Relationships can be complex, often marked by miscommunications and misconceptions. A question I frequently face in my therapy room revolves around communication in relationships.
When couples come into therapy, their relationships are typically marred by distress. There’s a palpable tension, a cloud of resentments and hurt. Often, the method they resort to, for communicating, stems from a place of pain. It’s almost instinctual to deflect blame onto the other – it’s a survival mechanism. But herein lies the crux of the problem. My unique approach, Genuine Relating, encourages couples to pivot their perspective. Instead of pointing fingers, it’s about turning towards each other, engaging face-to-face, and starting conversations rooted in authenticity, love and respect. The environment is geared to ensure both parties feel heard in their deepest truth. From this foundation, we begin addressing unmet needs within the relationship and each other.
Another significant area of discussion often hinges on the whirlwind of relational distress. Delve into literature, and you’ll encounter terms like ‘contact’ and ‘rupture’. Early in the relationship, the stage of ‘contact’ is euphoric. There’s a shared buzz, the heady mix of emotions, and those flying hormones – what I often coin relational bliss.
However, as couples tread further into their relational journey, remnants of unresolved issues from the past begin to surface. This upheaval leads to ‘rupture’ – moments of deep-seated pain and detachment. Such ruptures, laden with resentment and angst, make finding a way back to connection seem nearly impossible. And yet, that’s where the beauty of Genuine Relating shines through. It’s centred around the dance of connection – the cycles of rupture and repair. When relationships arrive at therapy, having been in the ‘rupture’ phase for an extended period, it often sounds like a final desperate attempt. However, with the tools to reintroduce the relational flow, relationships can find their rhythm once again.
Crucially, addressing relational distress demands the establishment of safety and trust. If feelings of safety and trust are compromised, our brain kicks into its fight or flight mode, plunging us into distress. This distress isn’t new – it echoes from the past resounding in the present. A prolonged blame game only intensifies the feelings. What we aim to create with Genuine Relating is a crucible – a space of mutual trust and support. It’s about recognising unmet needs, articulating them, and effectively communicating within the relationship. Once this process starts, a newfound voice emerges, one that unequivocally states, “This is what I need: safety, security, acknowledgment.”
Lifelong experiences, memories of childhood, every stumble and fall we’ve faced – they impact our relationships. They sometimes push individuals to seek what they desire outside their existing relationship. But the key is understanding and communicating what’s essential to feel secure within the relationship. That’s how we craft a safe space and a solid foundation. It’s about harmoniously navigating the peaks and troughs, the contacts and ruptures intrinsic to every relationship. This, in essence, is the transformative journey of Genuine Relating, a pathway to move forward, together.