Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy

What is Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy (EFT)?

Couple holding hands in therapy

The goal of Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy or EFT is the reconnection between you and your partner.

It was developed by Susan Johnson and Les Greenberg and is based on John Bowlby’s attachment research. Bowlby found humans have an inbuilt need to feel attached to and comforted by significant others. In adults these attachment relationships are believed to be as important for survival as the mother/child bond.

Ideally adult attachments provide:

  • Love
  • Comfort
  • Support
  • Protection

Throughout the whole of your life.

But…

Due to our relationship histories and the negative interaction cycles we get into with our partners, many of us experience difficulty with trust and being able to express real emotion to those who mean the most to us.

When couples argue about jealousy, sex, money or whatever… The origins of these arguments are usually a form of protest from one partner about:

  • Not feeling connected
  • Not trusting
  • Not feeling loved
  • Not feeling safe

With the other partner.

When those we are attached to are not available, responding to our needs to feel love, comfort, support or protection we feel distressed and we may become anxious or fearful, numb or distant.

Over time these behaviours can become the habitual ways we react to our partners. It’s even possible these toxic behaviour habits can take on a life of their own becoming a negative cycle causing much pain, injury and despair.

In EFT we work on identifying these patterns and changing these negative cycles in a non-judgmental environment. The aim of EFT is to help you recognise and eventually express your needs for:

  • Love
  • Comfort
  • Support
  • Protection

In healthy ways instead of them being disguised by harsh or angry words.

You will learn to listen with your heart – which means listening not for the literal meaning of your partners words, but for the feelings that lie beneath them. In return your partner is better able to respond from their heart.

This is the emotional focus of Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy.

EFT therapists believe people do what they do for very good reasons and that the only ‘Bad Guy’ in the room is the negative cycle your relationship is stuck in.

Our primary task is the building of a ‘Safe Haven’ in your relationship. We will try to focus on your primary needs – to feel:

  • Loved
  • Comforted
  • Supported
  • Protected

Which underlie most of a couple’s conflict.

Once this safe haven is built and feelings of connection are re-established you will be better able to manage conflicts and painful or difficult feelings that arise from time to time in all close relationships.

You’ll also be able to send clear messages to each other and be better able to hear the others perspective. You will be able to collaborate, problem solve and compromise better.

In a nutshell…

You’ll be more of a team, which is the secret of a long-lived, successful relationship.

We have a lot of work to do together.

We’ll take it seriously, we’ll work with whatever comes up and we may even enjoy ourselves from time to time.

Yes it’s going to be hard work, but the results are well worth the effort and I will do my best to support you as we work to build the kind of relationship you and your partner want.

What Now?

To schedule an appointment please fill out the contact form below.  If you have a question, you’ll find it quicker to take a look at the Frequently Asked Questions page as I’ve answered most of the common questions I get asked there.

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