The Challenge of fixing or enhancing a relationship that is by all accounts failing is one which routinely causes two people to search for therapy. Often it begins with awareness that see eye to eye on pretty much anything. Arguments begin to occur more frequently. Issues that would have seemed to be trivial when things were going smoothly, seem to expand to enormous proportions. The feeling of not being heard and not being known dominates.
While it is not always apparent what begins the relationship issues, all mixtures of hunting after, guarding, and withdrawing finally seem to have an existence of their own. Usually the source of the problem is long forgotten and every person initiates and becomes the survivor of the blame game. A substantial portion of the time, couples therapists end up facing two people that are engaged in an outright battle with each other. Other events the quiets could be deafening. The majority of the time, regardless of what the pattern, there’s an excellent sense of pain exerted by both parties.
After being a therapist for several years, Dr. Johnson started to become curious about what was in the heart of what she was watching in the patterns of engagement and disengagement from the couples she had been counseling. She understood that when couples learned how to argue better, analyze their youth problems, or work on sexual intimacy problems it was often inadequate to create lasting change for them. Instead, Dr. Johnson started to examine the psychological underpinnings of relationships that reveal that couples are really emotionally connected and subject to one another in ways that are like the attachment of a parent and child. With this as a main concern she realized that couples therapy intimacy issues in treatment were typically unable to comprehend and connect what was happening for them in a deeper level, therefore surface level interventions were bound to be inadequate.
Attempting To improve communication skills when deeper issues are left unresolved explains why only learning how to communicate better would not typically bring any lasting change. To get at the deeper issues to help couples heal, Dr. Johnson understood that couples should have the choice to become more open, attuned, and receptive to one another. This strategy encourages them reestablish emotional connection.