The huge difference in couples therapy from individual therapy, is that a couple is a system.
Focusing on yourself as an individual is vital for your fulfilment. But Only Focusing on yourself, when you are with someone completely different, is one of the main reasons people fail again and again to have fulfilling relationships.
What this means in terms of therapy, is that if you want to save your relationship, you need to find a therapist who works systemically and individually, working towards your individual fulfilment and creating a bridge between you so that you can both work for your fulfilment as a couple also.
Not every individual client knows how to work as a couple. In fact many people who have very individualistic tendencies run into difficulties for this very reason in the first place. Some people are avoidant-attached. When things get intimate, they get afraid. Sexual anorexia is one symptom. Sexual anorexia comes from a fear of intimacy, not sex. Someone with sexual anorexia is afraid for one reason or another to commit to their partner intimately, even if they are married. They may also have affairs outside of the marriage. So sexual anorexia does not mean a lack of sex, it means a lack of sexual-intimacy in the real physical emotional sense with their partner.
This means if a person is avoidant-attached or has attachment issues, and they go to an individual therapist, the individual therapist's very purpose is not to build a bridge between your and your partner but to follow you as an individual. Almost by default, an individual counsellor/coach/healer can miss the relationship dynamics at play with a person who comes with avoidance-attachment issues. The counsellor/therapist/healer may unwittingly play a part in affirming their neurotic pattern to their detriment and the detriment of their relationship.
In the best couples therapy it is essential two people fulfil their natures' as individuals - and it is also essential they build a bridge between them with their different communication styles, needs, and love strategies, to work together to to fulfil their relationship potential also.
Without exploring a person's attachment issues, knowing about relationship dynamics, and working with both people, individual counselling, therapy, coaching, in fact any form of individual work, can destroy a potentially good relationship, and actually prevent a person from working through their relationship issues, by facilitating individualistic tendencies over love and connection in the relationship.
Not because there is anything intrinsically wrong in individual therapy, but because the therapist/healer/coach is working with only half the picture; and there is likely to be a huge amount of distortion.
Imagine how that can pan out if the therapist is on your side but not on the side of your relationship?
Unless your therapist has also studied relationships and building a bridge between two very different people - then the effects of therapy on your relationship will definitely not be the same as if the two of you were working with a relationship expert.
For this reason I work with each person's individual fulfilment and partners' fulfilment as a couple. This is is a very different approach from individual counselling or traditional couples therapy.
So when people ask me is it ethical to work with people as individuals as well as seeing them as a couple I would say that in any therapy which is about the relationship - and if someone is in an intimate relationship this will be the case - it is essential to do work with both individuals and the couple seeing them together in an person-centred--systemic model of therapy.
From this deeper, wiser, clearer and more relational perspective, we help you become the unique individual you are and support each other in this wonderful process to create an amazing relationship and life together.
THE RELATIONSHIP EXPERTS International Relationship Experts John Donlon and Linda Connors have over 30 experience between them. They offer powerful and life changing relationship couple counselling and personal development programmes. They work with individuals and couples in the UK, America, Europe and Australia. If you are in relationship crisis are ready to take the first step into saving your relationship you can contact us on 0800 024 86 47.
John offers relationship advice, solutions and share their thoughts on love, relationships, marriage and intimacy.