I’ve been working with couples for nearly 20 years. One of the powerful techniques I use is called EFT (Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy). I’ve found this to produce extraordinary results. Why? Couples work together with me to identify and move on from the deeply rooted emotional causes of their disconnections. We call these ‘raw spots’.
We identify, share and work through these raw spots that drive the way each of us behaves and communicates with our partners. With this comes a deeper understanding, empathy and compassion between us and helps us to avoid misinterpretation. You become better attuned, and together, we break the negative cycle.
Why is EFT so powerful?
EFT is based on the last 50 years of scientific research on bonding: bonding between mother and child and romantic bonds between partners. EFT for couples is a short to medium term (usually around 12-20 sessions) structured therapy. EFT is underpinned by the belief that emotions have an inherently adaptive potential which, if activated, can help the couple change their difficult emotional states and experiences. Researchers have found that 70-75% of couples move from distress to recovery and that the gains are sustained for months to years following the end of treatment.
Interactions between distressed couples are usually characterised by negative cycles where one partner is pursuing while the other withdraws. These can soon become stuck in rigid, dysfunctional patterns and stay that way until the underlying need for secure attachment is identified and addressed.
One of my key tasks is to help the couples become aware of, identify, understand and better manage the underlying emotions that keep them stuck in those negative cycles. Once these have been identified, I them to develop of a different kind of interaction within the session – which progressively leads to replacing reactive emotions with positive ones that elicit compassion and connection, promote soothing, and help clients deal with unstated and unmet attachment needs.
What happens in the initial sessions?
The first session is a joint session dedicated to exploring the couple’s background history and presenting problem. This is then followed by an individual session with each partner, which will give me and each partner the opportunity to talk about the issues experienced in the relationship more freely, without the other partner present.
Then the partners resume couple therapy together and start identifying the negative cycles they get caught up in. With my help they work towards changing their patterns of interaction and emotional responses to each other, with the aim of re-establishing emotional intimacy and connection in their relationship.
As a support to the couple therapy process, I recommend that clients in treatment read Dr Sue Johnson’s book, Hold Me Tight, and use it as a source of conversations and reflections at home. Other valuable sources of help are the book Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy for Dummies by Dr Brent Bradley and Dr James Furrow, and Dr Sue Johnson's The Love Secret.
My training in EFT
I started my EFT training in 2019, by attending an Externship in London. It was the beginning of an on-going journey to develop and grow professionally in this field, which lead me to eventually become Certified as Emotionally Focused Couple Therapist. I’m now part of a very active international online community of EFT couple therapists dedicated to professional development and mutual professional support. Through it, I have been keeping abreast of exciting developments in the field of couple therapy.
For a short introduction on EFT by the founder, Dr Sue Johnson, see video below. For more information regarding EFT by the founder, Sue Johnson, please view the video below: