When talking just makes it worse…it may be a good time to talk to us…

I remember John Cleese challenging  Michael Parkinson in an interview when he referred to his multiple ‘failed marriages’. He challenged the idea a marriage had ‘failed’ because it had ended. It makes me wonder if this is part of the reason most couples don’t come for couple therapy. Who wants to sit in a room and examine failure, especially at a time when it can feel like we’re having to work really hard to hold ourselves together, while navigating the practical and emotional complexity of a separation? And we’re navigating this alone; without the support and companionship of the person who has been our sounding board for the years of the relationship.

I have worked with many couples over the years and we begin by acknowledging the enormous courage it takes to make the initial appointment and ‘cross the threshold’ of the therapy room. We identify the commonalities of the experiences of the separating couple, as well as the differences. We consider the idea that separating together is possible and, where possible, preferable. Effective communication is crucial – in mitigating the impact of the separation on children, finances and our mental health – at a time when communication has perhaps never felt so frustrating, fruitless, painful.  If we can keep the lines of communication open, we all fare better. This is where we can help.

Benefits of couple therapy:

Family: Couple therapy holds all of you in mind at a time when this is very difficult to do alone – when things look rather ‘black and white’ from where you’re standing. It reduces the damaging impact on children and offers a more stable family life.

Finances: Couple therapy is a sound investment – starting the legal process with some clarity, shared understanding and agreement, identifying what is negotiable and non negotiable, can reduce those billable hours considerably.

Future: Finding out what you ‘do’ in relationships and taking this map into current and future relationships

If you would like to discuss any of this further, we’d be happy to hear from you. 

Rosalie Harrison – Psychotherapist at The Retreat