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Relational Drawings in Couple Therapy

Authors


concerning this article should be addressed to Peter Rober, Context UZ Leuven – IFSW (KU Leuven), Kapucijnenvoer 33, B 3000, Leuven, Belgium. E-mail: peter.rober@med.kuleuven.be

Abstract

In couple therapy sessions, partners often get into long and drawn-out discussions, heavy with pain, resentment, and blame. It is vital for the therapist to avoid becoming entangled in these escalating interactions. In this article, as one way of avoiding these interactions, a protocol is proposed of using relational drawings in couple therapy for opening space for new stories. This approach is strongly rooted in extensive therapeutic experience, as well as in dialogical ideas. Not the content of the partners' imagery is central, but rather the dialogical exchange about the drawings. In particular, the focus of the therapist is on the partners' interactions, their hesitations and their surprises. Working in this way opens space for the partners to reflect on what they experience as crucial in their bond. The protocol is illustrated with two detailed case examples.

RESUMEN

En las sesiones de terapia de pareja los pacientes suelen tener conversaciones muy prolongadas cargadas de dolor, resentimiento y culpa. Es de vital importancia que el terapeuta evite enredarse en estas interacciones, que se hacen más y más intensas. En este artículo se propone un modo de conseguirlo, un procedimiento en el que se usan dibujos relacionales en la terapia de pareja para abrir un espacio para nuevas historias. Este enfoque está fuertemente arraigado en una amplia experiencia en terapia, así como en ideas dialógicas. No es el contenido de las imágenes creadas por los pacientes lo que tiene mayor importancia, sino el intercambio dialógico sobre los dibujos. En especial, el terapeuta se concentrará en las interacciones de la pareja, sus dudas y sus sorpresas. Trabajar de este modo abre un espacio para que ambos miembros de la pareja reflexionen sobre lo que consideran crucial en su unión. El procedimiento se ilustra con dos ejemplos detallados.
Palabras clave: terapia relacional, no-verbal, dialógico, dibujos

Abstract

In couple therapy sessions, partners often get into long and drawn-out discussions, heavy with pain, resentment and blame. It is vital for the therapist to avoid becoming entangled in these escalating interactions. In this article, as one way of avoiding these interactions, a protocol is proposed of using relational drawings in couple therapy for opening space for new stories. This approach is strongly rooted in extensive therapeutic experience, as well as in dialogical ideas. Not the content of the partners' imagery is central, but rather the dialogical exchange about the drawings. In particular, the focus of the therapist is on the partners' interactions, their hesitations and their surprises. Working in this way opens space for the partners to reflect on what they experience as crucial in their bond. The protocol is illustrated with two detailed case examples.
inline image relational therapy, non-verbal, dialogical, drawings

Abstract

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