The case of Owens versus Owens — where the 68 year old Tini Owens has sought a divorce from her eighty-year old husband, Hugh - has led to many commentators picking up on the way in which our current laws on divorce lead to increased conflict and acrimony between partners. As Suzanne Moore noted, in the Guardian:. Tavistock Relationships Divorce and Separation service specialist Liz Hamlin appeared on the programme and talked about the fact that psychological processes such as separation — which involve both conscious and unconscious factors - often do not neatly fit into the law.
Divorce in the UK, Hamlin said, would be helpfully served by removing the current requirement for one party to be judged to have been at fault for example as a result of unreasonable behaviour or infidelity, in order for a court to agree to a legal separation.
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Hamlin noted the impact on not only the adults involved but also their children as a result of the added antagonism and hurt caused by the current law. Younger people, their children are affected.
People are attracted to training as couple therapists at Tavistock Relationships for a variety of reasons. Some may find the idea of saving a troubled relationship appealing. Others may think they have a particular skill at acting as peace-keepers or mediators during arguments. Others may have personal reasons for wanting to undertake the training — early experiences dealing with warring parents, perhaps, or previous experience as a client of coming to couple therapy.
Talking With Couples: Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy of the Couple Relationship
News Press Releases Press Enquiries. Is there something a little forced about their repartee? Are they trying to look and sound better than they really feel inside?
Or are they representative of an intimate and secure relationship? It turns out that he has been lonely for years and that the physical longing he has had is not merely sexual but for basic affection, for the human touch, that he now has with Nancy, who he clarifies is a travel agent, not a stewardess. So already we are in that familiar couple therapist position of being presented with two perspectives, two stories, about the same relationship. And does her lack of conventionality appeal to the somewhat burned out lawyer, Tom?
Certainly not the best predictor of a loving relationship,. This stirs Tom and Beth to talk about how tired they are of being single. Is this what made them get married? In an intake, a couples therapist might ask Tom what drew him to Beth.
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It would not be very reassuring if all he could say was that Beth liked him. Her anger, her outrage — we are very familiar with these reactions to infidelity and a marriage breaking up —eventually soften to a much more vulnerable Karen at the end of the play. Is he the steady anchor in the relationship with warrior Karen? Did you tell them that? The final scenes of the play occur six months after the opening scene. We see change in all the relationships.
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Beth and Tom have split. This changes the dance between the two of them. Meanwhile, the neglected partner worries that they are not having enough sex. Welcome to life as a couple. The show has moments of lightness, and of unexpected humor.
She wants to try to get them to change how they see each other, to shake them out of their habits. Sure, the wife says. She loves the idea of the blindfold. Sure, the husband says.
For much of the session, Scott inhabits Jean-Claude, speaking in charming, American-accented French as Perel serves as translator; at one point, she serenades them with an Edith Piaf song. There is hope for this couple, the listener feels. The road to understanding and satisfaction will be steep, but Perel has shown them how to take the first step and keep walking. The transgression itself is banal, but the sense of mutual abandonment and pain is profound.
The angry wife protects herself with a bitter pose of resigned indifference; she has accepted that the relationship will never be the same, she says, that all men are betrayers, even as her husband tries to coax her into talking things over. The husband tells his wife that sleeping with her was like having sex with a corpse. They are in a deadlock, seething and hurt. She suggests that they create a private e-mail address that they will use only for one another, to begin to learn how to speak to each other again. We are listening as people make discoveries about the partners they have known for years, and about themselves, too.
Some bristle and lash out; others lay their souls bare.