Neurodynamic Couples Therapy
Utilizing Natural Right-Brain Activation to Create Change
Couples walk into a therapist’s office with their emotions already stirred up. They are experiencing the right-brain activation that is nature’s way of offering them an opportunity to heal each other. Neurodynamic Couples Therapy provides a framework for understanding how the emotional triggers between mates are inevitable and useful, rather than avoidable and destructive. This approach to treatment interprets the dramatic interactions of a couple as neurobiologically programmed sources of growth and change.
The theoretical foundations of Neurodynamic Couples Therapy are:
- Intersubjectivity–a systems theory
- Attachment theory and infant research
- Affective therapies
Neurodynamic Couples Therapy is based on the assumption that our brains have programmed within them a natural process for flushing out problematic emotions that have been stored since childhood. These old losses, wounds, and traumas that are stored mostly in the nonconscious portion of our brains must be metabolized in order to free our minds from childhood experiences that are blocking our abilities to use our brains for psychological maturing and the creation of a pleasing life. Nature’s path for metabolizing these old childhood feelings is through primary adult partners implementing the following steps:
- Experiencing the feelings in real time
- Putting words to the feelings
- Attaching the feelings to childhood experiences instead of present conflict
- Experiencing empathy and understanding with each other
- Completing the metabolizing by integrating the feelings into a more highly developed sense of self and others
The integrated and integrative methodology of Neurodynamic Couples Therapy is designed to help couples safely navigate this natural process with each other. It is a non-pathologizing approach that assumes all couples have chosen the right partner for mutual healing. It views a couple’s repetitive conflicts as an attempt by both of their brains to force a re-experiencing of the past in order to kick-start the metabolizing process. Rather than the goal being to resolve current conflicts, it is to understand more deeply and fully which feelings that have fueled intractable conflicts need to be known, spoken and freed from the bondage of the past. When the brains of life partners no longer need conflicts to expose old feelings, their struggles will disappear and be replaced with mature intimacy.