Collaborative Couple Therapy (CCT), developed by Daniel Wile, Ph.D., is a therapeutic approach that takes the couple’s immediate concern (usually a fight or a period of withdrawing from each other) and tries to turn it into an intimate conversation. A therapist practicing Collaborative Couple Therapy will, at times, speak for one or both partners in an effort to show them what it would sound like if they were having an intimate and productive conversation rather than the fight or withdrawal they are experiencing.
Using Conflict to Increase Intimacy
All couples experience challenges and it is unrealistic to have avoidance of conflicts, fights or hurting each others’ feelings as a relationship goal. In a good relationship couples can safely talk about and acknowledge their arguments and disputes as well as build a desire to confide in each other rather than to defend themselves. Collaborative Couple Therapy aims to use conflicts as a way of improving intimacy and it is suggested that fights happen die to a partner not feeling sufficiently heard and then the fear of fighting can cause partners to remain silent and withdraw. The leads to reduced intimacy and inhibits the ability to talk about relationship challenges.
Collaborative Couple Therapy recognises that all couples have a unsolvable issues which may continue and recur throughout the relationship. If one partner is an introvert and the other an extrovert this might continually cause fights about the couple’s social life. CCT therapists encourage couples to have recovery conversations to investigate the issue in depth with the aim of nurturing the couples a sense of intimacy through sharing feelings, reaching out to one another. This attempt to understand the other’s point of view is crucial and helps the couples to act as joint problem-solvers and with looking at the relationship with perspective as well as recognising each others strengths and weaknesses.