Couples & Neurobiology

Conscious Partnership

Current research in couples relationships, influenced by recent discoveries in neurobiology, strongly suggests the importance of conscious partnership – which means commitment to the needs of the relationship, rather than to the immediate needs of the individual.

Yet ironically, we find that when the needs of a relationship are fully met then the needs of each individual in that relationship are often met.

The Goal of a Couple Relationship

A powerful idea in Couples work is that the relationship itself is a third reality to which and for which we are both responsible as individuals in that relationship. It’s only by honouring that responsibility will we get our childhood and current needs met.

When we make our relationship primary and our individual needs secondary, we produce the paradoxical effect of getting our needs met in ways they can never be met if we make them primary!

What happens is not so much the healing of childhood wounds, which may in fact not be healable, but the creation of a relationship in which two persons are reliably and empathically available to each other.

Developing New Neural Pathways

The new emotional environment described above can help develop new neural pathways that replace the old toxic pathways that are determined more by the sufferings of childhood.

These pathways seem to relate to a natural order within the brain that is more positive, more loving.

Couplehood then becomes the container for a very positive way of being. And, since the quality of couplehood determines in large part the quality of the social structures around us, the extension of that positive way of being from the local to the global could reduce significantly human suffering!