Watching couples communicate in my office sometimes feels like watching a tennis match. And, although there are times when I’m on the edge of my seat, I’m by no means a spectator. I see myself more as the coach, the referee, the commentator, and a supportive parent in the stands. As long as they’re not going all John McEnroe on each other, I feel equipped to play all these roles.
Whether or not couples realize it, their pre-therapy communication often includes offensive and defensive postures. There are verbal and non-verbal strategies we learned long ago to protect ourselves in the midst of danger. And, in the case of couples, the danger is intimacy.