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Interview with Anjula Mutanda, Relationship Expert on Unbreakable

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@anjulatv / @therealanjulam

What does it mean to be a Relationship Psychotherapist?

My role as a relationship psychotherapist is to help couples to resolve all kinds of interpersonal issues and conflicts. These can vary in severity and be things like feeling dissatisfied or unfulfilled in the relationship, wanting a stronger connection, or having difficulty expressing feelings to one another.

Often couples can get stuck in unhelpful patterns of behaviour and psychological distress which can lead to communication breakdowns and conflict. The role of therapy is to create a supportive and accepting space in order to help them to improve their relationship.

What strengths and weaknesses did you look for in the couples?

I was looking to see how our couples coped under pressure and handled situations that they were not in control of. A lot of the games were time pressured, which meant that the couples were put under physical and emotional stress. How they treated each other when they were in these circumstances spoke volumes about their strengths and challenges as a couple.

So when they were under stress, were they kind to each other? Did they show mutual respect? Did they take responsibility if they messed up? Could they laugh off disappointments? Did they have each other’s backs?

In terms of weaknesses – I prefer to call them challenges – did they blame their partner if something didn’t go their way? Were they oblivious if they upset their partner? Did they engage in kitchen-sinking – in other words giving your partner a long ‘laundry list’ of things they’ve done wrong in the past and dumping it at their feet all at once!

I was also looking at how couples communicated with one another, both verbally and non-verbally. Some were very tactile, others were verbal, and some seemed to have energetic, dramatic and tempestuous interactions – which kept things lively!

Did any of the couples surprise you?

There were so many surprises along the way! I lost count of how many times I said, “that did not just happen… did it?” Personally it was a real privilege to see people be so open and honest and willing to engage in the whole process whilst having so much fun!

What is the most important advice you would give for a happy relationship?

Every couple is different, but I would say, have each other’s backs. Be willing to be flexible. Engage in regular relationship maintenance. Strengthen your bond by doing the dance of give and take. Be each other’s safe space and be respectful to one another and have lots of fun and regular belly laughs along the way!