Think about your partnership: Does one of you get angry when you don’t get a response from the other? Do you shut down when difficult feelings come up or when you’re on the receiving end of your partner’s frustration?
In emotionally focused couples therapy (EFT), your therapist decodes the underlying needs and fears that drive such negative interactions. Founded on the idea that emotional responsiveness is what allows people to feel secure in their relationships, EFT helps couples reconnect and, in so doing, reestablish a sense of emotional safety in the relationship.
EFT is based on the belief that emotion and bonding are shared by all human beings everywhere. In its founder Sue Johnson’s words, “We understand that if we can help a couple create a safe emotional bond, then every time a huge stressor comes towards you, you can reach for each other and support each other.
Not only does that help you to deal with the stressor, but it cements your bond.”
After a therapist creates a trusting, safe relationship with both partners, they engage in the three-phase, nine-step model of EFT. The first phase focuses on assessing and de-escalating a couple’s particular pattern of conflict and is made up of the following four steps:
The second phase, called the “change events phase,” helps partners have healing emotional experiences. In this phase, partners:
Once they’ve resolved the attachment-related parts of their conflict, partners take part in the final phase, known as the “consolidation of change phase,” which has two steps:
Thirty years of research on EFT has shown that in addition to improving diverse couples’ relationships, it’s also been effective with couples who are addressing:
EFT is not appropriate when ongoing abuse is taking place in a relationship.
Sometimes relationship stress contributes to substance abuse. When this is the case, EFT can be helpful for building a more secure attachment style and increased relational satisfaction, both of which can decrease the desire to self-soothe with substances.
Sandstone care is devoted to helping teens and young adults heal from relationship distress, substance abuse and mental illness.
We offer comprehensive treatment programs for co-occurring disorders and our team is ready seven days a week to help you with any questions you may have about EFT and other treatment options – call us at (888) 850-1890.
We understand taking the first step is difficult. There is no shame or guilt in asking for help or more information. We are here to support you in any way we can.