Couple counseling / couple therapy Braunschweig
However, what if these opposing poles lose their balance?
It is a known fact that men and women are different. This is especially true when it comes to dealing with problems and conflicts. Men tend to focus on finding a solution right away. Women, on the other hand, want understanding, compassion and somebody who listens empathically first. (Of course, there are also areas of tension and differences in same-sex relationships.)
And let’s not forget: everyone is an individual. Each person is different and sees the world from their own perspective.
It is an important step to see and accept differences. That means that we no longer have to take the other person’s behavior personally and believe that they want to hurt us.
It may come as a surprise: Both partners often consider themselves as victims and feel misunderstood! Therefore, it is just as important to look at the similarities. It often turns out that both partners share the same needs.
Do you want to …
…understand each other better and improve your communication skills?
…recognize the patterns that keep leading you into the same vicious circles and to find ways to get out of them again?
“If my partner wants more affection than I’m giving her,
she is “needy and dependent.”
But if I want more affection than she is giving me,
then she is “aloof and insensitive.”
Marshall B. Rosenberg
What are possible reasons for couple therapy?
communication problems: either because you hardly communicate at all or because communication has become unhealthy, e.g. accusations, blaming, generalizations (“you always do this”, “you never do that”)
thoughts about separation
vicious circles (the classic example: she is dissatisfied because he withdraws. He withdraws because she is dissatisfied)
frequent disputes that keep arising about the same issues
culture clashes that affect your relationship
When is the right time for couple counseling?
I am convinced that couples are experts in their own right. Nevertheless, sometimes you are at your wit’s end and need support. In my experience, the dynamics and the atmosphere change when there is a well-meaning, unbiased third person present. It can help couples to open up, express themselves and listen in a healthier way. Therefore, do not wait too long to look for help! If one partner has made up their mind to leave, counseling cannot work miracles. Here is my recommendation: come while both of you still give your relationship a chance!
However, what if — despite all efforts — you cannot make it work again? Then, mediation can help to make the separation clearer and a little less painful for everyone involved.
What can you expect from couple therapy?
At first, you will tell me why you are here and what goals, wishes and expectations you have. At this stage, we might discover that they are not too far apart.
Next, we will look at what you have already done to solve your problems. Which strategies worked well and which did not?
Couple counseling is not about guilt and blame. While we consider what happened, the clear focus is on the future. “After all we have been through, how can we go on now? How can we get back together again?”
Sometimes it can also be helpful to lower your own expectations on the relationship and the partner to a realistic level. Remember: People who are not happy with themselves cannot expect their partner to make them happy.
If one of the partners has their own issues that affect the relationship, individual sessions can also take place in parallel.
Intercultural couple counseling
However, binational relationships can also bring challenges. The once fascinating otherness can turn into a constant hassle.
Two examples: While one partner likes to plan and then implement these plans, the other has learned that things change continuously and that you have to adapt your plans accordingly. Or, while person A calls a spade a spade, person B feels offended by this bluntness and prefers a more indirect communication style which, in turn, is too vague for A who thinks B is just beating about the bush.
Thus, you suddenly feel like you have to defend your own culture against your partner. In particular, if you do not feel comfortable in Germany, this can lead to tension and become a burden for both. The German partners suddenly find themselves in a loyalty conflict. “Whose side are you on?” On the side of everything you have always considered “normal” or on the side of your beloved partner?
If you moved to Germany to be with your German partner, it is so easy to find the culprit: “It’s only because of you that I’m here! I gave up everything for you!”
What about couples who come to Germany together, let’s say as expats … you’d almost think it was easier for them, right? Not necessarily! The problems they experience in their new living environment and with the Germans can put a strain on their relationship. If both are not happy, it is not easy to maintain a harmonious and fulfilling partnership.
In all the described cases, we can shed light on the differences and backgrounds of the cultures in question. What are the good intentions behind your partner’s behavior so alien to your own? Couldn’t it be possible that both of you want the same thing and just have different ways to achieve your goals?
Call me and let’s find out together!
I offer couple therapy in Braunschweig in German, English and Spanish.
Please note: Although some couple therapists make a distinction between the terms “couple counseling” and “couple therapy”, I am using these terms interchangeably here.