Highlights and essences
Couples bring problems. We welcome those and see them as wonderful opportunities for growth in their and our relationship. With respect and patience, determination and love, we support couples to develop mutual empathy and understanding in response to those challenges. In asking at the beginning of the session, what the best possible outcome may be, what it may feel and look like to each of them, we touch on the ideals that live in the relationship, we sense the unique qualities that want to be developed within it and tune into the couple’s willingness and ability to confront themselves.
When outside pressures and social conditions (e.g. struggle to balance family and work) hinder the possibility for them to live their ideals, we encourage partners to unite against the problem, stop making each other responsible for it, and to see that they are both suffering.
When inside pressures surface in the form of reoccurring conflicts, we see that as an opportunity for partners to turn towards each other with truthfulness and courage. The ongoing challenge lies in balancing individuality and togetherness, the need for individual freedom with the need for belonging.
When a couple gets stuck in an impasse, we encourage both to hang on to what they believe and value whilst being open to each other’s “story”. We help both to see the wounding that each carries from their past. We accompany their journey, as each of them contacts their individual story. Both can then begin to feel understood by their partner in their “inner child”, and love can again flow more freely. As the contact is deepened, meaning, mystery and destiny emerge.
Couples find that their patterns are interlocking. They discover that their coming together is no coincidence, that negative patterns reinforce each other when there is no awareness, and that they can help each other to heal and to realize their potential. Couples can then recognize, with relief, wonderment and humour that there is no better opportunity for self-development than a committed relationship.
In couple therapy, we focus on a process of small steps and model faith and trust that in the end all will be well. We encourage perseverance, tolerance, self-care and self-control as couples navigate through the challenges, and develop a language of the heart and a sacred vision for their relationship.
Couples appreciate when we show empathy by sharing our own experience of struggle and by identifying with the many demands, obligations, duties and expectations that burden couples today. We also mentor, teach and inspire partners with suggestions in how to regularly care for the well-being of their relationship. We explore with them the use of rituals; soulful activities that nurture connection and intimacy, closeness and depth, creativity and imagination, vision and purpose.
Both partners have their own individual path. We help them to identify the source of experiences that fuel their spiritual, social, and political passions and give meaning to their place in the wider world. If their paths lead to separation, we support a dignified process where a true letting go of each other can take place.
What enables us to do this task in working with couples and teaching couple’s therapy?
Most of all, our ongoing mutual commitment to attend to the garden of our own relationship, to smell the roses, to make sure that weeds don’t take over, to wander and wonder in its ever-changing beauty, to notice and respond to its many requests, and most of all, to relax together regularly on our garden bench and bathe in the knowledge “this is our garden.”
Mirjam Busch & Rudolf Jarosewitsch
Copyright © 4/2005 by Rumijabu | Originally published in GANZ (Gestalt Australia New Zealand) Newsletter, February 2005, and NZAC (New Zealand Association of Counsellors) Newsletter Vol. 25, No. 4, June 2005 also in “Partners in Dialogue” April 2005