The consistent cycle of negative interactions in relationships is exhausting and frustrating and it is the most common reason couples and families call me for help. The routine has become so automatic that you feel the irritation but can’t identify the cause. One partner has perfected the art of avoidance or withdrawal while the other partner relies on a steady stream of blame and criticism. Then there are the internal wars that lead to the same echo chamber of arguments over expectations, sex, money, the kids, the lack of free time, or why one partner doesn't "help" more.
In response to these predictable patterns, EFT (Emotionally Focused Therapy) was born. Developed by Sue Johnson, a professor of psychology at Ottawa University, and Les Greenberg, now a professor at York University in Canada, EFT focuses on the emotional need for connection and closeness with your spouse. Without that emotional security, Johnson says, all the communication skills in the world won’t rebuild a relationship.
“You can teach people communication skills up the wazoo,” Johnson says, “but if they’re afraid of losing the person they depend on, they don’t use them. In our culture, we have this funny thing where we see maturity as being independent, not needing other people. But, modern life has overloaded marriage. Our sister no longer lives next door, our mother phones us once a month, we’re too busy at work to create lasting bonds there. So we’re even more dependent on our spouses than ever before.” But, in a distressed relationship where that bond of connection has frayed and in its place is a negative pattern, couples split. “The amazingly sad thing,” says Johnson, speaking of the typical pattern in couples, “is they love each other.”
With over 20 years of research, and my own experience using this form of therapy, EFT has shown that it can help couples strengthen their connection and stop destructive patterns. As an EFT therapist, my goal is to create an environment in which both spouses feel safe talking about their feelings, needs and fears. Most couples are surprised to hear that the feelings behind apparently hostile behavior are not rejection but a need to connect with their partner. Don’t let your relationship go...let EFT bring healing to you and your spouse.