Cultivating Healthy Intimacy
As a recognition of differing epistemologies is essential between counselor and client, it is even more important between intimate partners. One of the central causes of interpersonal conflict is when two people are “speaking different languages” but do not know it.
We tend to assume that others perceive and judge the world as we do and often run into problems when we assume that our reality is everyone’s reality. The majority of interpersonal work involves helping people recognize this, reshaping the mental landscape of relating, and reshaping communication.
It is a process crucial to healthy relationships at every level—intimate, familial, societal, and political.
Our choice of partner is often not a coincidence. Their unique array of a partner’s traits often fit like a puzzle piece with our own characteristics– sometimes in good ways and sometimes in volatile ways.
“When a dyad is healthy, these differences are complementary and create a unifying tension that cultivates intimacy.”
When there is unresolved anger and resentment, these differences continually polarize. Because our partners tend to activate our core ways of relating to close others, we tend to project our trauma, unresolved wounds, and fears onto them which corrupts intimacy in a partnership. Much of the work that happens in couple’s therapy involves re-owning these projections and clearing space to perceive our partner without the haze of illusion that projections create. In this way, real intimacy can grow. Read about getting started.