We are really excited to have Anne deliver CPD with us on: How much can therapy help clients who want to make 'better' relationship choices, Saturday 2nd June 2018. We caught up with her to discuss her background, research and hopes for her training day with Wimbledon Guild Counselling.
Anne Power trained at The Bowlby Centre, WPF and Relate. She is a visiting lecturer at Regents University London and has a private practice in central London. Her book, Forced Endings in Psychotherapy, explores the process of closing a practice for retirement or other reasons. She is currently researching and writing about logic versus magic in partner choice: random romance, arranged marriage, and dating sites – what’s the difference?
You initially worked as a nurse and then trained in psychoanalytic psychotherapy. What prompted you specialising in couples work?
I initially moved from nursing to individual therapy because I soon realised that listening to patients was the aspect of the work to which I was best suited. After ten years of seeing individuals I was eager to do this further training – partly because I felt drawn to working with couples and partly in order to better understand my individual clients. I continue to enjoy the different challenge that couples present and in my practice I see roughly equal numbers of couples and individuals.
How do you feel attachment issues may play out in adult romantic relationships?
Bowlby always said that attachment is a life-long driver and of course those strategies which we learn as infants will hugely influence how we fare in adult relationships. If we tend towards avoidant/ dismissing defences then in relationships we may withdraw when attachment feelings are stirred. If we tend towards ambivalent/ preoccupied ways of coping then at those moments we are likely to cling on. When, as commonly happens, there is one partner with an avoidant style and the other with a preoccupied pattern, then between them they will tend to set up an escalating cycle. The more one tries to minimise and close down feelings, the more the other may feel desperate to amplify them – and vice-versa.
Your current research is around how couples find each other, could you tell us a little about this work?
I’m delighted to be asked this because I am still recruiting couples to interview so I’m keen to spread the word. I am interested in the strengths and weaknesses of the different routes by which partners find each other: random romance, arranged marriage and relationships deliberately selected through an agency or website. My previous book, about therapists’ retirement, was based on interviews and it’s an approach which I greatly enjoy. I am speaking to long term couples from each of these backgrounds; it’s important that the couple consider themselves to be contented. For a secure couple the experience of the interview seems very positive, for a less secure couple it could be destabilising.
If people are interested in knowing more please do look at my website: http://www.pimlico-psychotherapy.com/
What are your hopes for participant learning on your CPD day with us 2nd June 2018? What would you like people to take away?
Perhaps for people to feel increased curiosity about what’s going on when we choose a mate; to be clearer about how early patterns are influencing this critical process and how these choices may pan out over time. Possibly the day will slightly de-mythologise falling in love which I believe can be over-rated in our culture, especially as this suits the needs of commercial interests. I’d be glad if participants felt they had gained clarity about what is going on for a client who seems stuck in a repeating pattern with partner choice, if people went away with renewed energy for both containing and challenging such a client.
To hear more from Anne Power go to: http://www.pimlico-psychotherapy.com/