Many therapists offer couples counselling, which is usually about giving each person the space to say what needs to be said without one person overriding or talking over the other, so that both parties can say what needs to be said and understood, monitored by the therapist. A positive outcome of this is that both parties know where the other is coming from, thereby creating harmony.
Sometimes though it’s the dynamics in the relationship that need addressing, where one person’s characteristics are constantly rubbing up their partner the wrong way – and vice versa.
Example: Mary is always fretting that her partner doesn’t love her enough, so she is constantly in his space trying to fulfill her love needs.
Tom, her husband, is the independent type who struggles with intimacy and likes to keep to himself. He finds Mary’s neediness very frustrating at times and this pushes him further away from her thereby adding to her neediness.
People like Mary make up roughly 20% of the population and are labelled Ambivalently Attached. Ambivalently attached people in relationships feel that in order to get close to their partner and have their needs met, they need to have constant reassurance. If this is not forthcoming they are likely to become more needy and suspicious of their partner.
Tom falls into another category of relationship, that of Avoidant Attachment which also makes up 20% of the population. Avoidantly attached people have deep fears of entrapment and commitment and value their independence. They have strict boundaries about intimacy and feel threatened by needy partners wanting to get closer.
In both Attachment styles there are of course many other characteristics.
What I offer in relationship counselling is more on the educational side, as the only way partnerships in this category move back into harmony is by each person understanding their own characteristics and become more aware of them. This, coupled with occasional counselling, causes these conflicting dynamics to become less dramatic so harmony between the partners is restored.