Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy is Beautiful!
Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy is a profoundly beautiful and powerful model of therapy and I love it. I love it because:
- It gives me a way to help couples build teamwork first, which helps each partner build confidence and openness toward one another.
- It gives me a way to truly help strengthen a couple’s bond.
- I know that I’ll be able to help the partners be moved by one another’s feelings.
- Hearts will frequently soften into forgiveness and closeness.
- Greater security will frequently form and partners will have increasing courage to reach for each other.
Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy Research is Amazing!
I also love EFT for Couples because it is the most rigorously researched model of couple therapy. The research itself is beautiful and can be categorized as pertaining to 1) Outcome, 2) Effectiveness for a variety of relational and individual difficulties, 3) Studies on how this model works in the micro moments of therapeutic interaction.
Here is a link to a Summary of Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy Research: EFT Research
As an Emotionally Focused Couple Therapist I Get To Grow Forever!
I love this model because it supports my practice-long ethic of keeping a beginner’s mind; of being open to new ways of understanding and of responding. With EFT I will always be able to grow. At the same time, this model provides a very clear road map for what I need to accomplish as a couple therapist. So my direction is always clear with a couple. (The couple and I still need to figure out how to move across the terrain of this map together; this is not a cookie-cutter approach.) And my direction can always be clear for my own growing effectiveness as a marital therapist who has a passion for helping couples.
Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy is a short-term approach to helping couples with relationship distress. Typically within 12 to 30 sessions couples are helped through three Stages of Therapy.
*All therapists who practice Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy will describe the stages of EFT very similarly but I really like the description of the stages of EFT by the Directors of the Vancouver Couple and Family Institute, Veronica Kallos-Lilly, Ph.D., Certified EFT Therapist, Supervisor and Trainer and Yolanda von Hackauf, M. Ed., Registered Marriage & Family Therapist, Certified EFT Therapist, Supervisor and Trainer. Credit them for the following description:
“Stage 1: Tracking your communication patterns
This helps you to:
- Recognize trigger points
- Explore and understand the basis for the triggers
- Unlatch from rigid unhealthy patterns of behaviour
- Diffuse conflict
- Recognize your partner is not the enemy; the two of you are struggling together
We will track your interactions with your partner and identify where and how your communication breaks down. When you discover how each of you contributes to the pattern, you realize that your partner is not your enemy. You both make mistakes and misunderstand one another. You are both struggling to be understood, but are just not managing to reach each other.
Recognizing how you get pulled into your negative patterns of interaction is the first step to changing them. As you and your partner become aware of when you get stuck in your patterns, you can then discover how to help each other unlatch from them.
Stage 2: Creating a new, positive pattern of communication
This helps you to:
- Communicate your emotions effectively
- Create an intimate, secure bond
- Feel cared for and loved by one another
Relationships evoke a host of feelings: joy, pleasure, anger, hurt, anxiety, sadness, loneliness, insecurity… even if you don’t think of yourself as an emotional person. You need to find a way to let your partner know how you are feeling in the relationship in order to have a healthy bond.
In Stage 2 you will build on the platform of connection you established in the first stage of therapy. We will help you develop new ways of expressing yourself that don’t evoke your triggers and set off the old negative patterns.
Whether you struggle to communicate your feelings or you think of yourself as highly expressive, you can discover how to express yourself in a way that maximizes the chances of your partner responding to your needs and wants.
Stage 3: Applying new communication patterns to contentious issues of the past
This helps you to:
- Strengthen the new patterns of communication by applying them to previously unresolved issues
- Embrace new ways of connecting with each other emotionally and physically
- Prepare to end therapy with strategies to help you maintain your closeness
Stage 3 involves reviewing any old remaining, problematic issues and working them through to resolution with your new ways of communicating and connecting. We will also help you review the work you did through the course of therapy. Important steps you made along the way are identified and elaborated into strategies so that you can use them in the future and not revert back to your old, unhealthy ways of communicating.”
There are many articles and videos on the internet about Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy. Please look at my page ‘Couple Resource Links’ under “Resources For Couples” on the navigation menu.
Also, there are four really good books for couples based on or about Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy. You can find them at my page ‘Reading For Your Relationship’ under “Resources For Couples” on the navigation menu.
I have specialized in working with couples my whole practice life and have always been deeply committed to learning. I can tell you about the many ways I have worked to develop my ability to help couples if you are interested, but for now, I just want to say, from a very seasoned couple therapist: Look for a marriage therapist who continues learning and practicing Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy even if you do not end up having me help you with your relationship problems. And please turn to me for a referral if working with me does not end up being possible. There are many really good couple therapists who become deeply committed to working in this model. The model of Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy, itself, pulls for therapist learners who are the most open and the most collaborative.
Also, please follow the article link to “Finding a Couples Therapist – Buyer Beware”, written by Jim Thomas, Certified EFT Trainer, on his website. You’ll find it under ‘Couple Resource Links’ under “Resources For Couples” on the navigation menu.