Nurturing a Stronger Emotional Connection in your Relationship with Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT)
Many of us have an inherent desire for emotional connection and a feeling of understanding with our spouses or significant others. However, in many romantic relationships, we may feel that these desires are not sufficiently being met. If you are seeking a closer bond, a greater sense of security, and more understanding in your relationship, know that you are not alone.
Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) is a well established approach to relationship counseling developed by researcher Dr. Sue Johnson. In EFT, the focus is on attachment and emotions in order to support individuals and couples towards healing and growth. By building stronger emotional foundations, healing and growth can be seen in the individual partners, as well as in the relationship.
EFT does not place blame on either partner, or label anyone as the “problem.” Instead, EFT helps couples examine harmful patterns in their dynamics and communication, understand why they are stuck, and facilitates ways to break negative cycles.
EFT can strengthen your relationship through:
1. Understanding and Reducing Conflict (Assessment & De-escalation): The therapist will support you through recognizing the negative patterns that cause conflict in your relationship. They will provide strategies to reduce tension and create a calmer environment.
2. Improving Communication (Restructuring Interactions): The therapist will facilitate constructive and collaborative conversations which enhance the couples’ bond. You will learn new ways to communicate, connect emotionally, and foster a healthier relationship.
3. Building a Solid Foundation (Consolidation): You and your partner will integrate the new changes you’ve made, replacing old patterns, and establishing a healthier narrative for the relationship.
EFT recognizes that emotions are crucial in relationships. Your therapist will explore your and your partner’s attachment styles, and how they may affect how you and your partner manage and communicate your emotions. By promoting understanding and validation, EFT guides you through healing past hurts and creates a safe space for emotional connection to grow.
The Benefits of EFT for Couples and Relationships:
● Increased Self-Awareness: EFT can help you become more aware of your own emotions and needs, as well as those of your partner. This can lead to a deeper understanding of yourself and of each other.
● Strengthened Emotional Connection: Through EFT, you and your partner can rebuild a secure and safe connection. As a result, one’s ability to cope with general daily stress (as well as any more severe anxiety or depression) may be greatly improved.
● Improved Communication: EFT helps couples develop new ways of communicating and understanding each other, even in the midst of conflict. Partners learn new ways of expressing one’s needs and feelings, while also being better able to hear and understand their partners’ perspective.
One way EFT helps is by providing specific language to help couples understand and describe some of the challenging patterns they may be experiencing. One example of this is the “Withdrawer/Pursuer” dynamic. This occurs when one partner becomes anxious and seeks closeness during conflicts, while the other partner may naturally tend to protect oneself by pulling away and seeking distance. EFT helps both partners understand that this pattern is mutually created and maintained, rather than the fault of either partner. This results in better understanding and allows for more collaborative communication.
EFT is a very helpful approach to relationship counseling that helps strengthen emotional connection and stability between partners. It helps you overcome conflicts and experience a deeper understanding of each other, build a deeper emotional bond, and strengthen attachment in your relationship. With EFT, you will gain insights into your attachment styles, learn new ways to communicate, and foster a stronger sense of security. Your EFT therapist will guide you in creating a relationship where both partners feel seen, understood, and connected.
If this resonates with you and your relationship, and you would like support, please contact us to see how we can assist you.
Kiana Sadrosadat is an Associate Marriage & Family Therapist trained through ICEEFT, a worldwide network that promotes Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) models, which she uses in working with couples and families to promote emotional bonding and secure attachments in their relationships.