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The Couple's Challenge

In the beginning of our relationship it’s all sweetness, butterflies in the stomach, hopes and dreams and abundant goodwill. 

We relate to one another very heartfully or as Self-to-Self.

We don’t yet have our Protector Parts on high alert.

Inevitably, as time goes by and disappointments happen, our Protector Parts get activated.

So relationships often end up being a Protector-to-Protector relationship rather than a Self-to-Self relationship.

As misunderstandings and hurts accumulate, our Protectors ramp up their strategies.

We can end up in patterns of shut down, withdrawal, lifeless conflict-avoidance, or we can escalate into hostility and destructiveness.

Many of us bail at this point, or resign to a life of comfortable numbness, or entrench ourselves in our battle stations.

We, individually and as a couple, have been flooded with the energies of our Exile’s wounds and unmet needs.

We've also been hijacked by our devoted Protectors who will do ANYTHING to prevent the Exile’s pain from emerging, even if that means destroying the relationship.

The demise of the relationship happens because we’ve lost contact with our Self and have become stuck in the process of differentiation.

This is inevitable in our intimate relationships, particularly where there is trauma.

This is NOT a good time to make life changing decisions.

It’s the time to come back to Self.

Who we really are: Self

The goal of the Couples Transformation Process is to bring us back to Self.

What does that mean?

It’s who we are when we’re not flooded or hijacked by Exiles and Protectors. 

Self is characterised by the qualities of curiosity, confidence, calmness, creativity, clarity, courage, connectedness, and the icing on the cake - compassion for self and other.

It’s also characterised by presence, patience, perspective, persistence and playfulness.

When we’re in Self we have a LOT more choices available to us - both internally and how we relate to our partner.

We're more able to hear, to speak for our needs, and to repair. 

Who wouldn't want more of that in their relationships?

So how do we get back to our Self?

Using the Couples Transformation Process.

An Effective Approach to Couples Therapy

The Couples Transformation Process is based on the IFIO "Intimacy From The Inside Out" approach to couples therapy.

IFIO is a modification of the Internal Family Systems (IFS) model into a relational setting.

The approach focuses both on the growth and healing of the individual and the couple. 

Couples often function unaware of the forces that influence the complex dynamic of their relationship.

IFIO aims to support each partner communicate more skillfully so that the needs of both partners are more likely to be met.

We do that first by becoming aware of our Protectors and Exiles and 'unblending' from them.

We then practice Courageous Communication where we speak FOR our parts, rather than FROM our parts.

Many communication techniques fail. We may have learned the lingo or to only make 'I' statements, but we often still speak FROM our Protectors or Exiles.

In the Couples Transformation Process the focus is on unblending from our Parts so that our real Self can lead the relationship.

IFIO also helps each partner to turn the focus internally to address past wounds and traumas that are showing up in the present day relationship.

Is this ‘differentiation’?


Differentiation is the process by which we must all grow up into separate and yet inter-connected people. It is both an internal and relational process.

The IFIO approach will lead you through the process of differentiation. 

The result is that I am me, and you are you, we're both different, and we're both OK. We're our individual selves, without the sense that our differences are threatening.


How is the couples therapy conducted?

Couples therapy is conducted within a structured programme which involves initial assessment, psycho-education, active processes to map the relational dynamic, learning to unblend, practicing effective communication skills as Self, and mastering the art of repair. 

There will be homework assignments to support the process between sessions. 

The client is expected to participate fully.

Is it in person or on Zoom?

Both options are available. The preference is for in person sessions in East London.