In the Secret of a Couple Therapy

Pascaline, 42, and Charles, 40, live in Montpellier with their two children aged 13 and 9. Charles has the opportunity to be transferred to Paris. A promotion. "We wonder if we have to separate because, in any case, we do not share much anymore." Anne Sauzède-Lagarde and Jean-Paul Sauzède, therapists of couples, Gestaltists and systemicians, receive them in therapy. They tell.

Cécile Guéret

First meeting

This crisis is a chance!

"We are amazed by the way in which they seize their chairs, they know what they want and go on, without question, Pascaline and Charles met during their engineering studies. They were well placed in the exams: an efficient pair, they settled where Charles had a job, Pascaline also found a job, but her maternity clinics slowed down her career, so that in 2012 she started a conversion to We ask them if they still share a sexuality. "Nothing!" exclaims Charles Pascaline sweeps the issue with a wave of the hand.They are concerned about the mutation. "We must give an answer. problem must be solved! "But what is the problem?

We suppose a difficulty of differentiation In a couple, the partners merge and distancing themselves regularly It is a living process of v back and forth, like a breath, by which, alternately, each resource the couple and the couple strengthens each one. But when the partners are not at the same pace or, as here, the merger is slow to return, the couple fears for its viability. Pascaline and Charles worked well as long as they were going in the same direction. Except that, little by little, their conjugal couple disappeared behind the professional and then the parental couple. Now that they are in their forties and children are growing up, and as often for those who have had little life together before starting a family, they wonder what they are doing together. Their sexuality or the possible mutation of Monsieur are only symptoms. We make the assumption that the problem is their lack of intimacy and common project. But this crisis is a chance! Because it illuminates what they have never wanted to look at, out of fear, laziness or lack of time; it gives them the opportunity to reflect on their couple and their desire (or not) to continue together. "

Second session

We make sure to restore dialogue between them

" As often happens, they declare that they have not spoken of anything since the previous meeting."Anyway, he does not speak," pauses Pascaline. "To say what? I know she does not want my promotion! "Gets away Charles. "If, she continues, this week, I was able to put that because of children I did not have a career and that our life was organized on his professional choices! "The tone goes up, aggressive. They accuse each other, turned towards us, as if we were referees who counted the points. We are struck by the vitality of their couple: Charles intervenes easily, cuts the floor, and Pascaline does not lack arguments. We make them work in circularity: what does Charles feel when he reformulates what Pascaline says? Is that really what she meant? How does she feel to hear it that way?

We are vigilant in restoring the dialogue between them. Because if the communication does not solve the problem of the couple, it is a necessary precondition. Being heard by each other, more in what they feel than in the content of what they are living, helps the partners to join. Now, Charles and Pascaline seem more accustomed to deciding, first together then each for himself, to talk to each other. Different themes are thus approached. The education of children, for example, Pascaline complaining of not being supported. To which Charles replies that "it is necessary to earn money", before admitting that he feels awkward with them. Their voices are more serious, the rhythm of their exchanges, slower. When Charles's eyes become moist, Pascaline hands him the box of tissues; he puts a hand on his thigh. The moment is precious. The more they reveal themselves, the more they taste the intimacy that is reborn between them. They smile at each other, evoking the happy phases of their relationship, especially their awkward young parents. The word circulates again. "

Third session

Pascaline and Charles are caught in a toxic game

" Smiling, Pascaline opens the session: "Charles returned earlier. Two times. "Charles says his pleasure to have found a little privacy. "Sexual? "We ask. "Once! "We propose a work of" sculpture ". Each in turn, they put themselves together in a posture that symbolizes their relationship today. This allows to live the situation corporeally and to highlight their differences of points of view. Then everyone says what he feels, what hurts him, what makes the posture uncomfortable and how he would like to change it. Pascaline installs Charles an arm and a leg forward, as if he was leaving, while looking towards her, who holds it with both hands. She talks about her fear that he is going away and his sadness not to share more things with him. Charles feels that she is pulling him too hard. He puts his hands on his hips: "Like that, I do not want to approach you anymore. "It's his turn: he installs Pascaline standing, head bent towards his hands, busy, while he leans on her, back to back.He feels solid in this physical contact. She shares her loneliness and cries.

Obviously, Charles and Pascaline are caught in a toxic game for their couple, where the more it slows down and takes care of it, the more it invests outside. And reciprocally. A couple is in good health when the transition from "I" to "we" is fluid: the partners are at the service of the couple when it is necessary; and sometimes the couple is in the background, to support individual projects. Occupied separately, Pascaline and Charles lost their sight. What is their common sphere? What do they want to share? We suggest that they each organize a surprise for each other, to encourage them to spend time together. "

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