chapter  9
Intimacy
ByButch Losey
Pages 22

Couple intimacy in session, from a clinical perspective, begins with the clinician's structure of the therapeutic space. Emotional regulation is strongly linked to couple intimacy. Dysregulation represents a significant risk factor for the couple's relationship quality due to its dramatic impact on intimacy. Trust's role in intimacy is that it allows each person to risk being vulnerable. Couples face a society that encourages individualism and self-actualization, and without ongoing intentional investment by the couple in the relationship, intimacy can erode to a point where the couple is living parallel lives. However, when sex is dysfunctional, conflictual, or avoided, resulting in a non-sexual relationship, sex plays an inordinately powerful role, draining the relationship of intimacy and threatening marital stability. A common challenge in couples therapy is that upon entry into therapy, there can be varying degrees of commitment to the relationship and to the process of therapy.