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