27 Mar Coronavirus and protecting your relationship
A few days ago, I listened to an interview with Dr Sue Johnson, developer of Emotionally Focused Therapy for Couples, as she shared her thoughts on Coronavirus and relationships. Among the many important thoughts she shared, one seemed most prominent.
“What we have learned is that we’re all connected, whether we like it or not,” said Dr Sue. If we didn’t know this already, we’ve sure been shown now.
Sue continued, “That’s an incredible lesson, the way the world is now. There’s no such thing as a long way away anymore. We’re all going to either come together, or not. And if we don’t come together we’re busy creating an inhumane world full of loneliness and disconnection, where we can’t cooperate.”
The coronavirus has forced people into isolation and physical distancing. The panic and fear is palpable within the supermarkets and the city of Melbourne has shut down into silence. “These are challenging times!” is gradually becoming a common phrase, people are pivoting to keep businesses alive and survival mode is a constant for many.
Yet, generous acts of kindness, like dropping groceries at a neighbour’s door or sharing a few rolls of toilet paper, are keeping us connected, cared for and reminding us to come together.
“What a time to have a greater appreciation for relationships,” said Dr Sue. “This is a place where we could learn to turn towards each other – to be more together.”
When a crisis like this hits, couples will either become closer or more distant. In order protect your relationship and cultivate closeness, couples will need to get curious – curious about their own reactions, their partner’s reactions, their own feelings and their partner’s feelings. With curiosity and kindness, ruptures can be repaired and conflicts kept to a minimum.
George Faller, American therapist and co-producer of the podcast Foreplay Radio, says, “When two people start heading towards each other and open up space to explore and discover, good things happen. But when they never have conversations we know where that leads, which is further and further distance.” We don’t need more distance right now. It’s a time to get close and get curious.
Here at Couples Therapy Melbourne, we’re offering online counselling with both couples and individuals. If you’d like to learn more about our video sessions or to book an online appointment, contact us at 1300 78 184 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Natalie Claire King, Couples Therapist.