Two therapists

When Peter first offered a session with both he and Tamar, and for the same price I thought there has to be a catch and asked him why. He let me know other clients had found working with the two of them inspiring. I wasn’t sure if my partner could handle someone so damn straight up. But in fact she loved the idea. Especially with both genders present she felt less likely to end up the bad guy – that happened in our couple therapy five years ago with a single therapist.

So we turned up in what is a beautiful room with a big heart. Almost immediately I realised this wasn’t just two people but a woman and a man, of different ages and ethnicities and both totally present. That alone was strong, heart warming, validating of the rightness of us being there. Somehow it was safe and honest. As the session progressed I heard their different voices tracking each other and us, like a dance that weaved a harmony through our chaos. There were quiet reflective moments in which we were all thoughtful. They were really open with each other about the direction they were taking the session. They were co-leaders talking calmly about process – more about how we cook together, for example, than what we cook. We start a lot of arguments in the kitchen. Hearing them openly negotiating, reflecting on our behaviour and their own, was strange. They even said things like, “I was wrong about that, do you have a better idea”. We wondered if they were related but no. Yet the way they worked together was a model for how we as a couple could better manage our own madness. Wow! Highly recommended. Kerry G. Byron Bay

Tamar and Peter have between them over 60 years of experience in working with couple and family issues. They are a therapy duo who bring a diverse set of skills, of values and outlooks on life. Both are in committed relationships, each of 25 years, both with teenage children – so they get the pressures on time and resources of maintaining connection, respect, love and compassion. They both live in a small community inside an international holiday destination. And that has a range of employment, environment and health service issues that will be familiar to most of regional and rural Australia.

Peter and Tamar are at each session with their client couple, family, extended family or small business. The core principle of their view of healing relationship distress is the attachment lens, and in particular Emotion Focussed Therapy. Their perspective is consistently trauma informed and therefore they draw on skills in somatic, body and process orientated psychotherapies. They have an ongoing peer support relationship outside of sessions that enriches their professional and personal lives. In session they provide each other with spontaneous peer supervision. This creates a rare service in Australia, where there are perhaps only twenty similarly skilled and well supported couple therapists working together.

They work in a way that supports both partners in a relationship to lean into the difficult and troubling areas of their lives. And then to find new ways of rebuilding the loving, nurturing connection that brought them together in the first place. Peter and Tamar’s relationship in each session models open communication about the process unfolding before them. This supports the client couple to step back from their distress, and notice their own process of connection and disconnection. To notice the love and fear that breath their dance of intimacy.

They have noticed that their clients tend to relax when they know that one or other therapist is going to come and find them if they get lost in the processes happening in the room. There are two hearts listening for the unspoken and attending to the one who is not speaking or is being spoken over. This is particular important where one partner disappears or withdraws or who has come from a family where they felt neglected or invisible. This opens the door to different possibilities than the status quo of the relationship.

When either Tamar or Peter are working, the other is observing. They can correct for each other’s misperceptions, misunderstandings and for emotional and perceptual bias. Two views of personality problems, couple dynamics and alternative responses can emerge. They check and balance their complementary behaviour, and provide mutual acknowledgment for their accomplishments. One can be playful and the other serious. Faced with two therapists of equal power and self-esteem, it is almost impossible for a therapy session to be hijacked by the distress one or other of the couple bring for recognition and healing.

Go to Tamar’s website

Go to a couple’s experience of Tamar and Peter.