Couples Therapy – How Mutuality Can Help Couples Relationships
There are couples that, when I ask them “Do you know what your partner is afraid of?” They can’t tell me. From my perspective, they don’t know who their partner is. If they can’t tell me what their partner is afraid of then all they really know is all the ways the partner protects, and defends themselves, and maintains whatever image is popular for them. Whether it’s being strong, pleasing, or being perfect, all they know is images.
To have a truly intimate relationship you have to be able to go beyond the images and really connect and touch one another. So that’s why I really emphasize developing a mutual attitude. But this is an art. It’s not easy, because all of your training and conditioning is basically to stay protected, and be careful that you don’t expose yourself. That you don’t get hurt and that you can’t trust and all of those things will keep you at a distance. But in a mutual attitude it will help you to move beyond that kind of conditioning where you really have a passion and an interest and an intimacy with one-another. Another big part of the mutual attitude is holding onto the idea that “we’re together, and we are really equal.” This is vital to be able to support that kind of equality. This is especially important in a culture that is constantly emphasizing differences and telling us how we’re not equal with one another because every time you say you’re better than someone, you’re saying you’re not equal with that 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.