If your marriage is in distress, consider Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) for couples. EFT helps couples reboot their communication patterns with their spouse by becoming more aware of their emotions and how they interact as a couple. They learn to express themselves in a language their partner can understand, to pay heightened attention to both partners’ feelings, and to create new, positive patterns with which to connect on a deeper level.
In short, when one or both have experienced problems with abusiveness, infidelity, depression or other illnesses, EFT helps couples overcome these barriers to a healthy relationship. Then they can truly bond.
Some of the steps of EFT are:
- Identifying the problem. Before you can fix anything you have to know what it is that needs fixing. It’s not enough to complain that your marriage is in trouble. You need to examine why you have negative interactions with your spouse. Think about the root causes and the reasons behind your marital difficulty.
- Developing empathy. To really understand how your partner feels, you need more than sympathy, you need empathy. That is, you can put yourself in your partner’s shoes and feel what it’s like to walk around in them. You can see how he feels, understand how he reacts, and ultimately reconnect with his emotions.
- Acknowledging emotions. Once you acknowledge your partner’s feelings that you haven’t understood before, you have an aha! moment. You have a fresh insight that you’ve never had before. You can now reframe issues based on your new understanding and restructure your emotional response.
- Understanding your own needs. When you once were looking out for yourself in your relationship, you now operate more as a team. You have made an effort to understand your spouse, and now you need to acknowledge your own needs within the framework of your relationship.
- Supporting your spouse. When your own needs are acknowledged, you can better accept and promote your spouse’s needs. Your positive experience means you accept and support your partner. You will feel less threatened in your relationship, and that’s when you can begin to relax and feel your partnership is a safe-haven.
- Relearning to communicate. Now that your relationship has been rebooted, you will have to relearn how to act and react to your spouses’ needs as well as relearn how to express your own needs. The key is to develop new, healthy patterns, and break the destructive patterns of the past.
- Problem-solving a new way. Therapists can help couples learn new ways to address issues, solve problems and express their anger in a nonthreatening way. They can teach you how to identify issues and find solutions while communicating openly and honestly with your partner. You’ll learn how to change the old, ineffective way of dealing with problems and learn to develop new patterns of positive interaction.
The key to EFT is to understand and empathize with your partner. Once you do, you can find new, positive ways to express your understanding of your partner’s needs and your own needs. Then you can begin to heal your relationship.
Nancy Travers is an Orange County Counseling professional. If you need safe, effective counseling services, please get in touch. You can reach her here: https://www.nancyscounselingcorner.com/contact