Therapeutic Separation (TS) is recommended when partners are burned out towards eachother, constantly “setting eachother off” and acting out in damaging ways.
It is an established period of time where you continue your work in therapy, you remain a couple, but you reside apart. The “time away” is strategic and intended to allow partners to calm down and regroup so that they have the focus, energy and emotional balance to work on repairing the marriage rather than letting proximity and reactivity force a premature divorce. Sara has orchestrated many dozens of these interventions and supports the couple to create the Terms of the Separation collaboratively and clearly. Weekly couples sessions are imperative, and individual sessions are highly recommended.
Sara sets the couple up for success in their TS by guiding them to address these (and other) relevant issues. These become the Terms of Separation
- Sex and intimacy with each other or others during the time apart*
- Managing “family time” if desired during the TS
- Management of finances,
- Privacy issues (who they tell, and what is permissible to say)
- Care and visitation of children, and keeping the impact on children as minimal as possible
- Establishing date nights and parameters on “heavy” discussions
- Care of pets, parents, household tasks, etc
- goals of individual therapy (particular “stretch moves” each will be making in order to skillbuild in areas of relational impasse
*Note: In the most successful TS, the couple remains monogamous. Sara recommends against the introduction of any dating, as it destabilizes the marriage. The goal of the TS is to keep the energy IN the marriage.
During the separation couples are encouraged to save problem solving and relationship work for their couples counselling sessions in order to decrease escalation, a return to prior fight patterns, and repeated experience of failure.
The couples counselling sessions will include a check-in on the progress of their TS, as well as an update on their personal growth, as related to couples dynamics.