Human beings are social creatures with emotional needs that must be met. That helps us feel safe and secure in our relationships. It is normal to feel the need to be heard, understood, cared for, valued, and accepted by the people closest to us. Initially, this need can start in early childhood, from relationships developed in the family. We carry these attachment wounds into adult relationships when emotional needs are unmet. This can further translate into romantic and intimate associations and continue to mark our lives.
As a result, people switch into self-preservation mode and rely on the coping mechanisms they developed as children to "survive" or cope. This is why they are motivated to replicate harmful patterns as adults in romantic relationships from their formative years. EFT aims to assist in changing these patterns and substituting them with more beneficial ones.
However, stepping out of your comfort zone and communicating issues within your relationship with someone else can be challenging. But, it is also important to remember that a good provider will only facilitate discussions. And now, with the provision of online consultations, you can easily book appointments from the safety and comfort of your home. This allows you greater empowerment and convenience, as you can access quality mental healthcare.
Developed by Dr. Sue Johnson, Emotionally Focused Therapy attempts to understand couples' conflicts. Research shows that these conflicts usually arise out of fairly predictable patterns of interaction. These unhelpful patterns can lead to distance in relationships. For example, the behavior may involve you needing to yell at your partner because they repeatedly leave the dishes unwashed. While this behavior may seem relatively trivial, it can indicate an unmet emotional need.
This is where Emotionally Focused Therapy comes in. It is an attachment-based intervention based on the scientific study of adult intimate relationships. It recognizes and conceptualizes the rigid and negative patterns of interaction that can lead to conflict between couples. Rather than focusing on tangible achievements that couples can walk away with, EFT focuses on unfulfilled emotional needs. And while this can be frustrating for those involved, it can produce long-term results.
An EFT therapist not only talks about behaviors and actions but emphasizes what can be causing such behaviors. They analyze the root cause of, for instance, yelling or withdrawing in relationships and what exactly leads to distance. To help those in treatment increase security, closeness, and connection in intimate relationships, therapists who provide emotionally focused therapy typically work with couples and families to help create secure, enduring bonds between intimate partners and family members. They also help reinforce any preexisting positive bonds.
This treatment approach benefits couples, families, and friends. These include:
Serves multiple purposes: EFT can help people who suffer emotional distress in their relationships. This applies to associations with their partners, friends, or family members.
Better emotional functioning: This treatment focuses on key actions and events that characterize an adult love relationship and gives a language for healthy partner dependency. The primary objective is to expand and restructure the emotional reactions of couples. This can also be applied to other relationships.
Stronger bonds: EFT is founded on attachment theory. It suggests that interpersonal relationships frequently serve as a safe haven—a place to escape the outside world and find solace, security, and a stress-reduction mechanism.
Increased awareness of interpersonal needs: This therapy aids individuals in better understanding their partners' needs. Because of this awareness, people can listen and talk about issues from a place of empathy rather than from a position of hostility or defense. It can also lead to better bonds among friends and family.
Enhanced interpersonal skills: This treatment approach helps you express emotions in a way that you connect, rather than disconnect, with your partner, friends, and family members. You'll learn new skills for paying attention to and listening to the feelings of others, as well as find more effective methods for handling emotional situations.
The techniques used in EFT can be mapped in nine steps across three stages. The strategies used throughout the three stages can guide the therapist and track progress.
Couples with difficulty communicating effectively and dealing with conflict can benefit from this treatment approach. While EFT is frequently used in couples therapy to treat conditions causing conflict, it also works well in individual and family therapy. Some conditions that this therapy can address to help couples include:
Additionally, as family therapy, this treatment approach has proven beneficial in increasing attachment and a sense of belonging among family members. It can resolve conflicts within the family, increase acceptance and compassion toward the emotions of others, and ease the flow of communication. This can make it easier to express personal needs and desires healthily and positively.
Emotionally focused therapy can be difficult since it involves examining the unfavorable feelings and recurring patterns that lead to relationship disputes. Emotions that are unpleasant or intense may arise during the therapeutic process itself. So, it is crucial to be patient and not get overwhelmed. Additionally, each person must take part in the process. The treatment might be less effective if one person is less willing to participate.
So, finding a therapist to ensure the best treatment outcome is crucial. A good and trusted provider is sympathetic and assists couples in realizing that their feelings are valid. They assist individuals and couples in identifying patterns and behaviors that they might not even be aware of and understand how these acts contribute to conflict in a relationship. And at DocVita, we can connect you with a specialist who will check all these boxes. All you need to do is visit our website and book your first session today!