Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy [EFT]
While at Grace Health Centre I learned about Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy. I had the opportunity to experience first hand how EFT can help improve relationships.
According to researchers EFT helps improve relationships: Results from studies indicated: 70-73% of couples showed improvement in marital distress and 90% had "significantly improved" in relationship satisfaction (Sue Johnson, 2011).
EFT is a client-centered, short-term intervention. EFT helps couples to become more aware of and process their emotions. Furthermore EFT helps couples to recognize their maladaptive communication styles and this awareness helps couples develop more fruitful ways of communicating. Sue Johnson uses the metaphor of a dance. Couples become stuck in difficult dances, like the Protest Polka (Sue Johnson, 2008) where one partner pursues, attacks, or blames and the other partner withdraws, defends, or stonewalls. Part of the counselling process works to change the dance.
During the session, counsellor and client work together. The counsellor helps clients to recognize whether their emotional system is working properly. For example, the counsellor will help couples notice whether they have been avoiding or holding back on important emotional information.
One goal is to help clients reexperience painful emotions in a safe and non-judgmental environment. Together, counsellor and couple work on emotions to “make sense of them” and instead of working against them work with them.
For couple’s therapy, the goal is to help couples create stronger attachment bonds.
EFT uses the power of emotion to “move” partners and evoke new responses in recurring key interactions that make up a couple’s relationship “dance.” Susan Johnson, 2011
Johnson, Susan M. (2011-03-19). Becoming an Emotionally Focused Couple Therapist: The Workbook (p. 4). Taylor & Francis.