Couples therapy or relation therapy - for who
Couples therapy can be helpful for couples where at least one of the partners is concerned about the emotional connection with the other partner. Communication may be difficult or partners may feel misunderstood and alone in the relationship.
It doesn't matter how long partners have been together. Couples can be together for decades and couples may only just know each other.
What to expect?
The first session is an exploratory session with both partners of the couple and therapist together. The purpose of the first conversation is to get to know each other and to see if there is a click with the therapist.
This session is followed by an individual conversation with each partner separately to understand the relational background of each partner and in particular the strengths and sensitivities that each has built up during his or her life.
After the individual sessions, further session with the couple take place together. Concerns about the interactions are discussed in detail and clarified. Together, we look for new ways to communicate and connect.
I recommend couples to read Sue Johnson's book Hold Me Tight before therapy. This book can be easily ordered online and is in stock at most bookstores. It is deals with conflict patterns and vicious circles in couples. Most people find this very recognizable.
Each session takes about 75 minutes and costs 70 EUR. It is best to pay via the Bancontact app on your smartphone (via QR code) or by bank transfer after the session, because I do not have a Bancontact terminal. There is currently no refund provided by the government. However, some health insurance companies reimburse a part of the fee. For details, please contact your health insurance company.
Usually I see couples every 2 weeks.
I only work on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays between 9 am and 7 pm in my practice (and not later in the evening).
I usually work with emotionally focused couples therapy, developed by Sue Johnson and Leslie Greenberg. That is the therapy model that has been researched the most and with which I prefer to work. Sometimes I also use other forms of therapy, if this seems to work better for the couple.
Couples therapy can be intense. After each session there is the possibility to give individual feedback to the therapist so that the therapist can attune to each partner as best as possible.
If we are stuck in therapy, I discuss this with my supervisors Arne Heylen (Leuven) or Catalina Woldarwski (Geneva, Switzerland) and sometimes also with other colleagues couples therapists.
I am a member of the Belgian Association for Relationship and Family Therapy and Systemic Counseling (BVRGS) and EFT Belgium.