Existential analytical couple therapy

Areas of conflict in couple relationships and essential features of treatment

Christoph Kolbe

Key words: couple relationship, couple conflict, relationship, psychodynamics

The goal of existential analytical couple therapy is to enable the examination of what is existentially important to each of the partners. To achieve this on an interpersonal and intra-psychological level, it is necessary to determine what is essential to the respec­tive person involved, to figure out its specific significance, and therefore establish access to a new position. Its essentiality comes to view as soon as the personal values as well as the interplay between the fundamental motivational preconditions of those involved become apparent.


Attitudes and practical procedures in existential analytical couple therapy and counseling

Alfried Längle

Key words: Existential Analysis, counselling, couple therapy, existential fundamental motivations, Personal Existential Analysis

In Existential Analysis the treatment of couples is generally approached by gaining access to the individual person. Attitudes and personal dialogue, that is to say its disorder, are focussed on. Respect for the other and the ability to be oneself are deemed indispensably necessary for a succeeding couple constellation. The basics for a functioning couple relationship are seen in the personalisation of their inter­action. Due to the focus on preservation, psychodynamically determined couple dy­namics can endanger the relationship (giving important impulses in return how­ever). Following an introductive reflection on couple relationships, their specific dynamics of are sketched according to the four existential fundamental motivations. The major part depicts the gradual steps taken, alter­nating between problem and resource orientation, for the structuring of existential analytical therapy for couples in conflict. This procedure can either achieve simple relief in the conflict, or it can be applied for a struc­tural treatment of the couple relationship.


Decision – When relationships come to an end

Susanne Jaeger-Gerlach

Key words: decision, narrative biographical work, counselling and therapy for couples

When a couple comes to an end, the ques­tion is, whether the partners will depart from one another, or rather part from their beha­viour, their views and wishes which stand in the way of them as a couple. Coun­selling, accompaniment, and therapy are then sought for, in which, in the best of all cases, encoun­ter is enhanced through thera­peutic accom­pani­ment.

In this lecture, I wish to present a biography-orientated concept with which I try to guide couples through the jungle of diverging feelings in order for them to tell their stories as individuals and as a couple, with the in­tention to help them find their answer to the questions above, and further establish possibilities for separation, or otherwise separating from the differences standing between them.


Why the two of us?

Godela von Kirchbach

Key words: bonding, existential fundamental motivations, couple myth, falling in love, sexual attraction, romantic love

This article describes the different stages of how couples form and persist, i.e. those of attraction, falling in love, forming a couple and bonding. Furthermore, it looks at the relations of these stages with each other as well as at the various factors involved on the evolutionary psychological, social, psycho­logical and neurophysiological levels. This leads to the question of what constitutes the subjective identity of a couple which has to be considered in every couple counselling.


Therapeutic interventions in families and couple relationships for lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transsexuals

Udo Rauchfleisch

Key words: sexuality, coming out, couple relationship, therapy for families and couples

Some lesbians, gays, bisexuals and trans­sexuals live in couple relationships with or without children before their coming out. Others begin a couple relationship after their coming out. Also, problems can evolve with their family of origin, making the therapeutic inclusion of the person concerned seem sensible. In the lecture, the most important therapeutic strategies and primary themes in these interventions are described: Parting from the previous couple and family relationship, analysis of disappointments and injuries, handling the coming out of the family together, arrangements for the future together, specific chances and risks of same-sex partnerships.


The yearning for absolute love

Jürg Willi

Key words: erotic-sensual love, love (absolute), yearning for love, therapy for couples, partner relationship

Love is not definable. But the way love shows and develops can be described. This contribution approaches an aspect of love, the yearning for absolute love. Being in good hands with the loved one and the dissolution of all that separates throughout time and space is longed for. A new becoming of self is hoped for through love. The yearning for love is maintained in the background of a relationship, but only partially fulfilled. This leads to pain and loneliness in love. The yearning for absolute love is an introverted process, often lived in ones imagination and fantasy. Such yearning does not depend on reciprocity, which becomes visible in its extreme form as the delusion of love. The injuries resulting from the yearning for love should be given more attention to in therapy.


Integrated model using existential analytical and communication techniques

Experimental validation of Existential Analysis

Lucio Demetrio Regazzo, Gianluca Regazzo

Key words: Randomized Controlled Trial (RCT), Gottman, American Psychology Association (APA), outcomes, Evidence-Based Psychology (EST)

Presentation of a model which integrates different techniques and is used for couple therapy. Experimental validation of Existential Analysis employing criteria of the experimental validation system EST (Evidence-Based Psychology) on couples with high risk of divorce.