be re-established and how do we go about this? Trust is fundamental to human existence. We are constantly reminded about trusting this or trusting a fellow human. If we do not have trust then what happens to that relationship and to the individual who lacks the feeling of trust? Is a relationship without trust worthwhile? The relationship can then certainly be at a disadvantage and a distance is created.
Feelings of being able to trust come about when we feel confident and have self-esteem. It is then that it is possible to feel that if trust is betrayed by the other, it is not our fault. There is a deserving quality in all of us that can expect and respect trust from another. It is in these conditions that a relationship can flourish and grow. A couple who can relax together enjoy each other's company and trust each other.
Can a relationship be repaired after a break in trust? Much will depend on the nature of the individuals involved. If the self-esteem and confidence has taken a blow then maybe this can be repaired over time and by looking at what exactly has been damaged. This can be achieved by a close look at the process of self-esteem and the needs that are present... however, there is much courage that is needed and an ability to let those feelings of trust rise once more. Feelings of guilt may also be around from either party. Inquiry into how these feelings arise and the influence they have in the relationship now need to be examined.
The ability to complete the healing that exists after wounding takes time, courage and commitment. It is likely that the relationship will change, to be relaxed within a relationship allows each individual to grow, become closer and intimate. The session in gestalt couples therapy focusses on the contact in the relationship. Blame and fault are not to the forefront, the ability to move forward and solve difficulties in the relationship is the primary process.
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