Adult attachment relationships are believed to have the same survival function as the mother-child bond, since ideally these attachments can provide the same love, comfort, support and protection throughout the lifespan. However, due to our relationships and attachment histories, and the negative interaction cycles we get into with our partners, many of us have difficulties with trust and expressing emotion to those who mean the most to us. When couples argue about such issues as jealousy, sex, money, or even who didn't load the dishwasher "the right way", the origins of these arguments are ususally some form of protest from one partner about not feeling connected, not trusting, or not feeling secure with the other partner. When those we are attached to are not available, or are not responding to our needs to feel close or supported, we feel distressed. We may become anxious or feaful, numb or distant; then we demonstrate these feelings in our behavior.
These behaviors can become habitual or rigid modes of reacting to our partners. Furthermore, these toxic behavior patterns seem to take on a life of their own as they cycle into repetitive interactions that cause much pain and injury. In EFT, we focus on these patterns and work on changing these negative interaction cycles in a non-judgmental environment.
In a relatively short time, couples begin to recognize and eventually express their needs for love, support, protection and comfort that are often hidden or disguised by the harsh or angry words used in their negative and self-defeating patterns of conflict with each other. Partners begin to "listen with the heart", one of the cornerstones of EFCT--which means listening not for the literal meaning of a partner's words, but for the feelings that lie beneath. In return, the other partner is better able to respond from their heart. This is the emotional focus of Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy.
Once the feeling of safety and connection are reestablished, you will be better able to manage conflict and painful feelings that will inevitably arise from time to time in a close relationship. Without so much defensiveness, each of you will be able to send clearer messages and will be better able to hear the other's perspective. You will be better able to collaborate, problem-solve and compromise--in short, you'll be more of a team.
Couples can expect to meet together for the first session, followed by an individual session with each partner to gather individual history, and the remaining sessions as a couple.