The reason why many couples struggle to fix their problems is because of the 3 key factors.
1. They are limited by what they believe is possible.
2. They don’t know what to do to fix their problems.
3. They don’t know how to keep the relationship alive.
The route to success is helping couples to learn what will work, and in a nutshell it is communication, intimacy, understanding and meeting each other’s needs. Although there is much more detail which is all discussed during the couple therapy.
When a couple first attends therapy, it is often difficult for them to discuss their issues. In fact, communication in the early sessions of therapy frequently mirrors what is happening at home. Both partners may talk but they don’t really listen to each other. Their conversations are often full of accusations, which result in one or both trying to defend their own behaviour.
At Life Acknowledged couple therapy, Teba Martin uses a solution-focused approach, which, when applied to couple therapy encourages people to identify their relationship’s strengths and desires and then define and monitor realistic goals.
The first joint session is an initial consultation and last 70 minutes, and it is the first step to build effective communication. A brief overview of how Teba Martin structures the first initial session;
· Opening moments
I introduce myself, how the therapy will work and explain some rules. I will suggest the couple to tell me a little bit about themselves without talking about their difficulties.
· Talk - one partner talks while the other listens
This is a clear problem-narrative where both I and the other partner gain a clear picture of how this person experiences the relationship now that things have gone awry.
· Reflecting back
Here is where I invite the partner who has been listening to comment, summarise and ask questions
· Summarise and name the problem
This is where I share my notes.
· Establish commitment to address it
This is where the couple make a conscious choice and a commitment to work towards change, it is a joint commitment and sets the scene for what it is to come in the following sessions.
Further sessions will be structured and planned based on the outcome of the initial session. Usually the average length of couples therapy is between 12 to 14 sessions for couples to develop the confidence and skills to support their relationship by eliminating barriers.