When it comes to working with couples, the three words that come to mind are:
Most couples I work with have reoccurring patterns that can be identified. It can go something like this: A frustrated spouse makes a comment that feels like an attack to the other. The spouse who feels attacked and unfairly blamed withdraws, which only makes the frustrated spouse even more upset and the cycle continues. The key to creating change in the relationship through couples therapy is developing awareness of these cycles as they are happening and introducing a new intervention, learned in therapy, to break the cycle.
Openness is also important in couples therapy because a healthy relationship isn’t about winning or being right. It’s about learning how to love the other and encouraging him/her to reach his/her full potential as a person. This requires patience, a healthy dose of humility and a mutual trust that there is space in the relationship for everyone to get their healthy needs met.
The other word that symbolizes my work with couples is intimacy. Some of the ingredients of intimacy are good communication, healthy connection rituals and physical intimacy. One area of specialization (I’m a certified sex therapist) is helping couple’s overcome sexual barriers and cultivate a more satisfying sexual relationship.