That’s me, Diana Boettcher.
Doing something for yourself always has an impact on the people around us as well. Even when it comes to relationship issues, one as an individual can definitely induce, effect and change.
Classic couples therapy session
What is the couples counseling about? It is about analyzing your relationship intensively and understanding it in all its complexity.
In the form of a power day I offer couples in a relationship crisis an intensive, efficient and individually tailored full-day training, which is composed of individual and couple conversations – entirely and exactly according to your wishes.
In addition to the classic couples therapy, I also offer sexual counseling and separation counseling.
Few asked questions
How can a couple counseling help?
For many couples who stand on the threshold of a crisis or who are already plunged into a crisis, it is hard to find their way out of it on their own. They often get stuck in a vicious circle of conflicts and deadlocked communication patterns; thus, as they try to solve their problems, they stand in their own way. That’s where couples therapy begins. As a noninvolved, objective person, the therapist helps the couple to identify the concrete problems and define common therapy goals. It can also be a goal to clarify the question whether the partners want to stay together at all or whether a separation is the better way.
Couples therapy means work
Partners who decide to undergo a couples therapy to save their relationship must be aware that it means hard and often uncomfortable work. Topics that have been suppressed and hushed up for years may come up for discussion. The more love and mutual appreciation there still is to be perceived between the partners, the better: all the greater the chance that the hard work will be crowned with success and the couple will find its way back to a loving, harmonious and happy togetherness again.
Be ready for change
In addition to a basic framework of love and mutual appreciation, it is a prerequisite for couples therapy that both partners are ready for change. In many cases, one partner suffers more from the unhappy relationship than the other. In that case, it is important that he communicates his feelings plainly and makes it clear that he cannot and does not want to go on living like that. If the partner still cannot be convinced to visit a couples therapy together, there’s still the possibility to see a therapist alone. Often the fear of accusation and confrontation with unpleasant issues are behind a refusal. In such a case, the refusing partner can come along to an appointment freely and talk about possible fears and reservations regarding couples therapy.
Don’t make excuses
Many couples have worries and reservations regarding couples counseling during a crisis. They often beat about the bush and find excuses. Maybe it’s an inconvenient time because you’re in the middle of a move, or the child is in a difficult phase and needs a lot of attention. Maybe there’s shame of other people’s opinions, be it friends, colleagues or one’s own family: “What will they be thinking when they get to know that we are undergoing a therapy?” Then there’s the dread of talking about personal and intimate problems to a stranger. Other couples tend to belittle their situation, asserting: “We’re not that terribly bad”. Or they refer to the experience of others for whom couples therapy was unsuccessful. My advice: Don’t make excuses. If you are unhappy in your relationship, you should change that. Fears, reservations and dread are absolutely normal. Overcome them and make an effort. There’s no better time than now. The longer you put problems aside, the harder it gets to solve them later. If you really want something, you will find the time to do it.
Break old patterns of behavior and find new ways
In the couples therapy, the therapist helps the partners to
- recognize recurring communication and behavioral patterns
- discover new perspectives and ways
- understand each other better
- communicate one’s point of view clearly and plainly
- break vicious circles
- engage in constructive dialogue again
- remove blocks
- speak candidly about fear, pain and disappointment
- release new energies
- develop solutions for conflicts and problems
- take a new, conflict-free path together
With the help of a noninvolved person, couples with relationship problems often find it easier to identify the problem that lies behind it all and overcome the crisis. Instead of breaking because of it, they can come out of the crisis strengthened. Winning through all difficulties together not only means work, but also binding together even more closely.
How do relationship problems arise?
Relationship problems can occur even in the most harmonious partnership. For couples in crisis, it is important to understand one thing: The secret of a happy relationship is not to avoid hurdles of your love, to push them aside or to act as if they didn’t exist. It rather lies in understanding the message and the core of the problem and working together to resolve it. In this way, the partners will not distance themselves from each other, but emerge stronger from the crisis.
Too high expectations – great disappointment
Seeing things through rose-colored glasses, butterflies in the stomach, sweet love messages, red roses, hot sex, big feelings and a lot of passion: this is what the initial phase of many relationships looks like. The partners can hardly keep their eyes and hands from each other. Every minute they spend apart is agony. That’s just how things are supposed to go on and on. And this is perhaps the greatest love error of mankind. Because even the greatest love cannot stand up to such high expectations without the help of the lovers. At some point, daily routine inevitably sets in. The rose-colored glasses fade, the butterflies become sluggish. And then? Then, you could say, the real relationship is just beginning and we’re getting down to the nitty-gritty. Often, partners are disappointed when the feelings of intense infatuation subside, the excited tingling in the gut abates. Suddenly they argue with their partner about the full trash can, the dirty dishes, the worn socks next to the laundry basket or other little things, instead of enjoying their togetherness. They recognize quirks in their apparently perfect dream partner and begin to doubt their relationship. Now the partnership is subjected to quite a few stress tests and love must prove itself. If this fails because disappointment and doubt gain the upper hand, for example, the stress test develops into a genuine relationship or marriage crisis. In the worst case, the only solution is separation or divorce.
Is everyday life a love killer?
We speak of a relationship crisis when problems manifest themselves, when they have developed into negative patterns and when small disputes have become permanent conflicts. It is not uncommon for a crisis to develop out of love’s test of stamina after the first infatuation. In addition to the disappointment of unfulfilled expectations, there are the usual everyday issues such as stress at work or money problems. Occasional differences of opinion can easily turn into apparently insurmountable conflicts. An initial annoyance over small quirks of the partner can creepingly become a permanent dissatisfaction, which can lead to the relationship crisis over the long term. A major matter of argument – especially for women – is an unequally distributed workload in the household. They complain about unfinished tasks, clothes left lying about or tipped-up toilet seat lids. If the partner then at some point goes deaf and withdraws, the relationship quickly gets into a vicious circle. This can go so far that a normal conversation is no longer possible, because every well-meant word of one partner is seen as an attack by the other and thus leads to the next dispute.
The subject of sex
In most partnerships, sex becomes less common in the course of the relationship. This is quite normal and not automatically a sign of a relationship crisis. Sex isn’t everything. A relationship can be divided into three areas:
Ideally, the three areas are equally fulfilled for both partners. Likewise, the fewest relationships work without sex at all. What is important is a good balance, and above all that both partners are satisfied with their sex life – no matter how pronounced this may be. Only if the couple talks about unfulfilled sexual wishes, they can be fulfilled. Otherwise, one partner or even both partners are sexually dissatisfied. And this is not always, but very often, a reason for infidelity.
Problems caused by changing living conditions
Just as the advent of everyday life can lead couples into a crisis, relationship problems can also arise from a change of the usual living conditions. When two partners live together in a relationship, they develop habits, fixed responsibilities and processes over time. If they get confounded, the couple must find a way to deal with that. This may be the case, for example, when a partner who has been at home for several years returns to work and has less time for the other and for the household. Naturally, the birth of a child means a particularly big change for a couple’s everyday life. With a new family member, the couple receives new tasks and additional responsibilities. They no longer are only partners, but suddenly also parents. Especially at the beginning it is often difficult to keep the balance between the different roles. It is not uncommon that women in particular miss out on their role as a partner because of their newly acquired role as a mother. If the partner feels neglected and withdraws, the couple is heading for a crisis.
What is the difference between couples therapy and couples counseling?
The term “couples therapy” describes a form of psychological work. Its aim is to resolve and overcome conflicts in a partnership. Unlike psychotherapy, couples therapy is not a curative treatment. Couples counseling, partner counseling and marriage counseling are general terms describing various ways of supporting partners or married couples.
Therapy or counseling?
In Germany, the occupations of couples therapy and marriage counseling are not legally separate but fall in the category “non-curative psychological activities”. The boundaries are fluid. As a rule, a couples therapy always includes a counseling. Couples counseling, on the other hand, does not always automatically have to be a therapy, but may under certain circumstances become one. In practice, couples therapy with a therapist is often more profound and long-term oriented than pure marriage or couples counseling in a counseling center, for example. Basically, the spectrum ranges from simple counseling with advice for the partners to therapeutic support.
Family counseling/family therapy
If the problems are not limited to the couple but affect a larger part of or even the whole family, a family counseling or family therapy proves to be sensible. Here, the family as a social system is at the center of the therapy or the counseling. Just like couples therapy, family therapy aims to identify and break stuck patterns of behavior and communication. A special form of family counseling is educational guidance. The focus here is on educational problems and the development of children and youths in the family.
What is emotion-focused couples therapy?
Even if it seems unimaginable at the moment: With the help of efficient techniques it is possible to find each other again and to rediscover the lost easiness and security together.
The emotion-focused couples therapy I apply to help couples out of the crisis offers exactly such techniques. This therapy is a structured and effective short-term treatment method for couples. It is based on current findings from neuroscience and psychotherapy process and outcome research. A foundation of the emotion-focused couples therapy is the attachment theory of the British psychiatrist John Bowly. It assumes that a secure bond between mother and child is crucial for a healthy emotional development of children. The assumption that adults also need a secure bond for their psychological well-being forms the starting point of the emotion-focused couples therapy. If couples can no longer feel this connection to each other, relationship conflicts arise. In their interaction, partners often fall into a vicious circle, a spiral of strife that they cannot break on their own. In the emotion-focused couples therapy I help you as a kind of mediator to recognize the problems and invisible obstacles in your relationship to overcome and finally eliminate them.
The effectiveness of emotion-focused couples therapy has been empirically proven, the treatment method is being continuously developed further. It is one of the most frequently applied forms of couples therapy in most countries worldwide.
My counseling services are just as manifold as the occasions and reasons for couples to choose couples counseling. To respond to the individual wishes and possibilities of the couples, I use various forms of therapy within the emotion-focused couples therapy: the classic couples therapy session, individual sessions and the power day.
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