Couple distress is the single most common reason for seeking therapy. It undermines family functioning and is strongly associated with depression, anxiety disorders, and alcoholism. Emotionally Focused Therapy for Couples (EFT) offers a comprehensive theory of adult love and attachment, as well as a process for healing distressed relationships. It recognizes that relationship distress results from a perceived threat to basic adult needs for safety, security, and closeness in intimate relationships.
This experiential/systemic therapy focuses on helping partners restructure the emotional responses that maintain their negative interaction patterns. Through a series of nine steps, the therapist leads the couple away from conflict deadlock into new bonding interactions. EFT is now one of the best delineated and empirically-validated approaches in the field of couple therapy. 70-75% of couples move from distressed to no distress when completing EFT. Studies indicate the results for EFT are generally robust and long-lasting. www.iceeft.com/EFTResearch.pdf
Also, EFT works with partners who describe themselves as "unemotional". EFT has been applied across cultures and with presenting problems such as depression, PTSD and with adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse.
Another significant finding is that couples who work through the EFT process resolve their issues without returning to their old unhealthy communication patterns in the future.
EFT is adaptable to complex relationship situations, including helping couples heal after affairs, cope with difficult life stressors, such as chronic illness and trauma. The initial level of relationship distress does not predict how well you will do in EFT. Research studies show that is it effective with couples in which one or both partners struggle with depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, a traumatic childhood background, as well as sexual problems, such as low sexual desire.
Regardless of how minor or big your problems are, EFT can help you resolve your difficulties - we can work together to help you and your partner weather life's challenges together. Couples who take the experiences and tools developed in sessions and apply them outside of the session increase their chances of success.
Strengths of EFT
- Clear, explicit conceptualizations of relationship distress and adult love. These conceptualizations are supported by empirical research on the nature of couple distress and adult attachment.
- Change strategies and interventions are specified. The change process has been mapped into nine steps and specific change events.
- EFT is empirically validated and there is also research on the change process and predictors of success. www.iceeft.com/EFTResearch.pdf
- EFT has been applied to many different kinds of problems and populations.
Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) helps address the core questions we often ask ourselves about our most important relationship: “Do I matter deeply to my partner? Will he/she be there for me when I need them most? Do I feel safe and secure enough in this relationship to be my full and authentic self?”
These questions are typically at the root of what couples fight about: the emotional bond and security in their relationship. When we fear that the answer to one of the above questions may be “no,” it can cause us to feel isolated and alone, and sometimes as though we are fighting for survival itself.
And fight we will. Or withdraw.
EFT – a highly researched, effective, and evidence-based treatment – focuses on the emotional bond between partners, presuming that most relational problems arise from a disruption in this bond. It helps partners learn not only to be more open and trusting with each other, but also to reach out for one another more effectively.
Watch “Love Sense: From Infant to Adult - Created by Drs. Sue Johnson and Edward Tronick (2016). More clearly demonstrated than ever before, one can see in an 11 minute demonstration, Drs. Sue Johnson and Ed Tronick collaborate to show we need secure emotional connections from the cradle to the grave! View the striking similarities between infant-parent attachment and adult attachment.
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