When working with couples in addition to our life and professional experiences of being in a relationship, we draw on the approach of U.S. Gestalt psychotherapists Robert and Rita Resnick, which they called the model of connection in a couple. The basic idea of this approach is that we inevitably face differences in every couple. Usually, cultural norms (especially Western ones) teach us that differences are worth overcoming. Often this means a mutual expectation that the partner will be like me – i.e. a merger of the couple’s members, which eventually leads to a cumulative mutual frustration or separation.
The Resnick model focuses heavily on seeing differences not as a problem but as an opportunity for two authentic people to talk to each other. A real meeting between people requires two separate individuals. Contact requires both connecting and retreat, and movement between these two poles is a natural process of relationship.
Then the goal of therapy is not to try to “reconcile”, but to try to reveal both members of the couple to each other as they are. In this case, partners have the opportunity to try to hear the other and express their needs – to seek dialogue without losing themselves or the connection with the other.
„When two become one – there are none“
– Robert & Rita Resnick
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