Are you caught in an endless cycle of fights? Have you been disappointed so many times that you are afraid you will never be happy together again? Or is your sex life as exciting as doing your taxes?
My name is Birgit Fehst, I am 50 years old and I have been there. And after I learned in a psychology class called “the science of love” that men and women are simply not capable of understanding each other I started to do my own research. How can we design our relationships in a way that they actually work? So that they raise the quality of life, that they are easy and functional and not a source of fights and chaos? I have taken numerous classes around the world and online. I have talked to hundreds of people, read hundreds of books and listend carefully in my own therapy practice. And I have found a lot of answers.
Do I know it all now? Certainly not. But if I had known 30 years ago what I know now, my life would have taken a positive turn much earlier. Cause: the quality of your relationships defines the quality of your life….
As in that state of relationship emergency that you are in right now as well you might not have the patience to read pages over pages of text, let me give you the super condensed version of what you will get here: effective couples therapy is open communication. The German way, direct, no back door, no time for excuses, it is high time to spit it all out. We lay the groundwork for good, strong and lively relationship full of love, passion and safety. So you can walk again soon. Out of the office and as a couple. I work solution oriented and based on the latest research in neuroscience.
If you are in real trouble, we can even work intensely in power sessions of three hours or even an entire day.
Is that enough information for you? Then hit the red button now.
What can we expect from couples therapy?
What we want from a relationship is a home. And I don’t mean a place to live but a real partner. A partner with whom you can laugh and cry. With whom you can discuss every issue without getting into huge fights. A partner with whom you can solve problems. With whom you can share your dreams. And of course someone you can have the best sex of your life with!
As you are reading these lines I guess that’s not what you have right now. Maybe you never even had. Maybe you are even facing a separation or divorce. Or you are simply afraid that the situation might escalate. Whoever looks into couples or marriage counselling is of course wondering: what can we expect from a couples therapy? What’s really in it for us?
In order to help you get a clear view on what you can expect to get in my office in Berlin Charlottenburg, let me answer some of your most burning questions.
What are the most common reasons for couples therapy?
Most couples come to my office because they are caught in a vicious cycle of bad fights. They cannot communicate any more without ending in a state of deep resentment. However, that kind of negative communication is not the main reason for the crisis, it is rather one of the main symptoms of the actual problem. The real reasons often times are:
- Failed expectations and disappointments
- Lack of trust
- Lack of respect and appreciation
- Different values and opinions
- Bad or even no sex
Ho do we proceed?
We look for the source of your problem and at the same time change your way of communicating which will help you avoid future conflicts. That combination makes you feel more safe and secure with your partner again. Your needs are taken care of and your relationship can be as loving and appreciative as it was meant to be.
Those who come to couples therapy for the first time often feel a bit insecure. So let me give you a little summary of the process:
- First contact: You write me an email, use the contact form or call me and we make an appointment (or talk on the phone for a rough overview of your issue). Then we decide if a normal session of 1,5 hours makes sense or even an intense session of 3 hours or a power day. I will tell you how I will probably proceed. Then we will meet here in my office in Berlin Charlottenburg.
- The first session: The first session will mostly take place together with your partner (and maybe your baby and your dog). You will tell me your story and give me an overview of your challenges. During the first session I decide if the questionnaire or other homeworks make sense for you. We will have an in-depths analysis of your situation and you are aware of the dysfunctional strategies you have used in your relationship so far. And you will know which strategies you should change in order to experience positive changes. A beautiful moment… And for all who hesitate because your partner hesitates: you can also come alone for the first session. We will see together if a couples therapy makes sense or if you should rather do some work for yourself.
- The following sessions: The following sessions are 1,5 h long. As a general rule, we mostly start weekly and then proceed to a period with longer breaks as the things you have learned need time to be practiced and implemented into your daily lives. However, the time frames are flexible and can be adjusted to your schedules and budgets. Sometimes I also see both partners separately, once or several times. We all have issues that might be addressed easier in individual settings. But the majority of times we all work together, as we are “treating” the relationship, and not you!
How high are the chances that we safe our relationship?
If one of you has already left the relationship emotionally and just joins to do the other one a favor, you will fail. But if you really have the intention of staying together and improving the relationship, you are very likely to succeed. In my experience, the success rate is as high as 80%.
How long does the therapy take?
That depends. Most couples have a new code of conduct and a much better feeling after as few as 3-5 sessions. Some prefer a longer duration of counselling as it may feel better and more secure. And there are some who just drop in for one session to work on one topic only. There is no minimum number of sessions. If you come from far away or have no time to waste, there is the possibility to book power sessions:
- Intensive session: An intensive session is 3 hours long, so double the length of a normal session. If you can’t spare an entire day but would like to proceed quickly or give it a head start, this option is right for you. You will have answered the questionnaire already and we will start intensely with the process of couples therapy. That is- you will have laid the groundwork, identified the main problem and you will have a good basis for further work at home.
- Power day: You are not from Berlin or want to achieve results within the shortest time possible? Then a power day from 9 to 5 is perfect for you. You will leave the office with a full toolkit and lots of clear tasks to work on at home. You know exactly where you came from and where you are now. You are full of hope and clarity. An entire day can be way more effective than a serious of short sessions over the course of weeks, as the process is not interrupted. The day typically looks like this: I will have given you a number of tasks beforehand that you have completed and sent back. So I already have a good impression of your relationship. We start by you giving me an overview of your history again and we will soon go over to finding solutions. After lunch break I often times see the partners individually. The other one can go out to the mall to have a coffee and/or do some tasks. In the afternoon we go into detail of the process of change. At the end of the day you will have reached some of the changes and know how to go about the rest. Now it is up to you to implement the findings into your daily lives. Often times one power day is enough and you need no further sessions.
Why should we see you and not a colleague of yours?
There are wonderful colleagues in Berlin for couple therapy. So I don’t claim to be the only one who can help you. And everyone has his own strengths. Mine are: my clarity, my no-fuss approach. Direct, but with empathy. Scientific, yet with a deep understanding of all human challenges.
And of course- my international trainings and my mix of methods. There is not only one way to live and to love. Therefore there isn’t one approach that fits all. Your advantage is clear: an encompassing, systemic way of working supports you more than a single method can ever do, even in marriage counseling.
Stabilizing your relationship
For example, I integrate the work of John Gottman in my sessions. He studied thousands of couples in his „Love Lab“ and empirically found the principles for a good marriage. That enables me to give a pretty precise prognosis for the couple in front of me and also gives me the tools for seeing very quickly what they need in order to thrive. And: the couples who did counselling based on his principles are half as likely to fail again! What is your benefit? A scientifically based method that works just wonderfully!
Getting your intimacy and desire back
Another teacher of mine is David Schnarch. How can you benefit from his findings? He gives you back your power to act! He transforms the feeling of helplessness into the feeling of self-responsibility and the ability to actively change the situation. His „Crucible Couples and Sexual Therapy“ thus is a completely different approach in comparison to most couple therapy methods. His focus is on intimacy and sex in long term relationships.
Other methods like hypnosis and neuroscience
Sometimes severe jealousy, commitment phobia, addictions etc. put a strain on the relationship but are rather issues of the individual. So I also work with the latest research in neuroscience and, if necessary, additional methods like hypnotherapy, EMDR or NLP. That can help to bring more stability and love into your relationship.
Can I come all by myself?
Yes, indeed, it can also be the two of us! We can clarify all sorts of things even without your partner: do I have unrealistic expectations? What did I do to make things complicated? Where is my partner a mirror for my own issues? How can I work on myself to become happier as a couple? And also if your partner is not ready yet to come with you, we can clarify where you stand and if a couples therapy would make sense at all. If you would like more information, take a look at the section “individual therapy“.
What are the costs?
Couples session 1,5 hours: 195 Euros
Individual session 1 hour: 130 Euros
Power session 3 hours: 380 Euros
Power day 9-5 (with lunch break): 900 Euros
Coaching session 1 hour: 130 Euros plus VAT
Only private insurances cover some costs for individual therapy. Please ask your insurance about it. You can ask directly if they cover the costs for the numbers 19.1, 19.2 and 20.1 for “Heilpraktiker für Psychotherapie”. A communication coaching is mostly tax deductible.
If I wasn’t able to answer all of your questions in this brief overview, don’t hesitate to contact me. If everything is clear, let’s go for it! If you want, we can have a free 15 minute intense initial talk on the telephone. Or we start right away with a first session. I don’t have a minimum number of sessions required, you decide each time if you want to come back.
My private practice for relationships and other matters of the heart is downtown west in Charlottenburg, and can also be reached easily if you are from other parts of the city like Mitte, Steglitz, Spandau or Prenzlauer Berg, either by public transportation (U7/U2/S-Bahn Charlottenburg) or by car (parking garage of the „Wilmersdorfer Arkaden“ in short walking distance).
Call me: 030-854 01770, or use the contact form. I am looking forward to working with you soon!