Relationship breakdown: how is it treated in therapy?

Many people who go into psychotherapy do so because of experiences that have left a very painful emotional imprint in their memory: a psychological mark that negatively conditions the way they behave, think and feel the present.

The fact that you’ve been through a breakup is often what triggers these forms of discomfort. Fortunately, psychologists have spent decades developing methods to overcome these emotional alterations. Let’s see what it consists of through a summary on how the consequences of break-up are approached in psychotherapy.

    What is done in psychotherapy to help overcome a breakup?

    Here we’ll take a look at the most important processes that take place throughout psychological therapy sessions when you want to help someone who is suffering from a breakup. Of course not all of these therapeutic resources are used in all cases, Since each patient is unique.

    1. Self-knowledge exercises

    Especially at the start of sessions, it is essential to explore the root causes of the patient’s discomfort. He usually requests an appointment for the first meeting with the psychologist with a vague idea of ​​what is happening to him, but he needs to see it more clearly and even to detect aspects of his initial experience that lead him to him. deceive what is the root of his discomfort.

    And it is that the fact of feeling in our own flesh an emotional alteration does not automatically make us realize what is the real problem generated by this psychological phenomenon. This is why there is, among others, the figure of the psychologist, who helps to understand the logics by which this discomfort is maintained and emerges in certain situations of everyday life.

    How do you get patients to understand which aspects of the rupture hurt them the most? Emotional intelligence training and self-knowledge exercises.

    Most of them have to do with writing in some kind of diary (or self-recording) what they are feeling at key moments, as well as what they were doing just before, during and after. these experiences. Creating this routine allows you to get an overview of emotional turmoil and find common patterns in most of them.

    In all cases, it is the psychotherapist who gives the instructions to apply this exercise on a daily basis, according to the particularities of the patient and his life context.

    2. Discomfort management exercises

    One of the key aspects of psychotherapy applied to cases of rupture discomfort concerns teach the patient to deal with the unpleasant and emotionally painful sensations he feels. This prevents you from falling into very common traps, such as trying to totally “block out” certain thoughts and feelings that cause discomfort. Trying to keep this kind of content out of consciousness only gives more power over us.

    Therefore, in psychotherapy anxiety and intrusive thought management exercises are performed, Which include principles of accepting a certain degree of discomfort.

    3. Comprehensive attention training

    In people who suffer because of the end of a love affair, it is common to feel a painful emotional ambivalence: they mix melancholy and the desire to return to the happy moments spent in the company of this person, of on the one hand, and resentment and frustration at what triggered the breakup, on the other.

    That’s why it’s important learn to keep those emotional beats at bay and not give in to Manichean interpretations of what happened, Which leads to seeing everything in black and white and looking for absolute culprits and absolute victims. In other words, you have to be able to see the situation from a perspective that does not always seek to make very clear moral judgments, but to describe and adopt a constructive perspective.

    To achieve different techniques and strategies, and one of the most important is mindfulness. It is a set of attentional management practices of the state that lead to valuing experiences as they come to us, without prejudice or interest in fitting into a particular narrative.

      4. Challenging Dysfunctional Beliefs

      Much of the discomfort associated with breaking up comes from a series of inappropriate beliefs that we have long held onto. An example of this kind of belief is the myth of the orange half: The idea that we are incomplete if we miss that special someone.

      In therapy, to achieve this, what is called cognitive restructuring is applied.

      5. Promotion of a personal development program and closure of the cycle

      The breakdown of a couple is, in many ways, a kind of psychological grief, like the one we experienced when a loved one passed away. for that you have to know how to resign the memories in which this person appears and know how to close them, Without intending to hold on to a world next to this person who is only in our memory, for good or for evil.

      And it is that part of the pain of a breakup usually comes from the contradictions we experience when we focus our attention on what we can no longer do, since we always have as our main reference what we did when we were next to “ this person in a love affair. You have to know how to get rid of this organizational reference on a daily basis and welcome new ones, And this is achieved by researching new, exciting life projects and creating stimulating routines that we had given up or never dared to explore.

      5. Maintain habits that improve mental health

      Beyond the therapeutic means used to treat the specific problem of rupture sequelae, measures are also taken to ensure that the patient adopts a lifestyle that includes habits of prevention of psychological problems in general.

      This is important because neglect facilitates the emergence of such disordersAnd once a psychopathology starts to develop, it is easier for others to appear too, because they are mutually reinforcing.

      In this way, in the therapy sessions, patients are helped to be informed about what these habits are, and it is easier for them to integrate them into their daily life, so that not everything remains in good intentions. And nothing more.

      Are you interested in going into psychotherapy and getting help?

      If you plan to seek professional help from psychologists, you are welcome to contact us. Fr Advanced psychologists we have been providing psychotherapy services for 20 years, and today we have a full team of mental health experts covering all areas of emotional well-being: individual therapy for people of all ages, couples, family therapy, sexology, etc. You can find us in our center located in Madrid, or you can organize online video call sessions. On this page you will find our contact details and more information on how we work.

      Bibliographical references:

      • Aragón, RS and Cruz, RM (2014). Causes and characterization of the stages of the romantic duel. Psychological Research Act, 4 (1): p. 1329-1343.
      • Campuzo Montoya, M. (2002). Human couple: their psychology, their conflicts, their treatment. Mexico: AMPAG.
      • Kübler-Ross, E. (2006) On Grief and Pain. Edicions Empúries. Barcelona.
      • Lopez-Cantero, E. (2018). The Breakup Check: Exploring Romantic Love Through Relationship Breakups. Philosophia (Ramat Gan), 46 (3): pages 689-703.
      • Martell, C. et al. (2010). Behavioral activation of depression. The Guilford Press.
      • Verhallen, AM et. at. (2019). Breaking up the romantic relationship: an experimental model to study the effects of stress on symptoms of depression. PLoS One, 14 (5): e0217320.

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