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To stay together or separate?

Many couples are facing this decision and would like some professional support to help them in their situation. After all, this is one of the most far-reaching decisions a person can have to make in life. I offer support both in terms of easing the separation process and helping you make the decision.


Separation counselling

Some couples do not believe their relationship can be saved. I offer separation support to couples in this situation. Where there is an established family with children involved, naturally their needs also need to be taken into account. I have worked in child and adolescent psychiatry with my husband, so I know exactly how hard separations are for the children. It can be especially distressing for the children when parents do not manage to continue working as partners in their role of raising the children.


Decision support

Not all couples are in agreement over whether they want to save their love and continue the relationship. One partner may wish to separate, but the other may wish to save it at all costs.

The most sensible approach in a situation like this is individual counselling. Based on Bill Doherty’s concept of “discernment counselling”, in these situations I offer a limited number of individual counselling sessions. This allows the partner who wishes to separate to reflect on their decision, and revise it if necessary. If the partner then decides in favour of continuing the relationship, this can then be followed on with proper couples therapy with both partners present.

The Swiss therapist Jürg Willi wrote about this in his book, “Was hält Paare zusammen?” (What keeps couples together?), published in 1991. He says:

“My experience in counselling has taught me that in many cases divorce is not the right solution to destructive relationship conflicts. These days it is no longer about whether divorce is a good or bad thing.

Today it is more directly about whether divorce will achieve the expected results. In many cases it obviously does not achieve this, especially not where children are concerned. Striving for a divorce often turns out to be a wrong decision. Not only does it often fail to solve the problems, it also creates new ones. From my perspective, it often seems easier to avoid a destructive escalation in a marriage than to surrender to the illusion that a divorce will banish all the relationship’s problems for good.”


Please get in touch if you would like support through your separation or in your decision-making process.

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“Where there are men and women who have come away and changed themselves, I believe that it is not melodrama, but a certain degree of personal autonomy, a couple’s culture of dealing with problems and “sentimental education”, that have been present and led to an acceptance of the imperfection of love.”

Rosemarie Welter-Enderlin

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