Are you struggling with your relationship or has your marriage hit a dead end? Would you like to find out whether you can continue as a couple or if it would be better to break up? I’m Natalie Marby, an English speaking therapist in Hamburg and I offer marriage counselling and couples therapy for expats and bilingual couples. I also offer couples sessions alternating between English and German, as well as same sex couples counselling. Read more about: The 4 most common problems in expat relationships.
Making the choice to go to couples counselling involves admitting that things are not perfect in your relationship. This can be scary, especially if you are not familiar with what therapy is about. There are some common issues that indicate that a couple could benefit from therapy sessions, such as major breach of trust, increasing arguments, poor communication or dysfunctional conflicts. In any case, if something feels wrong in your partnership, it’s worth giving couples therapy a try. Read more about how to communicate better with your partner: 4 quick steps to improve communication in a relationship.
If you partner is unwilling to attend couples therapy, you can do these sessions by yourself. I call this “couples counselling without a partner”, and it can be as effective as if your partner was at your side. The main goal is to understand your feelings and identify ways to improve or change your relationship. In some cases, couples counselling without a partner is even more effective, as it helps you to focus on your needs and to understand and love yourself for these needs. Moreover, a sceptic partner will often join in the course of the therapy.
In the first session, I ask each partner to express their current view on the relationship and how it makes him or her feel. While we are talking, I observe the interaction and from this, I create an inner “Gestalt” (or character) of the relationship, which can be for example a feeling of neglect on one side, together with the feeling of excessive demands on the other, or a mutual, subcounscious fear of intimacy in both partners, which is not apparent at first sight. The identification of the Gestalt helps with understanding the underlying problem and with changing views and behaviour. It can also help to change strong beliefs about the relationship and the accompanying expectations and demands. My method is a combination of cognitive behaviour therapy, psychoanalysis, art therapy and inner child healing. In addition, couples are given homework in between the sessions. Read more about what to expect in my sessions: "What happens in couples counselling?"
On average, couples come to see me for 5 to 6 sessions. After that, they generally feel either happy as a couple again or are willing to decouple in a conscious, conflict-free way. Couples therapy, as well as marriage counselling or premarriage counselling is not intended to be a long-term therapy. Instead, it is in most cases limited to a couple of nevertheless intense sessions.
The price for a 60 minute couples therapy session is 150 € (if you come without your partner, the fee is 110 € for a 60 minute session). Most couples and individuals visit me every other week. To book a first session, you can send me an email or call me: +49 40 46090233. If you send an email or reach my voicemail, please don’t forget to leave your phone number and the times I can reach you, so that I can call you back. Thanks and looking forward to hearing from you!
Not sure about how to get started? 4 tips for expats seeking couples therapy in Germany.