Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) for Couples
At times, couples may find themselves in a relationship where they begin to drift apart and feel disconnected, alone, sad and hurt. In their best attempt to deal with the downward spiral, they engage in behaviours that only perpetuate their negative patterns of interaction. Specifically, partners may find themselves in situations where they feel:
- “stuck”, going around in circles trying to prove a point and/or be heard
- “empty”, “discouraged” and wondering if issues will ever get resolved
- “betrayed” by the partner or family member, left feeling devalued and unappreciated.
- “lacking “intimacy”, as if living with a roommate
If this resonates with you, keep on reading!
How I Can Help
In line with research, the purpose of couples’ sessions is to help you and your partner reconnect emotionally so both of you feel safe and secure in the relationship. When this safety and security is established, together you can better withstand many of the stresses that life presents to you.
In a safe atmosphere, I will assist you, as a couple, to identify both your negative patterns of interaction that result from the fights and arguments you may repetitively get stuck in, called “demon” dialogues, as well as help you identify the underlying emotions that accompany this pattern.
Expressing and sharing these most intimate emotions with each other provides the grounds and foundation for emotional reconnection and thus marital satisfaction.
What is EFT?
We are born to need each other. The human brain is wired for close connection with a few irreplaceable others. Accepting your need for this kind of emotional connection is not a sign of weakness but maturity and strength.
In fact, research in EFT shows that relationships and marriages often fail not because of conflict, financial problems or lack of sex, but rather because of emotional disconnection with our partners.
In her books “Hold Me Tight” and “Love Sense“ Dr. Sue Johnson explains this wired-in need for emotional contact and responsiveness from significant others. It is a survival need, just like when an infant/child seeks reassurance from his/her caregivers that they will be there for him/her in moments of distress.
Such attunement to these moments and needs assists us in regulating our emotions and thus feel safe and secure with our loved ones.
Family Therapy - Parenting
This is my brief personal story. We became a blended family more than 20 years ago. As expected, the challenges of such family constellation began. Overtime, it became clear to us that no matter what books we read, what consequences we imposed, and what threats we made, our ways of parenting were not working.
So, as a couple, at different points in time in our children’s lives, we sought family therapy. As parents, we were aware that we had not been dealing well with the behavioral and emotional issues that arose overtime. The impact was noticeable and emotions such as anger and resentment had set in, impacting the family atmosphere as well as the relationship with one another.
Inspired to repair the parent-child relationship with our children and informed by my trainings in Emotionally Focused therapy for couples (EFT) and Emotion and Emotionally Focused Family Therapy (EFFT), we re-engaged in family therapy that focused primarily on emotions.
Specifically, we attended a workshop for parents called Emotion Focused Skills Training (EFST) for parents and families and this training became the key to the transformation of the relationship with our young and adult children.
Since then I have trained in this approach and I run EFST parenting workshops using the tools learned.
HOW CAN I HELP?
Since EFST is rooted in the experiential skills of the EFT approach, this family therapy focuses on supporting parents to become the primary agents in guiding their loved ones through behavioral, emotional and relational challenges they face in everyday life.
Using this skills-based approach, I will provide parents the simple and practical tools needed for implementation when dealing with challenging family dynamics.
The set of tools embedded in EFST is called the Emotion-Wise Skill NET:
- Navigating the confusing and often painful world of your loved one’s emotions.
- Enhance parental motivation and capacity to support your loved one.
- Transform relationship with your children (of all ages) and other important relationships.
As individuals, we are exposed to many life experiences that may challenge our well-being as well as our relationships. Personally, I experienced fear, loneliness and lack of self worth following a divorce and other significant loses in my life. My own journey in therapy has taught me that change is possible especially when we can work through our emotional pain. In fact, it is this belief about change that motivated me to switch careers and become a therapist.
Individual therapy offers individuals a safe space where these experiences can be shared and explored. Many of these experiences include:
- anxiety and uncertainty
- trauma (childhood, adult and relational trauma)
- life transitions (career, relocation)
- family dynamics (separation & divorce, family of origin)
- grief and loss
How I Can Help
Inspired by emotion focused and compassion-based approaches to therapy, I will guide you into your inner world so that you gain a better understanding of the core beliefs, emotions and behaviors you used in order to cope. This process will help you connect to the authentic self so that you can invite and implement the changes you desire to ensure you lead a more fulfilling and peaceful life.