Human beings are so needful of one another that even those who have terrible experiences with previous relationships still reach out and try to bond with someone. People who have never known a safe, loving relationship. People who have been betrayed by a loved one they depended upon. People who have been abandoned. They will still risk seeking a love relationship. That is how powerful attachment emotions and needs are.
That is why one partner’s mental health is influenced by the other’s, and vice versa. Once partners have taken that risky leap to reach out, their emotional states are interdependent. And these emotional states ebb and flow with one another. So it makes sense to treat couples together in couples therapy.
Focus on couples therapy is relatively new—heretofore it’s mostly consisted of trying to reduce carnage and guiding couples to coexist somewhat peacefully. But now, through research, we know more about adult love, and we can identify seminal moments in couples’ relationships. As therapists, we can help couples find that emotional connection that brings about a deep bonding. We can help heal relationships in such meaningful ways that each individual’s depression is also healed.
This involves tapping into a clients’ strong emotions and finding new ways to connect to create new emotions.
The Core Issue: Attachment
Whatever a couple is arguing about, and whatever they’re stuck on that brings them to a therapist, the content of the discord is rarely the issue. What usually is the issue? The attachment relationship they have. How strong is that relationship? How certain are they that their partner will be there for them through thick and thin? Will their partner put them first before all others—family, friends, work colleagues? Will their partner take their side, have their back, always be there for them?
People in troubled relationships feel the answer to these questions, on some level, is no. The therapist’s goal is to help them change their answer to yes. To find a secure attachment to one another with such depths that they never worry. The bottom line is, couples need to trust that they are number one with one another. That is, they have a secure attachment bond.
Nancy Travers is an Orange County Counseling professional. If you need safe, effective counseling services, please get in touch. You can reach her here: https://www.nancyscounselingcorner.com/contact