Cou­ples The­ra­py in Ber­lin-Mit­te or online
Johan­nes von Gwinner
Book here
Cou­ples The­ra­py in Ber­lin-Mit­te or online
Johan­nes von Gwinner
Book here

Couples Therapy in Berlin-Mitte or online



Thogether to a better relationship

Cou­ples typi­cal­ly seek out the­ra­py when they encoun­ter dif­fi­cul­ties in mana­ging their rela­ti­onship pro­blems on their own. This may be due to the emer­gence of new con­flicts or exis­ting ones that per­sist for a pro­lon­ged peri­od of time. In many cases, com­mu­ni­ca­ti­on bet­ween part­ners may beco­me dis­rupt­ed, making it chal­len­ging for them to open­ly address their needs and desi­res wit­hout trig­ge­ring an argument.

Most cou­ples come to cou­ples the­ra­py with the goal of impro­ving or saving their rela­ti­onship. Some also want to find out how and if they should con­ti­nue tog­e­ther at all. Also for cou­ples in sepa­ra­ti­on, sup­port­i­ve accom­p­animent can be very hel­pful, e.g. if life remains con­nec­ted due to shared child­ren or other circumstances.


Process of a couple therapy

Cou­ples the­ra­py is very indi­vi­du­al and adapts to the needs of the peo­p­le invol­ved. Howe­ver, the­re are cer­tain aspects and approa­ches that show up again and again and are important cor­ner­sto­nes of cou­ples therapy.


Nonviolent communication

Befo­re tal­king about pro­blems in the part­ner­ship, it is important that the way of com­mu­ni­ca­ti­on does not lead to the aggrava­ti­on of the pro­blems. Often the suf­fe­ring in the rela­ti­onship is auto­ma­ti­cal­ly attri­bu­ted to the part­ner. Things are said that are per­cei­ved as an attack and trig­ger con­flicts wit­hout the actu­al pro­blem being reco­gni­zed. Only when the­se often uncon­scious attacks are stop­ped, the­re is room for mutu­al under­stan­ding and con­s­truc­ti­ve solu­ti­ons. That is why it is important for suc­cessful cou­ple the­ra­py to learn non-vio­lent communication.

Non­vio­lence in this con­text refers main­ly to ver­bal vio­lence. The first step towards non­vio­lent com­mu­ni­ca­ti­on is a meta­pho­ri­cal “ceas­e­fi­re”. In con­flic­tu­al part­ner­ships, state­ments such as, “You are com­ple­te­ly inca­pa­ble of accep­ting cri­ti­cism — that cer­tain­ly has to do with how you were trea­ted in your child­hood!” often occur. Non­vio­lent com­mu­ni­ca­ti­on might ins­tead look like this, “When I express cri­ti­cism, I feel that it makes you direct­ly angry. I wish I could express cri­ti­cism wit­hout us fight­ing about it right away.” By refer­ring state­ments to yours­elf and not to your part­ner, you avo­id attacks and crea­te space for open conversations.

In addi­ti­on to the nega­ti­ve exam­p­le abo­ve, cou­ples often ask pro­vo­ca­ti­ve lea­ding ques­ti­ons and use words like “never” and “always.” The­se ver­bal incen­dia­ries often uncon­scious­ly creep into one’s use of lan­guage and one can learn to redu­ce this.


The rule of 3

Peo­p­le often tend to pre­sent their own point of view as the indis­pu­ta­ble truth. When two peo­p­le have dif­fe­rent opi­ni­ons and each accepts only his or her truth, con­flicts are ine­vi­ta­ble. This can lead to har­dening of the posi­ti­ons and make rappro­che­ment more dif­fi­cult. Howe­ver, a simp­le com­mu­ni­ca­ti­on trick can help to loo­sen the­se fronts again: the rule of 3. This is a kind of gui­de­line for tal­king about one’s own fee­lings and sen­si­ti­vi­ties in a non-vio­lent way. In prac­ti­cal terms, this means asking yours­elf three questions:

  1. What do I perceive?

  2. How does it affect me?

  3. What do I wish for?

By ans­we­ring the­se three ques­ti­ons, you can bet­ter express what you actual­ly want to say to your coun­ter­part. The way the ques­ti­ons are posed also results in I‑statements ins­tead of you-state­ments. As a result, per­so­nal points of view no lon­ger sound immo­va­ble and wis­hes are no lon­ger packa­ged as accu­sa­ti­ons or asser­ti­ons. This avo­ids escala­ti­ons and crea­tes the basis for mutu­al under­stan­ding. Basi­cal­ly, the goal is to app­ly the The rule of 3 out­side of cou­ples the­ra­py as well, in order to be able to speak con­s­truc­tively with each other in ever­y­day life as well.


Meeting in a safe space

In the usu­al living envi­ron­ment of cou­ples, for exam­p­le, lack of time and con­stant escala­ti­ons can pre­vent part­ners from com­mu­ni­ca­ting important views, fee­lings and pro­blems with each other. As a result, nega­ti­ve fee­lings can accu­mu­la­te and assump­ti­ons and pro­jec­tions about the part­ner can ari­se. In order to resol­ve this dyna­mic, the the­ra­py situa­ti­on alo­ne can be of gre­at help in many cases. Here, an oppor­tu­ni­ty for media­ti­on ari­ses that is usual­ly miss­ing in ever­y­day inter­ac­tion. This not only crea­tes a safe space for cou­ple dis­cus­sions, but also sup­ports the fact that what is said can actual­ly be absor­bed by the partner.

Cou­ples the­ra­py is about get­ting to know the other part­ner bet­ter, as well as explo­ring the dyna­mics of the rela­ti­onship. Thus, the pri­ma­ry goal is to faci­li­ta­te an honest con­ver­sa­ti­on in which per­so­nal needs can be addres­sed open­ly. State­ments can be direc­ted first to the the­ra­pist or direct­ly to the part­ner, both are possible.

Being the­re and being able to lis­ten when the part­ner is working with the the­ra­pist allows important insights that are other­wi­se hard­ly pos­si­ble in this form. Often, for exam­p­le, the reac­tion to cer­tain beha­vi­ors has to do with long past expe­ri­en­ces. By lis­tening to your part­ner, you not only learn why a cer­tain beha­vi­or feels like pushing a “red but­ton” for him or her. It also allows you to bet­ter under­stand why cer­tain beha­vi­ors may push red but­tons for you.

Some­ti­mes, howe­ver, the­re are inhi­bi­ti­ons about addres­sing cer­tain things direct­ly in front of your part­ner, such as child­hood influen­ces or trau­ma­tic expe­ri­en­ces. In the­se cases, such issues can be spe­ci­fi­cal­ly dis­cus­sed in indi­vi­du­al ses­si­ons with the the­ra­pist. This takes away the fear of spea­king out and enables the the­ra­pist to inte­gra­te the topic accor­din­gly in sub­se­quent cou­ple ses­si­ons, if this is desi­red and mutual­ly agreed upon.


Recognizing patterns and movements in the relationship

In many dys­func­tion­al rela­ti­onships, both part­ners exhi­bit cer­tain pat­terns of beha­vi­or due to indi­vi­du­al coping mecha­nisms or avo­id­ance of cer­tain emo­ti­ons. For exam­p­le, anger can lead to a wil­ling­ness to enga­ge in con­flict, fear of being hurt can lead to con­flict aver­si­on, and nee­di­ness can lead to an increased need for clo­sen­ess. The­se so-cal­led move­ments deter­mi­ne how peo­p­le react in con­flict situa­tions — and this often does not hap­pen in the same way on both sides of the relationship.

This can lead to pro­blems, espe­ci­al­ly when two stron­gly expres­sed, con­tra­dic­to­ry impul­ses come tog­e­ther. If the part­ners do not under­stand each other’s move­ments, they can­not react to them in a pur­po­seful way. For exam­p­le, if one part­ner beco­mes angry quick­ly and the other part­ner tends to with­draw in the event of con­flict, this dyna­mic beco­mes more and more ampli­fied. Wit­hout reco­gni­zing the cau­ses, the­se pat­terns of beha­vi­or can recur again and again. Cou­ples the­ra­py can help iden­ti­fy and under­stand the move­ments and resul­ting pat­terns in the relationship.

A meta-per­spec­ti­ve on the rela­ti­onship allows cer­tain beha­vi­ors and state­ments to no lon­ger be taken purely per­so­nal­ly. By under­stan­ding their own rela­ti­onship dyna­mics, cou­ples can work on them tog­e­ther ins­tead of working against each other.


Behavior in everyday life together

Ever­y­thing that is work­ed out in cou­ples the­ra­py should ulti­m­ate­ly result in an actu­al chan­ge in ever­y­day life tog­e­ther. Howe­ver, this will not hap­pen on its own, but will be a con­cre­te topic of dis­cus­sion in the the­ra­py ses­si­on. Within this frame­work, rules of con­duct and rou­ti­nes are agreed upon to make the rela­ti­onship more har­mo­nious again. Sin­ce most cou­ples expe­ri­ence all of this for the first time, the the­ra­pist sup­ports this neutrally.

Often this pro­cess beg­ins with for­gi­ving, espe­ci­al­ly when the­re are spe­ci­fic wounds. If the­se wounds remain uns­po­ken or are not ack­now­led­ged by the part­ner, soo­ner or later they will again cau­se con­flicts among each other. Howe­ver, if they are spo­ken about and honest­ly for­gi­ven or at least heard, they will no lon­ger be a bur­den. Some­ti­mes it is important that exact­ly the right words are spo­ken to reco­gni­ze apo­lo­gies as honest and to be able to for­gi­ve injuries.

The meaning and benefits of individual sessions in couples therapy

Cou­ples the­ra­py is a form of psy­cho­the­ra­py that focu­ses on rela­ti­onship pro­blems in part­ner­ships. Typi­cal­ly, ses­si­ons are con­duc­ted with both part­ners pre­sent to work tog­e­ther on fin­ding solu­ti­ons and impro­ving com­mu­ni­ca­ti­on. Howe­ver, it can also be bene­fi­ci­al to sche­du­le indi­vi­du­al ses­si­ons with the the­ra­pist and each part­ner. This is becau­se cou­ples natu­ral­ly form a sys­tem in which each individual’s emo­ti­ons and well-being come into play. The­r­e­fo­re, both the cou­ple as a unit and the other part­ner are affec­ted by what is hap­pe­ning within each individual.

On one hand, indi­vi­du­al the­ra­py ses­si­ons can help each part­ner bet­ter under­stand and address their own pro­blems and chal­lenges. Often, the­se issues have roots in child­hood or socia­liza­ti­on, which may not neces­s­a­ri­ly be addres­sed in a cou­ples ses­si­on. By working on the­se indi­vi­du­al issues, both part­ners can learn to bet­ter mana­ge their own emo­ti­ons and posi­tively influence their relationship.

On the other hand, indi­vi­du­al ses­si­ons can also allow each part­ner to reflect on their own back­ground and fami­ly histo­ry. Our expe­ri­en­ces within our fami­ly and envi­ron­ment often shape us and influence our beha­vi­or in inter­per­so­nal rela­ti­onships. By shed­ding light on each partner’s per­so­nal histo­ry, it can help to bet­ter under­stand misun­derstan­dings or con­flicts within the partnership.

The­re are also topics that one may pre­fer to dis­cuss alo­ne rather than with or in front of their part­ner. Indi­vi­du­al ses­si­ons pro­vi­de the oppor­tu­ni­ty for this. Each per­son can then deci­de whe­ther they want to bring up the­se topics in the fol­lo­wing cou­ples session.

Over­all, indi­vi­du­al ses­si­ons in cou­ples the­ra­py can help both part­ners get to know them­sel­ves bet­ter and bring the health of their rela­ti­onship to a new level.


Change takes time

It is important to remem­ber that chan­ge takes time. Some­ti­mes cou­ples dis­cuss things that they would pre­fer to app­ly imme­dia­te­ly in their dai­ly lives. Howe­ver, it is important to give each other time and also give yours­elf time. Beha­ving pat­terns beco­me habits and are deep­ly roo­ted in emo­ti­ons and expe­ri­en­ces, which is why they can only be chan­ged slow­ly, bit by bit. The­r­e­fo­re, expec­ta­ti­ons of a quick solu­ti­on to com­mon pro­blems may need to be adjus­ted, and it requi­res a lot of pati­ence for ones­elf and one’s part­ner. Pati­ence is one of the most important pil­lars of suc­cessful cou­ples therapy.


Challenges for intercultural couples

Inter­cul­tu­ral or inter­ra­cial cou­ples living abroad or in an expa­tria­te situa­ti­on face uni­que chal­lenges that stem from cul­tu­ral dif­fe­ren­ces, living in a for­eign envi­ron­ment, and navi­ga­ting socie­tal per­cep­ti­ons. Here are some of the key challenges:

Lan­guage Bar­ri­er:

Social Inte­gra­ti­on: One part­ner may strugg­le more with the local lan­guage, impac­ting their abili­ty to inte­gra­te soci­al­ly and professionally.

Cul­tu­ral Dif­fe­ren­ces:

Value Sys­tems: Dif­fe­ring cul­tu­ral values and norms can lead to con­flicts. The­se dif­fe­ren­ces may affect views on fami­ly roles, child-rea­ring prac­ti­ces, gen­der roles, and other fun­da­men­tal aspects of dai­ly life.

Tra­di­ti­ons and Holi­days: Deci­ding which cul­tu­ral tra­di­ti­ons and holi­days to cele­bra­te can be com­plex, espe­ci­al­ly if they have dif­fe­rent signi­fi­can­ce for each partner.

Social Accep­tance and Racism:

Dis­cri­mi­na­ti­on: Inter­ra­cial cou­ples may face pre­ju­di­ce or racism in their host coun­try. This can ran­ge from subt­le bia­ses to overt dis­cri­mi­na­ti­on, affec­ting their sen­se of secu­ri­ty and belonging.

Social Per­cep­ti­on: Socie­tal atti­tu­des towards inter­ra­cial or inter­cul­tu­ral rela­ti­onships vary wide­ly. Nega­ti­ve per­cep­ti­ons can impact the couple’s social inter­ac­tions and accep­tance in the community.

Legal and Bureau­cra­tic Chal­lenges:

Visa and Resi­den­cy Issues: Navi­ga­ting the immi­gra­ti­on laws of the host coun­try can be com­pli­ca­ted. One part­ner may face dif­fi­cul­ties obtai­ning visas or resi­den­cy per­mits, which can add stress to the relationship.

Employ­ment: Pro­fes­sio­nal oppor­tu­ni­ties may be limi­t­ed for one part­ner due to work per­mit rest­ric­tions or non-reco­gni­ti­on of qualifications.

Fami­ly Dyna­mics:

Exten­ded Fami­ly Accep­tance: Fami­ly mem­bers from eit­her side may have dif­fi­cul­ties accep­ting the inter­cul­tu­ral or inter­ra­cial natu­re of the rela­ti­onship, lea­ding to strai­ned fami­ly dynamics.

Main­tai­ning Fami­ly Ties: Living abroad can make it dif­fi­cult to main­tain clo­se rela­ti­onships with exten­ded fami­ly, which can be emo­tio­nal­ly challenging.

Iden­ti­ty and Belon­ging:

Cul­tu­ral Iden­ti­ty: Part­ners may strugg­le with their cul­tu­ral iden­ti­ty, par­ti­cu­lar­ly if they feel pres­su­red to assi­mi­la­te into the host cul­tu­re or if they expe­ri­ence cul­tu­ral dislocation.

Sen­se of Belon­ging: Fin­ding a com­mu­ni­ty whe­re both part­ners feel accept­ed and sup­port­ed can be chal­len­ging, lea­ding to fee­lings of isolation.

Paren­ting Chal­lenges:

Bilin­gu­al Upbrin­ging: Rai­sing bilin­gu­al or mul­ti­l­in­gu­al child­ren requi­res extra effort and coor­di­na­ti­on. Deci­ding which lan­guages to prio­ri­ti­ze can be a point of contention.

Cul­tu­ral Edu­ca­ti­on: Ensu­ring that child­ren under­stand and app­re­cia­te both cul­tures can be dif­fi­cult, espe­ci­al­ly in a mono­cul­tu­ral environment.

Sup­port Sys­tems:

Lack of Local Sup­port: Wit­hout estab­lished social net­works, it can be har­der to find emo­tio­nal and prac­ti­cal sup­port. Expat com­mu­ni­ties might help, but they can also be transient.

Pro­fes­sio­nal Help: Access to cul­tu­ral­ly com­pe­tent the­ra­py or coun­seling may be limi­t­ed, making it har­der to address inter­cul­tu­ral rela­ti­onship issues.

Navi­ga­ting the­se chal­lenges requi­res open com­mu­ni­ca­ti­on, mutu­al respect, and a wil­ling­ness to learn and adapt. Many inter­cul­tu­ral cou­ples suc­cessful­ly over­co­me the­se obs­ta­cles by fos­te­ring strong bonds and embra­cing each other’s cultures.


This holi­stic ori­en­ted psy­cho­the­ra­py is about lea­ving behind and trans­forming the old suf­fe­ring gene­ra­ting pat­terns and identifications.

With a com­bi­na­ti­on of hyp­no­the­ra­py accor­ding to Mil­ton H. Erick­son, mindful­ness trai­ning and the tea­chings of the Enne­agram, I offer cli­ents various opti­ons for tre­at­ment and sup­port (sel­ec­tion):

  • Reso­lu­ti­on of trau­ma­tic events through hyp­no­the­ra­peu­tic methods, such as work in child­hood, jour­ney into the past with pos­si­bi­li­ties of heal­ing through “chan­ge and support”.
  • Trans­for­ma­ti­on of trau­ma and trau­ma­tic events.
  • Sup­port in coping with grief.
  • Hyp­no­the­ra­py inter­ven­ti­ons to meet peo­p­le from the past or pre­sent, to clo­se unfi­nis­hed or per­ma­nent­ly stressful con­nec­tions (Soul Connection).
  • Sup­port for self-heal­ing and root cau­se identification.
  • Hyp­no­sis methods for streng­thening self-esteem and over­co­ming fears and trau­ma reactions.
  • Deep­ly rela­xing trance sta­tes, bene­fi­ci­al for the body and the ner­vous sys­tem and psyche.

What some of my clients say:

Jana’s Testimonial

I have felt very com­for­ta­ble and lis­ten­ed to in the cou­ples the­ra­py gui­dance by Johan­nes v. Gwin­ner and have expe­ri­en­ced him as very pre­sent and con­stant­ly atten­ti­ve, which has direct­ly invi­ted me (wit­hout nee­ding a “warm-up” pha­se, so to speak) to open up and show mys­elf with my inner being and “what is” — even if in my trance. 
I also found Johan­nes to be very con­stant in his neutrality/“impartiality”, he was open and atten­ti­ve to both of us. 
I felt very unders­tood, which was good. 
I also felt direct­ly trus­ted in our three-per­son constellation. 
Thank you very much for that! 
It was for me over­all, from the “cou­ple the­ra­py set­ting”, a coher­ent and flu­id feeling.

Jochen’s Testimonial

Johan­nes has accom­pa­nied us /​ me in a cou­ples the­ra­py in an online ver­si­on and has ope­ned clo­sed doors through his sen­si­ti­ve work, so that my wife and I have found a level of con­ver­sa­ti­on again through his work. Johan­nes also under­stands his work very well in video con­fe­ren­cing, we real­ly enjoy­ed the imple­men­ta­ti­on. Johan­nes is high­ly recom­men­ded as a cou­ple the­ra­pist!

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Johan­nes v. Gwinner
Heal­ing Prac­ti­tio­ner for Psychotherapy
Neue Jakobstra­ße 1–3
10179 Ber­lin (Mit­te)
(bell: Kör­per­raum Mit­te, 2. flo­or, left)

Phone — Mail

+49 30 54907420


Book a free consultation

Read more Testimonials.

Infor­ma­ti­on about pri­ces and packa­ges for cou­ples the­ra­py and psy­cho­the­ra­py in Ber­lin.

Book a free consultation now, approx. 15 min

You will be redi­rec­ted to the online ser­vice Calend­ly, whe­re you can sel­ect a date and time. You will recei­ve an e‑mail remin­der and also the opti­on to chan­ge or can­cel appointments. 

Book couples therapy session:

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Neue Jakobstra­ße 1–3
10179 Ber­lin (Mit­te)
(bell: Kör­per­raum Mit­te, 2. flo­or left)

Phone — Mail

+49 30 54907420


Send a Message:


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