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With couples, I practice Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy (EFT), which is focused on the reconnection between partners. This approach views attachment, or the loving bond between partners, to be the key element in relationships. When couples argue over various issues, such as money, sex, chores, or important decisions, one or both partners often feels disconnected, unimportant, or insecure with their partner. When we feel our important others are not there for us, we are biologically wired to feel distressed. Our distress results in us becoming anxious and agitated or numb and distant, and behaving in ways that disconnect us from our important other. If we do not reconnect and re-establish our sense of safety with our partner, we can get stuck in rigid, habitual patterns of reacting to our partner. In therapy, we learn to recognize these negative interaction cycles and understand that we are actually protesting our disconnection and disguising our need for closeness and security with anger and critical words or distance and stonewalling. Couples learn to recognize their needs for comfort and support and then to express these needs in a softer way. They also learn to look past their partner’s literal words and listen for their vulnerabilities and insecurities and, instead of responding defensively, to respond in a kind, loving way. As they do this, couples’ interactions have increasing respect and understanding, and they are better able to behave in ways that reflect how important their relationship is to them.

Research on EFT demonstrates that it is one of the most effective treatments for relationships. It has a 70-75% recovery rate and has shown improvement in 90% of couples. It is also effective when one of the partners has depression, PTSD, or chronic illness. Whether the distressed relationship is a couple or parent and child, EFT can help uncover the hurt, sadness and fear creating the conflict and help you re-establish a safe and secure relationship.

Through Emotionally Focused Therapy, I help couples understand their need for closeness and security that underlie their negative interactions. As you learn to reconnect and strengthen your loving bond, your distress lessens and your teamwork and satisfaction improves.

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