What if you could feel more connected and in love with your partner now than you ever have before? What if the best years of your relationship were still ahead of you? Call me crazy, but it’s possible! Over 20 years of empirical research has been gathered and analyzed on the effectiveness of Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) for couples and the results are in! These studies found that “70-75% of couples move from distress to recovery and approximately 90% show significant improvement soon after beginning therapy (iceeft.com). Ok, you’re saying, those statistics are great, but what is so special about EFT to make it more effective?
EFT is a model of therapy (developed by Sue Johnson) designed to radically alter the way couples interact with one another. Ever find yourself in a fight with your partner and wonder why every “discussion” feels like it ends the same way? Feeling alone, frustrated, unimportant, not good enough. It’s the all too familiar arguments that quickly spin out of control, or maybe you are talking to your partner but feel like he/she isn’t really hearing you. The smallest things turn into fights that result in hours or days of not talking with one another, or that dreaded yet re-occurring feeling of hopelessness or helplessness.
Your emotions are connected to your most basic needs (to feel valued and connected) and when those needs go unmet, the pattern of interaction between you and your partner creates a negative cycle. This cycle is then perpetuated by these underlying feelings of despair, hurt, or fear. This model predicts that if a couple is not “securely attached” (each person is able to express and have their needs met in the relationship because fights are not a threat to the security of the relationship) then a partner will either pursue and blame or withdraw and become defensive in an attempt to express their unmet needs. In other words, your need to know you are important and good enough to your partner will drive you to do one of two things: to continually increase the volume of your voice so your spouse finally understands what you are saying or it propels you to do the opposite and walk away with the hope that your absence will help things to calm down.
People are happier and healthier when they feel close and connected to their loved one. EFT provides the road map for long-term change using specific strategies and interventions for couples. It will help you to better manage your emotions and use them to alleviate relational problems. It’s hard to feel close to someone you have been hurt by. EFT will help you access underlying emotions and unmet needs that have kept you stuck and unable to resolve relational issues.
Another reason to go with EFT is that it doesn’t rely solely on behavioral changes because we all know that just going through the motions doesn’t change anything long-term. If you have been told to “fake it until you make it” then you have been given bad advice. If you don’t have help understanding and changing the way you feel about your partner than all of the effort was a waste of time. Learn how to re-connect with your partner because that’s how you will feel safe and heard. Your emotions are a signal of your deeper unmet needs, so don’t settle for short-term change.
Make today the day you take the first step toward a better and more satisfying relationship. Remember though, if you want to get the most bang for your buck and to make long-lasting changes in your relationship, than you need an EFT couples’ therapist.
If you would like other resources on Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy. You can read Sue Johnson’s books: Hold me Tight: Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love and Love Sense: The Revolutionary New Science of Romantic Relationships.