Emerging from lockdown
Many couples will have much to reflect on regarding their relationships with each other and their children. Families have been forced to spend an unprecedented length of time with each other, often in crowded environments. While some couples and families may have even thrived and benefited from this intense time with each other, unfortunately many have found this challenge very difficult with an increase in petitions for divorce and rates of domestic violence going up by over 20% during the lockdown period.
The strain of lockdown on relationships, in addition to acute preoccupations about health, anxiety about work and income, not to mention the losses and grief that people are experiencing, has reached epic proportions. While some of these issues will be an ongoing process for many, some relationship issues can be helped during these fractious times.
Laughter could be the best medicine
Most people enjoy comedy and laughter and few people will admit that they don’t have a sense of humour. However, although laughter has been called ‘the best medicine’ and has actually been proved to be of benefit to our physical health, not many couples know how to use humour and laughter as a powerful tool to improve their relationship issues.
Approximately 42% of marriages in the UK end in divorce. This figure is staggeringly high because many couples these days cohabit for quite a while before getting married. It’s horrific to look at a couple on their wedding day and think that they only have a 60% chance of avoiding divorce.
As a GP I’ve seen several patients who have been divorced more than once. Men and women don’t necessarily learn from their mistakes. The cliché that marriage is ‘hard work’ is an encapsulated truth. But what work needs to be done and how can we do it?
My wife, Hephzibah and I, have been together for over 30 years. She is an art psychotherapist, I’m a doctor and we have come up with a fun way to work on relationships starting with our own!
The key thing to remember is that when we are irritated/hurt/frustrated by our partner, it’s only a part of him or her that is doing ‘this’ to us. You wouldn’t have ended up with someone whose whole being was annoying to you. Parts of our personality (also called subselves or subpersonalities) can become too domineering and loud, causing problems with our relationships – it would be good if we had a way to get those troublesome subselves to be quieter.
Almost happy could be the answer
This is the way we do it: We get people to recognise the parts of themselves that are causing relationship problems and then to see the funny side of how this subself is sabotaging the relationship.
We invite each partner to look through over one hundred original buttons or wearable badges each of which is an archetypal comic mirror for the overloud subselves. Laughing at the subself being satirized always tends to quieten it down because as Mark Twain has put it: ‘Against the assault of laughter nothing can stand!’
When you can laugh at an annoying subself in you or your partner, you’re happier and healthier than normal because laughter really is good for your physical and mental health. The physical and psychological benefits of laughter make it easier for you to deal with painful issues. You are supported in this process by two very experienced therapists who will show you how to develop mastery over the annoying subself and help your relationship to get back on track.
Are you interested in using humour to improve your life?
Almost Happy is a collection of buttons that can be used for fun and self help. If you’d like to know more about the satirical buttons please visit the website www.almosthappy.com
If you’d like to know more about couples work using humour and reverse psychology please visit
From Couch-to-Couch, Dr. Brian Kaplan, medical doctor and provocative therapist and Hephzibah Kaplan, art psychotherapist and psychotherapy supervisor, are now offering a dynamic interactive online experience for couples.
This content is provided free of charge for general information purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. It is from the personal experience or views of the author who does not hold herself out as being medically trained or qualified in any way. The content does not give rise to a practitioner/patient/professional relationship with the reader and specialist medical advice should be taken in relation to specific circumstances.
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