Trauma & Couples Therapy
Traumatic events and experience in childhood or adulthood can have a challenging impact on relationships. Different forms of trauma such as post-traumatic stress disorder or traumatic sexual experiences and abuse can cause emotional disconnection. Couples therapy can help people to tease out and understand what is happening in their relationship. From there the couple, with the support of their therapist, can begin to heal.
In order to understand the symptoms of trauma, and its emotional impact on the self and on the couple relationship, it is important to also understand the physical symptoms of what is happening to the body. Symptoms like sudden angry outbursts, irritability, forgetfulness, fast heartbeat, sweating and ‘spacing out’ (seeming as though the person is in a world of their own) are all possible hints to some form of trauma that is worth exploring.
Trauma responses manifest in relationships as defensiveness, mistrust, miscommunication and suspiciousness. This reinforces negative interactions between partners. When people gain insight and understanding into how and why they behave in a certain manner they can then begin to see the potential of moving towards their partner rather than away. Kindness and compassion begin to replace suspicion and self-protection. Sadness and anger get replaced with contentment and peacefulness. Room is created for fun, playfulness and being comfortable with each other.
What is the Process?
It is a process that requires a commitment from both partners and a willingness to engage with what they will learn about themselves and each other. Couples therapy that helps couples work through past trauma deepens a couples’ resilience and helps them redefine who they want to be as a couple. The journey may not be easy, but the potential life-enhancing rewards are undoubtedly worth it. We at Reconnect have a particular interest in working with emotions and believe that when couples strengthen their emotional bond they can reconnect to all the good and positive reasons that drew them together initially.
“Couples therapy that addresses trauma can also allow the couple assume a new more cohesive whole” Trauma and Couple Therapy, Laura Hecker Phd.