Emotionally Focused Therapy for Couples
Are You Lonely in Your Relationship?
Do you sometimes wonder if your partner cares about, understands or values you at all? When you try to express hurt, frustration and needs, does your partner withdraw or criticize you without hearing what you’re desperate to say?
Perhaps you and you partner have promised to make positive changes, only to gradually fall back into old routines and the same old fights. It may be that you don’t know what your partner wants from you, causing you to walk on eggshells, afraid to set off an argument.
Maybe you find yourself lashing out or shutting down and feel ashamed of and/or bewildered by your own words and actions. Are you tired of feeling as though you can’t do anything right in your partner’s eyes or express your emotions without feeling rejected?
Do you long to find ways to improve your relationship and feel truly, deeply connected?
Relationships issues can be deeply painful. Maybe you and your partner have been stuck in the same harmful patterns for what feels like forever.
Or, perhaps you and your partner spent months and years without an argument, and now a recent breach of trust or life change – such as a move, the birth of a child or a loss – has made you feel as though the partner you once knew is gone. Regardless of what is going on in your relationship, you and your partner may not know how to create the satisfying, intimate relationship you crave.
If You Feel Stuck and Defeated by Disconnection in Your Relationship, You Are Not Alone
Relationships aren’t easy, and all couples face challenging periods at some points in their lives together. Throughout our childhoods, we learn from the relationships modeled by the adults around us. Then, we continue to learn from our earliest relationships with friends and romantic partners.
Understandably, we often learn from the events or experiences that have hurt us, and we develop ways to emotionally protect ourselves. For example, if your parents often argued, you may have internalized that yelling and demanding is a way to get attention, even if that attention is negative.
Perhaps your early relationships were shaped by loss, betrayal and a sense of abandonment, and now part of you fears that you aren’t lovable, and you are frequently on the look out for a sign from your partner that you are right. Whenever you see that sign, you might panic, unable to control an outburst of anger and pain.
Maybe your family did not discuss difficult emotions or indicated that expressing emotions is a sign of weakness. Perhaps past relationships caused many overwhelming, distressing and confusing thoughts and feelings, and you now feel shut off in an attempt to avoid suffering.
Whenever you sense that you and your partner are approaching a conversation or experience that involves heightened emotions, you put up your walls and shut down.
Of course, you may not fully understand why you react to situations the way you do. Even if you are aware of your defense mechanisms, you might find yourself unable to stop them. This is nothing to feel ashamed of.
When you have an emotionally charged experience, the brain holds onto that information, assigning narratives and meaning to seemingly small details. Sometimes, our partners can do or say something that carries meaning for us, even if they don’t intend to hurt us. And, when we interpret their actions to mean something painful, we respond to that perceived pain in a way that is familiar. You are trying to protect yourself in the best way you know how.
These unconscious patterns are based in fear, and that fear can make it feel impossible to be vulnerable with your partner, especially if you feel like your emotional needs are not being met. Over time, it is very easy for couples – built of two different people with their own unique patterns of response – to unconsciously fall into a negative cycle of interaction.
It may be that you and your partner are constantly at each other’s throats, arguing and blaming one another for anything gone wrong. If so, you may be in the “Find The Bad Guy” negative cycle. Or, you and your partner may lack hostility and instead have quiet disagreements, often avoiding anything that will rock the boat.
It may even be that one or both of you is completely unaware that there is anything wrong in your relationship, but you know that something doesn’t feel right. If so, you may be in the “Freeze and Flee” cycle. Perhaps you and your partner play a sort of cat and mouse game.
One of you negatively pokes the other, which pushes the other to withdraw, maybe ignoring you while literally walking away, which then triggers even more poking, and so the pattern repeats. If so, you are in the most common of cycles called “The Protest Polka.” This cycle can be especially confusing for both partners, as neither understands why the other is responding this way.
Whatever your cycle, your negative patterns are likely to show up more frequently and more severely over time, as you and your partner anticipate each other’s moves and react to the slightest sign of negativity – perceived or real. This can cause increased distance and turmoil.
Thankfully, there is another way.
Emotionally Focused Therapy for Couples (EFT) can help you create a new, positive interaction cycle and nurture emotional bonding and emotional security that will last for the long-haul.
Emotionally Focused Therapy for Couples Can Help You and Your Partner Come Together
Unlike other forms of couples therapy, EFT moves beyond surface arguments in order to help couples form a profound, lasting connection to one another. EFT therapy is a collaborative, evidence-based, empirically validated approach that invites couples to break down their negative cycles, develop effective strategies for clear communication and bond on a deep, emotional level.
In sessions, we will begin with an open dialogue, mapping out the predictable negative interaction cycle that plague your relationship. After discovering and exploring your relationship’s negative cycle – pinpointing exactly what happens when, how and why – we will uncover deep emotional needs and desires that, when triggered, are currently manifesting themselves in ways that perpetuate that cycle.
Once we understand what’s occurring, I can help build a secure, deep bond. I can teach the two of you to practice emotional accessibility and responsiveness between one another with confidence, even when it feels like a risk. Finally, we will work to solidify your new, secure bond using repetition and practice of the new positive interaction cycle in and out of sessions.
You can learn to recognize your own emotions and your partner’s emotions. You and your partner can enjoy new emotional security and feel safe being vulnerable, open and honest with one another, no matter what challenges you face.
Couples are often shocked to hear how effective and fast this form of couples therapy can be. When compared to other models, Emotionally Focused Therapy for Couples (EFT) has a 75 percent success rate of moving couples from distress to complete recovery. Ninety percent of couples experience significant improvements in their relationship. Also, this specific model of therapy can help couples reach results within 8-20 sessions and provide results that last long after therapy is over.
I am specifically trained in couples counseling and EFT therapy, and I understand, both personally and professionally, how difficult relationships can be and how possible positive change truly is. In sessions, I offer a compassionate, nonjudgmental space for you to be exactly who you are, without fear of criticism or rejection.
I have the skills needed to help you and your partner unpack your individual emotions and relationship dynamic, and I will never criticize or assign blame. I truly believe you and your partner have good intentions to connect, and more importantly, the problem lies within the negative cycle you sometimes get trapped in. But, you and your partner are not that cycle, and you can defeat it together – as a team.
You may believe that couples therapy can help heal your relationship, but still have questions or concerns…
We’ve been to counseling before, and it didn’t work.
There could be many reasons why couples counseling may not have worked in the past. For example, sometimes couples simply are not ready to face the difficult issues in their relationship, and sometimes the therapist or the therapeutic approach is not best fit for the couple.
Couples counseling should not be ruled out as ineffective before considering all the many reasons why therapy didn’t help. If results are what you’re looking for, I encourage you and your partner to try couples counseling again. I use a highly effective therapeutic approach called Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT).
Time and time again, EFT proves through research to be the most effective form of couples counseling. You and your partner can talk to one another in a new, satisfying way. You can feel closer. You can build a resilient, fulfilling relationship.
I don’t want to dig up and expose difficult feelings.
You might feel very uncomfortable with emotions and dread expressing anger and sadness with your partner. Maybe part of you wants to insist that everything is fine.
While it can feel frightening to be vulnerable, it can be even more difficult to bury your emotions over the long term. Plus, buried emotions rarely stay buried. When you come into therapy, you can resolve the core emotions driving tension and creating strain in your relationship.
As you develop emotional bonding through Emotionally Focused Therapy, you can begin feeling safe expressing your emotions and trust that you partner will receive them with care and understanding. Conversations that felt unpleasant before can feel less risky, and you and your partner can approach them with mutual love, respect and patience.
You and my partner are going to gang up on me.
I know there are two sides to every story, and I will not make either one of you feel like you are wrong. I will organize your relationship experiences and difficult emotions in a way that makes sense given the context and history of you and your partner’s life.
This way, you don’t feel like the problem in your relationship is one of you; rather, the problem is the cycle that maintains emotional disconnection and dissatisfaction between you two. If it would make you feel more comfortable, we can invite another therapist into the room with us so that you and your partner each feel as though you have someone on your side.
Your relationship is my priority, and I don’t take sides. Instead, I offer acceptance, support and guidance, helping each of you understand each other – and yourselves – in new, remarkable ways.
Emotionally Focused Therapy for Couples Can Lead to Deep Connection
If you and your partner are ready to experience an empirically supported couples counseling model that can give you the results you’re looking for, I invite you to schedule a FREE 30-minute consultation. We can discuss any questions you have about ways to improve your relationship, EFT therapy and my practice.
Resentful. Lonely. Unsatisfied. If You Feel This Way, Your Relationship Could Be At Risk.
Take the first step in finding out if your relationship is securely bonded for the long haul or if you should consider getting help. Take this free quiz: Is it Time For Couples Therapy?