Paula van Grieken
Improving our relationship: the work within me and between us
As a psychologist specialized in both, clinical psychology and relationship therapy, I have had the chance to look at mental health and relationships from many different angles.
In line with my degrees' syllabus, I finished my studies approaching mental health issues through the medical lenses, focusing on the individual's presentation: symptoms, frequency, intensity, duration, etc.
This information was gathered in order to make a diagnosis, a functional analysis of the "problem" and a treatment plan for the individual with the goal of lessen the symptoms the person was suffering from.
Later on, my approach was radically changed when working with families and couples. Although the individuals' presentation was relatively similar to what I saw in individual therapy, I started realizing how the formulation of the "problems" was much more complex than what the individual therapy models were suggesting: I started to understand how loved ones, and therefore, their presentations, were linked to one another.
The realization was clear: individual treatment, although essential, will not be enough in many cases. We need to take in account and work with the system (the loved ones) in order to achieve structural and long-term improvements. Furthermore, sometimes, relationship therapy should be the first-line treatment as many times our emotional suffering has its roots on the disconnection from our loved ones.
All in all, I consider individual and relationship therapy as a great combo to support you through your journey to get where you want to be and maintain permanent improvements within and around you.