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!
After 13 years, first as a seminar fascilitator and life coach and then specialising as a couple therapist, being CEO at my institute and running a practice in Saarbrücken and Leipzig - after accompanying well over a thousand couples -, the main problems in relationships are evident to me:
In the first instance, these are frustrated needs, which then lead to damaging dynamics in the second instance and ultimately always to the creation of distance and loss of connection. These are behavioural patterns that are ultimately protective mechanisms arising from previous imprints. This is why a trauma-sensitive approach is so essential for sustainable and successful accompaniment of people.
Most traditional methods and forms of therapy address the wrong place 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 behaviour.
However, people's values, desires and above all needs are highly individual in depth. This is not the place to start for sustainable change, but only the way of dealing with each other and thus the behaviour in conflicts of needs and values is essential. At the same time, trauma sensitivity and an awareness of one's own needs and hidden patterns of fulfilling them must be achieved in order to enable people to act responsibly.
This opens up paths where previously only dead ends were suspected.
People need trauma-sensitive guides to learn to feel their needs, to fathom them and to live them out independently but in a partnership-compatible way.
The "Needs-oriented Couples Therapy" is methodically structured in the "3 Pillars of an Evolutionary Relationship" developed by the clinical psychologist Miriam Andrea Krafft and myself.
It is based on the most modern scientific foundations of psychology, polyvagal and trauma theory and the social behaviour of people. The methodology focuses on the state of the art of knowledge about the human nervous system, somatic therapy approaches, neuropsychology and behavioural research.
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, even though the relationship remains alive and flexible - needs-oriented.
Needs-oriented couples therapy does completely without a perpetrator or blame! Pathology names, diagnoses, evaluations and judgements are completely avoided and moral and value concepts play no role. Only in this way can we do justice to the individuality of the clients without putting someone into an ideological box in which they feel unnoticed anyway.
Pillar 1 - Needsorientation
Needs drive EVERYTHING we do or don't do in life. There is ALWAYS a need behind it. But all too often needs influence our actions, our values and thus our behaviour from the subconscious.
In couples therapy, it is important to become aware of the (often) unconscious drives why someone feels something the way they do or acts accordingly, and to sensitise the client to how profoundly one's own needs determine one's own attitude and actions.
In addition, there are natural and conditioned protective mechanisms that come from the activated nervous system.
It is essential for self-responsible relationship management to understand oneself and to gain an awareness of why I behave the way I do.
Here, attention is focused on (hidden) patterns and habits in thinking and acting. Beliefs, rigid ideas and compensation mechanisms are sensitively uncovered, analysed with clarity and gently transformed so that they are more in line with the needs of the partnership.
Pillar 2 - Benevolence
In a further step, couples therapy must be about gaining understanding and acceptance for one's own needs and reactions as well as for those of the other person.
This is where theoretical presentations of the respective couple dynamics come into play, but also tangible exercises and methods for establishing and strengthening connection or overcoming distance and building empathy.
On the path towards closeness, the motivation of the individual ultimately becomes apparent - at the same time, it suffers most from injuries, disappointments or betrayal.
Here, empathy and absolute neutrality are required from the coach or therapist and a constant change of perspective is recommended, which leads the client back and forth between the emotional level and the theoretical-objective level, so that on the one hand there is room for the emotions and on the other hand a superordinate, analytical level of reflection enables autonomous action.
Pillar 3 - Transparency
Since insight and benevolence are not everything, and both become unstable when the partnership faces new stressful challenges, the third thing that is needed is the showing up of each individual in the relationship.
I have to show myself, only then can the other person also see me, assess me and courageously reduce his or her protective mechanisms on the basis of this. 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 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.
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 do justice to the experiential world and complexity of the partnership structure of the clients!
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 accompaniment (pace) of the clients.
And this is exactly what you will be provided in the training to become an Evolutionary Relationship Coach.
The actual procedure in couples therapy is then 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 different 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 practise 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 in the context of applicability.
Theoretical methods of analysis such as motivation analysis, needs analysis, analysis of couple dynamics and the nervous system etc. show precisely and comprehensibly for everyone where the building blocks, the inhibiting beliefs and emotional or somatic blockages as well as damaging behaviour patterns are located. The highly profound and yet easily understandable methods of analysis give clients the opportunity for an understanding of why they act the way they do.
This forms the basis for integrity as well as motivation and ownership in clients to bring about change in couple dynamics.
In addition, there are numerous practical exercises! On the one hand, they serve for new experiences and progress in the accompaniment, but they also make it possible, as homework, to take a closer look at one's own needs and behaviour patterns. On the other hand, the multifaceted, practical approach in therapy also serves to uncover distancing attitudes and blockages in the clients, which can be directly brought into motion with empathetic accompaniment.