Relationships are the basis of existence. We cannot survive without others but our interactions with others may not always run smoothly. There are varying levels of relationship: our relationship with ourselves and how we speak to ourselves; our relationship with others professionally and personally as well as our relationship with the worlds in which we live. Each relationship is marked by certain patterns or dynamics which may feel familiar but not necessarily healthy or adaptive. We may often find ourselves becoming painfully aware that the same type of interactions begin to appear in all our relationships after a certain period of time and the same thought emerges: ‘here we go again!’ As possible reactions, you may find yourself clinging to or withdrawing from the other, needing but suspicious of the other, demanding from or expecting nothing from the other, angry with or fearful of the other. At the end of the day, the relationships appear to come to a similar end.
Relational therapists propose that we all have certain templates in our minds about how the world and relationships work. These templates develop in our earliest relational attachments or relational experiences with the important people in our lives at the time and are played out literally in our young minds as we make sense of these in our imaginations and play with other children. These templates provide the basis to our personality structures. Without consciously realizing it, we then begin to perceive others and actively try to construct our new relationships and situations to fit our template. These templates may have been very functional in our earlier relational world in which we lived but may need some adapting to fit the contexts in which we now find ourselves. You thus find yourself again and again with the same type of friends or partners, in the same type of relational patterns at work and at home, experiencing the same feelings, mulling over the same thoughts and reacting in the same way….over and over again. You may feel drained and exhausted and feel helpless vis-a-vis relational change. This is where psychotherapy can provide a guide and space to rethink and practice our relational dynamics.
Central to any type of relational therapy is the core belief that when two people come together they have an impact on one another and in each interaction the templates we have developed and reinforced throughout our relational life again become active as we try and make sense of what is happening in the interactions in the therapeutic relationship. However in the safe space of the therapeutic work, we can begin to examine the role you play in interactions and together challenge the aspects of the templates which are proving unhealthy and destructive in day-to-day relating. In such work, an integrative approach to the therapeutic work, including aspects of CBT (Beck, 1985), Gestalt Therapy (Perls, 1973), Transactional Analysis (Berne, 1957), Relational (Mitchell, 2009) and Attachment theory (Bowlby, 1979) has proven most effective. We will work to identify the mind/body/emotion relational patterns developed in childhood and then to collaborate in acting towards adapting them to provide you with a richer and more rewarding life.