Couples counseling when Trauma is evident
In a trauma-informed approach with couples, we look at the whole picture. Not only do we explore what happened in a specific incident or experience-but also why it happened. We look at each person’s life and personal history to understand what they bring to the relationship from those life events and the coping skills they developed.
Trauma-informed therapy allows us to learn about what happened to each partner in the past, leading to the coping or survival skills they have. We look at the impact of these coping skills on the distress happening in their current relationship. When couples see the bigger picture, they can see new ways to repair rifts, rebuild trust, and re-develop and strengthen communication.
We don’t believe people are “broken” or “need fixing”. They just need to develop different, healthier coping mechanisms that work for their current relationship and who they are as individuals. And they need more compassion.
Trauma-informed couples therapy is not about, “What’s wrong with you?” It doesn’t answer, “Who’s right?” A trauma-informed approach with couples asks: What is your history? What happened to you that you bring these coping skills, defense mechanisms and protective parts to the relationship?
What Happened In Your Relationship Is Less Important Than Why It Happened
In the process of therapy, couples become clear that while very painful things happened, the solution lies in uncovering why they happened.
Couples learn to broaden their understanding of each other. We explore questions such as:
- What got triggered in you when you shut down or checked out of your relationship?
- What made it feel impossible to hear what your partner was saying?
- Was your partner really criticizing you?
- Did your partner’s words remind you of a familiar past feeling?
- Did something trigger a body memory of fear reminding you when you were criticized in the past?
People may use behavior such as affairs, work, numbing with drugs and alcohol, disordered eating, pornography, and other actions to avoid the pain of disconnection in a relationship. They may be trying to feel less badly because it’s too hard to stay in a relationship with a partner while experiencing little relief from overwhelming feelings.
In my couple’s therapy sessions, Let’s help you develop the necessary skills needed to maintain sustaining love.
If any of the above relate to your and your partner in your relationship, please reach out today so we can schedule an appointment. Let’s speak about how to reconnect and rekindle your love for one another.