In every relationship there are at least three players, the individuals and the couple! Each deserves due attention and time for processing. When taking into account “All of our Relations” one can experience how full the room can be.
Part of effective work with couples is to establish clear boundaries of involvement of living relatives and those of the Ancestors! The belief systems of revered ancestors, be they grandparents or aunts and uncles may not be at all appropriate for the couple and their lifestyle.
I’ll want to get each individual’s insights and perspective on their personal experiences and their take on what is happening within the dynamics of the couple.
Before any decision or evaluation is made it is important to get a good picture of all three aspects of a couple. Then, and only then, can there be a constructive idea as to how to go about bringing about your desired changes.
Usually, all that is involved is for each person to fully hear the other person’s perspective and memory. The model is “active and reflective listening” and when I’m able to achieve clients learning to do so, I consider my work mostly accomplished.
As so many relationships involve people outside the relationship (friends, family, affairs, work, etc.) we will give due consideration to ways to change or limit the involvement of others, such that the couple can more effectively work out their own issues.
As with individuals, “time binding” is an important skill. Setting some limits on how much and how often processing goes on is important. Sometimes all it takes is structuring interactions with respect to time and place such that the processing is not 24/7.
And, when a few skills are learned, for the most part the intensity of the conflict is reduced. This enables the use of other interventions for individuals and the relationship to move forward.