What is Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy (EFT)?
Focused Couples Therapy (EFT) is a short-term treatment approach whose
goal is the reconnection between partners. EFT, developed by Susan
Johnson and Les Greenberg, is based on John Bowlby's Attachment research
over 50 years ago. Bowlby found that humans and higher primate animals
appeared to have an innate need to feel attached to and comforted
by significant others. However, due to our relationship histories,
and the negative cycles of interaction we get into with our partners,
many of us have difficulties with trust and expressing emotion to
those who mean the most to us.
couples argue about such issues as jealousy, sex or money, the origins
of these arguments are usually some form of protest from one partner
about not feeling connected, not trusting, or not feeling safe or
secure with the other partner. When those we are attached to are not
available, or are not responding to our needs to feel close or supported,
we feel distressed. We may become anxious or fearful, numb or distant.
In a relatively short time, couples begin to recognize and eventually express their needs for love, support, protection and comfort that are often hidden or disguised by the harsh or angry words used in repetitive self-defeating patterns of conflict or arguments with each other. Partners begin to "listen with the heart," one of the cornerstones of EFT - which means listening not for the literal meaning of a partner's words, but for the feelings that lie beneath. In return, the other partner is better able to respond from their heart in kind. This is the emotional focus of Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy.
We view the building of "a safe haven" in your relationship as our primary task, and we will try to focus on your primary needs -- to feel close, secure and responded to --- which probably underlie most of your couple's conflict.
Once this safe haven and feelings of connection are reestablished, you will be better able to manage conflict and the painful or difficult feelings that will inevitably arise from time to time in a close relationship. Furthermore, without so much defensiveness, each of you will be able to send clearer messages and will be better able to hear the other's perspective. You will be better able to collaborate, problem-solve, and compromise - in short - you'll be more of a team - which is the secret of a long-lived, successful marriage!
Research on the success of EFT: -- EFT appears to move couples from distress to recovery in 10-12 sessions for 70-75% of cases, and creates improvements in 90% of couples coming in for therapy. EFT has been used with many different types of couples in private practice, university training centers and hospital clinics. These distressed couples include partners suffering from disorders such as depression, post- traumatic stress, and chronic illness.
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