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Needs-oriented couples therapy,
traumasensitive relationship coaching
the 3 Pillars of the Evolutionary Relationship

Successful therapy requires a paradigm shift in the guidance of couples!

Rouven has developed these methods from 13 years of experience, accompanying well over a thousand couples. Starting as a seminar facilitator and life coach, then specializing as a couples therapist, being CEO at his own institute for relational development and running a practice in Saarbrücken and Leipzig has made the main problems in relationships evident to him:

Firstly these are the built up frustrations due to individual unmet needs. Secondly the destructive dynamics that develop in the relationship from the unmet needs, which then ultimately lead to the creation of distance and loss of connection. These are behavioral patterns that are in fact instinctual protective mechanisms arising from relational trauma and imprints from past experiences. This is why a trauma-sensitive approach is so essential for sustainable and successful guidance.

Most traditional methods and therapy styles address the wrong issue here, because they only focus on couple dynamics or - secretly or quite obviously - assume a "right" or "wrong", i.e. a morally or value-based coherent behavior.

However, people's values, desires and especially their needs are highly individual. So only addressing the relational dynamic or individual behavior is not the place to start for long lasting change. Rather it is to work with the behavior in conflicts of opposing needs and values. Trauma sensitivity and an awareness of one's own needs and hidden strategies to fulfill them must also be developed in order to enable self-responsibility and accountability towards others.

This opens up new paths of possibilities in relationships where one could only see dead ends before.

Trauma-sensitive guides are needed to help people learn to feel their needs and start to meet them independently as well as in a partnership-compatible way.


The "Needs-oriented Couples Therapy" is methodically structured in the "3 Pillars of an Evolutionary Relationship" developed by Dr. Rouven Schneider with the support of clinical psychologists.

It is based on the most modern scientific foundations of psychology, polyvagal and trauma theory and behavioral research. The methodology focuses on state of the art knowledge about the human nervous system, somatic therapy approaches and neuropsychology.

Needs-oriented couples therapy sees no perpetrator or blame! Pathology names, diagnoses, evaluations and judgements are completely avoided as well as moral and value concepts. This is how we respect the individuality of our clients, without putting someone into an ideological box in where they don´t feel seen or heard.

What is an Evolutionary Relationship?

An evolutionary relationship is part of a new paradigm of relating that sees love as a guide rather than a goal, leading us deeper into connection with ourselves and the other through relating. 

It invites the possibility that a relationship can be so much more than just a place to get your individual needs met, but actually a place where we can support each other to heal, grow and evolve as human beings.

This way of relating moves beyond the misconception that disharmony equals disconnection, but rather sees relational challenges as an opportunity to deepen in trust with each other. 

The foundation of an evolutionary relationship is built upon self-responsiblility, needs-orientation and transparency combined with continuously turning towards each other.

An evolutionary relationship invites change rather than trying to avoid it, so that the relationship can keep evolving and meeting the ever changing inner and outer needs.

An evolutionary relationship is sustainable and resilient and can react to external and internal developments and disturbing impulses. It does not draw its stability from external regulations but from the deep, authentic connection between the partners. In this way, a solution is always found, while the relationship remains alive and flexible - needs-oriented.

The 3 Pillars of Evolutionary Relating


Pillar 1 - Needs orientation

Needs are the driving force for EVERYTHING we do or don't do in life. There is ALWAYS a need behind it. All too often needs influence our actions, our values and thus our behavior from the subconscious.

In couples therapy it is important to become aware of the (often) unconscious reason why someone feels or acts the way they do. It is also important to create an awareness in the client of how profoundly one's own needs determine one's attitude and actions. In addition, creating an sensitivity for the natural and the conditioned protective mechanisms that come from an activated nervous system.

It is essential for a self-responsible relationship management to understand oneself to the highes degree and to continuously gain an awareness of why one behaves the way one does.

Here the focused lies on (hidden) patterns as well as habits in thinking and behavior. Beliefs, rigid ideas and compensation mechanisms are gently uncovered, analyzed with clarity and then transformed so that they are more in line with the needs of the partnership.

Pillar 2 - Benevolence

Couples therapy must be about developing an understanding and acceptance for one's own needs and reactions as well as for those of the other person.

This is where we use theoretical presentations of the respective couple dynamics and also tangible exercises and methods for establishing and strengthening connection or overcoming emotional distance and building empathy.

On the path towards more closeness, the motivation of the individual ultimately becomes apparent - at the same time, it suffers most from hurt, disappointments or betrayal.

Here, empathy and absolute neutrality are required from the coach or therapist. A constant switch of perspective is recommended, which leads the client back and forth between the emotional and the theoretical-objective level.


This is important, so that on the one hand there is space for the emotions and on the other hand a superordinate, analytical level of reflection that enables self-responsible action.

Pillar 3 - Transparency

Since awareness and benevolence are not everything, and both become unstable when the partnership faces new stressful challenges, the third element that is needed is that each individual is really showing up in the relationship.

You have to show yourself. Only then can the other person also see you, assess you and choose to courageously reduce his or her own protective mechanisms. This is a reciprocal dynamic.

This aspect requires a lot of sensitivity, because many people find it difficult to be truly transparent and to enter into real connection. But the one does not work without the other.

This is where every form of communication comes in: verbally, in body language, in dealing with each other, in deeds and actions, but of course also in physical closeness and sexuality.

Practical application

The actual procedure of applicating this methodology in couples therapy is structured much more individually-flexibly for the client and ideally it is not a matter of "ticking off" the 3 pillars in a certain order. The respective couple dynamics are too individual and the motivations too unique for that.

It is therefore important that you are able to respond artistically to the respective situation and the needs of the client, with a wide range of tangible methods. We will practice this in depth during the training!

This is exactly where the comprehensive toolbox comes in, which you will be taught in the training - always in the context of the 3 pillars but also with focus on applicability.

Theoretical methods and analysis such as motivation analysis, needs analysis, analysis of couple dynamics and the nervous system etc. show precisely and comprehensively where the building blocks, the inhibiting beliefs and emotional or somatic blockages as well as destructive behavior patterns are located. The profound and yet easily understandable methods give clients an understanding of why they act the way they do and allows them to shift their patterns into a more positive relational behavior.

This provides the base for integrity as well as motivation and ownership for clients to bring about long lasting changes in their couple dynamics.

In addition, there are numerous practical exercises! On the one hand, they serve for new experiences and progress in the sessions, but they also make it possible, as homework, to take a closer look at one's own needs and behavior patterns. On the other hand, the multifaceted, practical approach also serves the uncovering of emotional distances and blockages in the clients, which can be directly brought into motion with empathetic guidance.

Practicability & Usability

The practical approach speaks more to the emotional and somatical truth of the individual, while the theoretical approach feeds the mind and thus provides insights and awareness. Only both together ensure that the experiential reality and complexity of our clients partnership structure are taken in full consideration!

As a guide of couple-dynamic processes, you need a profound understanding of the methodology, a solid toolkit and the flexibility to switch empathetically between clear guidance (lead) and gentle emotional accompaniment (pace) of the clients.


And this is exactly what you will be trained in in the Evolutionary Relationship Coaching Training.

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