Jo Lam­ble

Herald Sun - Switched On - - ON THE COUCH - BY COLIN VICK­ERY NA­TIONAL TV WRITER

Jo Lam­ble is a clin­i­cal psy­chol­o­gist, hap­pily mar­ried for 25 years and a mother of two. That makes her the per­fect can­di­date to over­see cou­ples tak­ing part in Seven Year Switch.

Four cou­ples are on the brink of sep­a­ra­tion so it is time to use “switch ther­apy” to try to save the re­la­tion­ships.

Jackie wants part­ner Tim to show more af­fec­tion. Brad and Tal­lena haven’t been in­ti­mate for months. Cassie wants hubby Ryan to man up. Ja­son and Michelle live sep­a­rate lives.

Each gets the chance to live with a like-minded new part­ner. At the end of con­tro­ver­sial new show, each cou­ple de­cides whether they want to sep­a­rate or give their re­la­tion­ship a se­cond chance.

What is it about Seven Year Switch that ap­peals to you? It is a novel ap­proach. When cou­ples are in cri­sis you of­ten need some­thing quite dra­matic to hap­pen to give them a new per­spec­tive. We so of­ten point the fin­ger at our part­ner say­ing, ‘You’re do­ing all this wrong’. This is a great op­por­tu­nity to get them to stand back and have a look at their own part in the dy­namic.

The four cou­ples have var­ied rea­sons for their trou­bles. Th­ese cou­ples are great be­cause they rep­re­sent so many of the things that a lot of peo­ple have trou­ble with — work-life bal­ance, jug­gling kids, as well as in­ti­macy and money is­sues.

Can you see a com­mon thread in their re­la­tion­ship woes? When we’re un­happy we im­me­di­ately start think­ing, ‘If my part­ner doesn’t change, that’s it (re­la­tion­ship over)’. Peo­ple stop em­pathis­ing, stop un­der­stand­ing where their part­ner is com­ing from, can’t see it from their point of view and stop tak­ing re­spon­si­bil­ity for their own part in it.

What does the switch achieve? It is pow­er­ful. They get paired with some­one more like­minded. The per­son they are put with is ac­tu­ally far more like them than their life part­ner. That makes them see more about them­selves. You’re hold­ing up a mir­ror to your­self.

Do you see cou­ples where you think, ‘I can’t un­der­stand how they ever got to­gether’? Oh gosh, yes. But I can think, ‘How did you ever get to­gether and you’re never go­ing to make it’, and they do bril­liantly. There are oth­ers where you think, ‘You’re per­fect’, and they break up. You can’t pre­dict it.

Do you thinkhink too many cou­ples call it quits too early? Yes. I don’tn’t blame them, though, be­cause they are so un­happy and they don’t have the skills (to fix it). If I could teach all cou­ples one thingg it would be em­pa­thy. If that hap­pen­sap­pens so much angst and hurt starts to fade away.

SEVEN YEARR SWITCH, SEVEN, TUES­DAY, 9PM PM

Clin­i­cal psy­chol­o­gist Jo

Lam­ble, of

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