Dr. Sarah Gundle became interested in Break Up Therapy when she saw couples in therapy who would break up and then stop their treatment together. Often, one of the patients would continue to see Dr. Gundle and be overwhelmed with questions of “why and how did this happen?”. With only one side present, there could only be one side of the story.
The Origins of Break Up Therapy
When she realized this, Dr. Gundle approached a couple she was seeing who had decided to break up and asked if they would be willing to have a few more sessions with her in order to form a collaborative, coherent story of what happened to their relationship, a story that could provide answers and closure for both sides. Afterward, Dr. Gundle saw that the work she was doing with these patients was much different from couple’s therapy and something other couples could benefit from as well.
Why It Works
By creating this collaborative story, couples are able to overcome the anger that comes with a breakup and all of the frustration in not having all the answers. They can then work on the important stages of grieving and healing and, with the complete picture, put the story of the relationship away and move forward.
What Does Break Up Therapy Look Like?
In once case, both spouses had a history of trauma and while the reason they ultimately chose to broke up was infidelity, their traumas had a big influence in their psyches. Through the breakup therapy, the couple came up with the visualization of their relationship as themselves trying and trying to make things works but they ran out of space and energy to do so. As part of the therapy, Dr. Gundle writes out a story of what happened to the couple and their relationship which the couple signs.
4 Areas of Focus in Breakup Therapy
Looking at breakups as opportunities – how you make sense of and resolve your life’s troubles.
Links to the past – create a relationship inventory.
Creating a narrative of what went wrong in the relationship – a collaborative story that both sides accept.
Self-compassion and how to build that into your life.
About Dr. Sarah Gundle
Dr. Gundle is the clinical co-director of Octave, innovative behavioral health clinic. She holds a doctorate in clinical psychology, a masters in international affairs, and is highly dedicated to her work in trauma and international mental health.