Emotionally Focused Therapy

Couple arguing EFT

There are many well-researched models of couples therapy, and there seems to be some snobbery that each model is the only one clients or therapists need. The reality is different clients respond differently to different modes of therapy. While drastically simplified, Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) is about understanding if you fit into familiar patterns of unhealthy relating. Once a pattern is discovered, we can begin to de-escalate your negative cycle.

We also don’t believe any model is necessarily best or should be used alone. There are specific tested techniques from various models such as the Gottman Method, Integrated Family Systems, Discernment Counseling, Sex Therapy, and the Developmental Model (many seem to “borrow” from the others anyway).

Emotionally Focused Therapy can help to get to the heart (pun intended) of relationship issues. However, it requires a degree of vulnerability, and the process can work slowly if it takes time to get comfortable. You’ll learn and practice empathy (or enhance your skills), and it’s crucial to try and replace defensiveness or trying to win, with trying to understand. You will also learn somewhat “hidden” primary emotions that appear at first glance as secondary emotions. For example, anger is easy to identify, but the specific emotions causing the anger can be more challenging to understand.

People who don’t have much access to their emotions or think being emotional is a sign of weakness can opt for something like the Gottman Method. At the same time, career special forces members can still learn to unlock what they have been holding, in a healthy manner (doing this is way easier than special forces training).