The Developmental Model of Couples Therapy (Bader-Pearson Model) has three main pillars: differentiation theory, attachment theory and the most recent research on neuroscience and the impact of brain/nervous system function on couples. It is based on the premise that particular aspects of childhood development will influence how an adult engages in their love relationships. How we attached to care-givers in childhood and how our relationships with them developed determines how well we can create intimate adult relationships. If aspects of our development in childhood was thwarted, it will be revealed by painful and unremitting distresses in our adult love relationships. The majority of people do experience deficits in nurture in their formative years, and have inadequate models and skills to have a robust relationship.
Couples counselling shows partners where their development got stuck and gives them specific relationship tasks to practise in order to consciously pursue healing within themselves and intimacy with their partner.
Ideally, couples move through these four stages (not necessarily in strict order). However, many couples go off the rails between stages; for example, a Power Struggle can begin between Bonding and Differentiation. Sara will be able to assess where your partnership has mired and offer clear developmental assists to build the missing skills that will allow attaining the next stage
Bonding: “We are one”
The stage were you fall in love, the honeymoon where you adore everything about the other and effortlessly “get” everything about each other.
Differentiation: “We are different”
The stage here your individual differences begin to appear, conflicts and frustrations arise, and you don’t “get” each other at all.
Practicing: “I like my independence”
The stage where you develop a distinct identity and begin to undertake activities with others or on your own, enjoying time spent apart–”I need me too”.
Rapprochement: “Moving close, moving away”
Both partners succeed in the task of remaining stable within themselves as they share time together and then move apart. Partners can also accede their needs for the greater relationship good, and sexual connection deepens. “I need me and you”.
Synergy: “One plus one is greater than two”
Here you remain your own unique selves and engage in shared projects, enjoying the cross-pollination that comes from joining your energies and perspectives. A collaborative alliance forms between you, enhancing intimacy, your shared life, and sexuality.