Marital Therapy

Introduction

A substantial degree of self-discovery and increased self-awareness can be gained through our courageous efforts to address emerging difficulties in our marriages. In that closer space of marital intimacy, our inner world is constantly impacted on by our spouse. In colloquial terms, we say that our spouse is constantly pressing our buttons.

Our marriage then, will always give us the opportunity to begin to know our inner world more; to grow in understanding of our inner being. It is the emotional intensity of our marriage that brings about deeper responses within ourselves, in this way illuminating the depths of our being, different from the more superficial or shallow responses we experience as a result of encounters with acquaintances.

With professional help, our understanding and consciousness of ourselves increases. We are able to choose to work with our inner reactions differently, and in this way experience an increased freedom to respond to our spouse in ways that are both constructive to the building of relationship, as well as positively contributing to our own personal growth.

We offer two different forms of intervention for those who desire to address the difficulties they are experiencing in their marriages – Marriage Counselling and Marital Therapy. Furthermore, we facilitate a marriage enrichment course for those who want to help their marriage to grow.

Marital Therapy

Marital therapy is a more non-directive approach to addressing the issues that have emerged in your marriage. It is based on an underlying belief that as I grow in awareness of myself, getting more in touch with my own inner woundedness and its outward manifestations in my interpersonal style, I am able to access an increased freedom to respond to my spouse in ways that positively contribute to her growth as well as mine. In practical terms, I begin to relate differently, contributing to the emergence of a renewed pattern of relating in the marriage relationship.

This form of therapy helps each individual embark on a journey of self-discovery. There is an acknowledgement that, in essence, we are constantly holding up a mirror to one another in our marriage, as we project onto one another all our unresolved issues relating to love, emanating from our first experience of love in our childhoods. This process of projection is unavoidable and inevitable in the closer space of human intimacy. Through therapy, we discover that we are never fully aware of how our past inner woundedness is directly impacting on our experience of need frustration and concomitant emotional responses, in our marriage relationship. Put simply, marital therapy helps us to identify those aspects of our current behaviour that are a function of our past, and those aspects that are valid and appropriate responses to our present experience in our marriage relationship.

The goal of marital therapy is to create a marital environment that is conducive to the ongoing inner healing of the two individuals. That is, the establishment of ways of relating that prompts the growth and healing process in one another, different from implicitly maintaining personal stagnation. The fruits of marital therapy then are an increased experience of safety in being vulnerable in your marital relationship, allowing the other get to know you at the depth of your being.

Guidelines to Marital Therapy

  1. Marital therapy is necessarily a long-term process, it taking 2-3 years for there to be any permanent benefit from the process.
  2. It takes the form of regular weekly sessions.
  3. We require 24 hours notice if you need to cancel a session, without which the full fee is charged for the session.
  4. Each session is between 50-60 minutes in duration.
  5. Once marital therapy has commenced, the therapist will not communicate with either of the individuals alone. If one of the individuals contacts the therapist for any reason, this conversation will be disclosed at the next session.
  6. In terms of the account, most medical aids do cover marital therapy. If the couple is on medical aid, the therapist will submit the account directly, and the medical aid will pay the therapist directly. Once the medical aid is exhausted, the couple will receive a monthly account at the last session of each month, which needs to be settled within 30 days.
  7. Cost per session: R900.

Recommended Reading

The contents of the books listed below are in keeping with the paradigm in which we work, and can be a helpful resource for those who are inclined to supplement their therapy with reading.

Bradshaw, J. (1992) Creating Love: The Next Great Stage of Growth. NY: Bantam
Fromm, E. (1995) The Art of Loving. London: Thorsons
Hendrix, H (1993) Getting the love you want. London: Simon & Schuster
Hendrix, H (1995) Keeping the love you find: A single person’s guide to achieving lasting love. London: Pocket Books
Richo, D (2002) How to be an Adult in Relationships:The five keys to Mindful Loving. Boston: Shambhala
Thich Nhat Hanh (2006) True Love: A Practice for Awakening the Heart. Boston: Shambhala
Thich Nhat Hanh (2015) How to Love. California: Parallax
Welwood, J (2006) Perfect Love. Imperfect Relationships: Healing the Wound of the Heart. Boston: Shambhala
Welwood, J (1991) Journey of the Heart: The Path of Conscious Love.New York: Harper
Whitfield,CL (1993) Boundaries & Relationships. Florida: Health Communications