“And they lived happily ever after….”
The age-old phrase is an over-simplified, story book version of love that isn’t true for many real marriages and relationships. Many romantic partnerships cause not only happiness but also emotional pain. For the most part, the hurt we feel in relationships, if we look a bit under the surface, shows partners are emotionally invested in their relationship. However, there are relationships that have experienced enough emotional misery that spouses get caught, almost routinely, being emotionally unavailable for each other. Drama, heartache, and emotional distance are the big symptoms. These symptoms are evidence of hurt and often over time become more difficult to repair. When that happens, it’s time for Emotionally Focused Therapy, or EFT for short.
EFT is a form of couples therapy where spouses work together to understand and repair their built up pain and disconnection to recreate their happy love story. Research shows at least three-fourths of couples who participate in EFT are rebuild a securely attached, happy, and emotionally healthy relationship. EFT is powerful way to build a relationship even when when one or both partners are suffering from mental illness, such as depression or anxiety, or chronic illnesses.
EFT is based on bonding science – our essential need for human connection. When couples are not securely attached to each other they exhibit defensive behaviors and build up emotional barriers. Without a secure relationship, people become distressed, tense, irritable, discourage – all the feelings that drive couples and families apart. This disconnection is painful for everyone involved.
The goal of EFT is to create a safe and secure emotional bond between partners where they can again enjoy a relationship filled with satisfaction, intimacy, trust, and love. EFT therapists are responsible for creating a safe environment where couples can explore and discover their spouse is not their enemy; they learn to see the vulnerable side of their partner and how their partner hides fear and pain.
Therapists act as guides for couples as they help them de-escalate negative patterns of behavior. The focus is on the present. There is a discovery of the tender and vulnerable emotions that are hidden, protected and when left unattended to fuel insecure bonding. Couples in therapy learn how to have positive and meaningful interactions. Through EFT, couples discover what makes their partners feel vulnerable and how to fulfill their emotional needs. As relationships are rebuilt couples naturally resolve repetitive problems without contention and decide things together as a team, which in reality makes for a wonderful love story. “And they lived secure, in love and together ever after…”
EFT for couples is an empirically proven form of therapy developed by Dr. Sue Johnson. Dr. Johnson has won many awards for her development of EFT and the positive impact it is making on therapy, couples, and families around the globe.