Couple distress due to unresolved marital conflict is the single most common reason for seeking therapy. It undermines family
functioning and is strongly associated with depression, anxiety disorders, and alcoholism.
You may think your marital problems are the result of busy schedules, a lack of time together, or your inability to communicate effectively or resolve conflict easily. While those issues can create difficulty in your relationship, those issues are really just symptoms of a much deeper problem... the problem of disconnection. Couples are not disconnected because they have poor communication; they have poor communication because they are disconnected. Disconnection with the one you love and are committed to leaves you feeling frustrated, helpless, and alone. The solution to this very real problem is in knowing how to reconnect. Understanding the secret of reconnection is the focus of EFT.
Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) focuses on the emotional connection, i.e. the emotional safety and security between you and your spouse. This means that the focus is on the key interactions between you and your spouse, not on who is at fault. Therapy is directed at reducing the dysfunction within the relationship and bringing balance to what happens between you. In EFT, failed attempts of relating rather than personality or character flaws are the focus of therapy sessions.
Often, men are afraid that they will be blamed if they come to therapy. This is not the case! Instead, couples are viewed as stuck in negative, self-reinforcing patterns of communication and relating. These negative patterns of relating are driven by powerful emotional needs that both partners have and yet neither is aware of; but if these needs are not met, negative interactions may be used to get those needs met. Over time, these negative interactions result in an endless cycle of conflict that disconnects.
Research on EFT shows that 90% of couples who participate in EFT significantly improve their relationship. In addition, 70-75% of those couples experienced complete relationship recovery. No other couple intervention has achieved these levels of results and EFT has been shown to work in a wide variety of relationships. EFT has proven to be successful in helping couples heal their relationship regardless of their ages, the length of the marriage, or the difficulty of their issues. In addition to decreasing relationship distress, EFT has also been effective in helping couples and families suffering with issues like depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder and chronic illness.
Feel free to take this short quiz to see how connected you and your spouse are. Be COMPLETELY honest.
1. I can get my spouse’s attention easily. True False
2. My spouse shows me that I come first. True False
3. If I feel lonely or shut out in this relationship, I can tell my spouse. True False
4. If I need connection and comfort, he/she will be there for me. True False
5. My spouse will comfort me when I am anxious or unsure. True False
6. After a fight or disagreement, we try to find a way to come together. True False
7. I feel I can completely trust my spouse. True False
8. I can confide in my spouse about almost anything. True False
9. I feel confident, even when we are apart, that we are connected to each other. True False
10. I feel that I am able to share when I have been hurt by my spouse. True False
11. If I tell my spouse that my feelings are hurt, he/she will listen and try to comfort me. True False
12. My spouse and I are able to tell each other about our fears and failures. True False
If you said true for ten or more of the questions, then you and your spouse probably have a good connection. If you said true for less than ten of the questions, then you and your spouse could benefit from marriage counseling. If you said true for seven or less of the questions, then you and your spouse should not wait any longer to get into marriage counseling.
Bernis Riley, Psy. D., LPC-S, is certified in Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT), a therapy proven to reduce relationship distress.
If your marriage is struggling or if you feel that you and your spouse have lost connection, please contact us to arrange an appointment.
We also offer couples intensive counseling weekends. If you are interested, contact us today.