Men and Emotionally Focused Therapy


Men are often raised not to show their emotions. Men are often taught not to try to understand their emotions. Perhaps for some, it is partly biological and a result of evolution. The irony is that understanding what deep and core emotions mean can make processing them must more pleasant. Some people easily recognize an emotion like “anger,” but a much harder time recognizing a core emotion causing the anger, such as “jealousy.” Cardinal Point Counseling practices elements of Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) or Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy (EFCT). Unlike the Gottman Method, which has a series of evidence-based interventions, EFCT is more of a way of thinking. It is more of a way of relating that enhances using the Gottman Method of Couple Therapy. The phrase “Emotionally focused therapy” can make many men uneasy (and some women too, I’m sure). Still, it is about making experiencing emotions more pleasant to have less severe fights and more intimacy. Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) does not require you to be more emotional or make you more emotional. What EFT can do is to help you identify your more automatic primary emotion. When acting on a primary emotion, vulnerability is usually expressed. For example, if you are upset your partner came home late because you were lonely, expressing that loneliness comes across much better than going with a secondary emotion of getting angry at them without them really understanding why.

Emotion is not the opposite of reason. Instead, emotion provides information that reason can use.

Bradley & Furrow

How EFT Helps You

Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy helps you understand your and your partner’s deep needs. For example, you may realize that when your partner is upset that they think you work too much, it is only because they miss you and not because they intend to attack your character. In addition, you may realize that keeping emotions to yourself to avoid fights can cause a partner to assume you are only thinking the worst and make for even bigger fights.

Men often walk into the first session and aren’t comfortable talking about their feelings and are not looking forward to doing so. The great thing about EFT and EFCT is that it makes talking about your feelings more pleasant. Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy has been shown to have the lowest relapse rate after ending therapy of any couple counseling therapy. When coupled with the Gottman Method and other techniques, EFT can be an enjoyable form of treatment. EFT can be rewarding even for those who prefer not to talk about feelings.