The Relationship Blog

Couples Therapy – Using How You Judge Your Partner To Learn About Yourself

What is True Intimacy?

True intimacy is when you’re able to expose something that’s difficult for you in presence of your partner, as they are doing the same. The romantic picture in movies, where a couple is running down a hill together in the sunset, is what we’re raised on as intimacy. But the real intimacy is when we really appreciate and value the exposure of our unacceptable parts with our partner and are open to the other at the same time.

How Long Does it Take in Couples Therapy to Make a Change in Couple

The level of commitment the couple has, their willingness to risk, their willingness to reveal their own fears, ability to move beyond their comfort zones and their willingness to be vulnerable in really letting themselves share and be open are the keys to intimacy. In couples that are open to this process, I can make major changes in couples within three to six months, when seeing them once a week. As the couple grows, I can then spread the sessions out to to every two weeks..

This is not the case with couples where one or both have very ingrained personalities who are totally devoted protecting themselves and their images. Typically they regard vulnerability as the enemy, and go to great lengths to protect themselves from these feelings. So in these cases it’s a much longer process and takes a longer time. My ability to hold the vulnerability is severely tested when I’m confronted by these particular character disorders, such as a narcissistic person, an avoidant person, or an extremely negative person.

Author: Bruce Derman Ph.D. is a licensed clinical psychologist in private practice in Woodland Hills and Santa Monica, California who specializes in working with people in all stages of relationships. You may reach Dr. Derman by calling (818) 375-7194.

For more information on couples therapy, contact Dr. Bruce Derman PH.D. at

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