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A couple with low differentiation

1h 12m

Alfons Vansteenwegen

Professor of Psychotherapy and Sexology
Coming SoonFull Video

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Content: What happens when we fall in love? And what makes two people in love feel at a distance, not understood? Sally and Nik, in their mid-fifties, ask for couple therapy. They met when they were young, fell deeply in love, and started their lives together. They have been happy together, running the family with definite roles. No big arguments, no fights. Their two kids left the house two years ago. Sally had great expectations of the new period as a couple: living alone again would rekindle their sexual life, which was very poor till the children were at home. But Nik has no romantic feelings or sexual desire for her anymore. He thinks the chemistry is gone. He’s finally enjoying his time and does not feel the need. Sally asks to be seen, and he for respect instead. Both are frustrated and blame each other for their feelings. They expect the other to recognize their needs and have no previous experience with couple crises. Sally communicates with contempt, and Nik responds by stonewalling.

Prof. Alfons Vansteenwegen examines the case presented by Francesca Tripodi, walking the viewer through the territory of low differentiation:

  1. Are sexual desire problems natural and inevitable in long-term relationships?
  2. Businesslike and intimate relationship: what is the difference?
  3. What could be the treatment focus, and which mistakes should a therapist avoid?

Alfons Vansteenwegen

Professor of Psychotherapy and Sexology

Alfons Vansteenwegen, Ph.D., is a professor of systems and communication theory and couple and family therapy and sexology. He is one of the leading Flemish theoreticians and therapists in communication theory and an important inspirator in couple therapy and general psychotherapy.

He is the past President of the Institute of Family and Sexuality Studies at the Catholic University of Leuven (Belgium). He is the head of the Communication Center at the University Clinics of Leuven, where residential couple therapy and sex therapy are provided. He conducted research and postgraduate training in couple, family, and sex therapy and postgraduate training in mediation. 
Visiting professor at Hopitaux Universitaires, Genève (25 Nov 1996); Universidad de Lima, Lima, Peru (Oct-Nov, 1998); University of Stellenbosch, SA (2-30 Aug 2002), Intams Summer Course, Brussels (2000- 2002); ESSM European School of Sexual Medicine, Oxford, (2008-2012 and Budapest, 2013-2017).
Author of more than 10 books (translated into several languages), counting the well-known The good enough couple (last edition in 2019). He is also the author/co-author of about 400 scientific and clinical publications about marriage, family, sexuality, and couple therapy. 
Prof. Vansteenwegen was awarded several prizes, including the VanEmdeBoas-VanUssel Award, Dutch Society of Sexology, Utrecht 2006; Gold Medal: Lifetime achievement, World Association of Sexual Health, Glasgow 2011; Abraham Maslow award, 2015.

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