Couple Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy

For many people, a sustained and satisfying couple relationship is a core aspect of their adult life. Being in an intimate and sexual relationship with another person can bring many joys, a sense of security, and lead to developments both individual and as a couple – including children. However being in an intimate couple relationship also generates anxieties, conflict, feelings of disappointment, and the frustration of unmet needs. There can be powerful feelings of having lost the excitement, sense of discovery, emotional closeness, and feeling understood by the other which characterised the early days of the relationship. These feelings can be replaced by equally powerful feelings of being stuck, dissatisfied, uncertain, emotionally distant, and misunderstood.

Sometimes there can be feelings of anger and depression associated with a longing for what previously was had, which now seems lost. Some couples feel they need their partner and yet also resent them. Fantasies of being in a more satisfying relationship with a more understanding partner can dominate the mind, and intensify their criticism of the partner they have. The sexual life of the couple may become habitual or have faded away. Roles and responsibilities can start to feel dominant, or all there is to life.

For those who have become parents, in addition to love and enjoyment, the birth of a baby and life with children will bring unfamiliar strains and conflicts into the adult couple relationship. The arrival of these children’s adolescence years is almost inevitably challenging, not only in terms of feeling like effective parents, but also in the strong emotional forces and sexual development associated with adolescent development.

About the therapy

In psychoanalytic psychotherapy with couples, the focus is on the relationship between the couple, and the emotional dynamic created between the partners. Usually, this dynamic has some aspects which support the couple and promote growth, and some aspects which are more stuck, habitual, lifeless, or destructive, and work against the development of the couple and the individual partners. Some of these dynamics may be known about by the couple, while others may be harder to discern, think about, or change.

In couple psychotherapy, attention is paid to feelings, anxieties, conflicts, and ways of relating which are working against the couple’s development and inhibiting a sense of emotional security and satisfaction. Thinking together with the therapist can lead to new understandings as to what is driving and sustaining these ways of relating. This allows shifts in the couple’s ways of seeing one another, behaving and relating, and how they conceive of their relationship.

In my practice I see adult couples of all ages. The work usually involves two initial consultations, during which we will come to a decision as to whether couple psychoanalytic psychotherapy is likely to be of benefit to you. If we agree to proceed with ongoing work together, this would be on a once-weekly basis. Sessions last one hour. Fees will be discussed during the consultation.

If we decide this type of help or therapy is unlikely to be of help, we can discuss what other interventions or pathways you could pursue.