Love demands the reassurance of touch. Most fights are really protests over emotional disconnection. Underneath the distress, partners are desperate to know: Are you there for me? – Dr. Sue Johnson
Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy (EFT) is the most highly researched, effective form of couples therapy that exists. It is a short-term approach for treating relationship problems. An impressive 90% of couples show significant improvement and 3 out of 4 couples move from distress to complete recovery.
EFT is not open-ended. The structured nature of EFT helps ensure that clients move along on a path to healing and recovery.EFT has been validated by over 20 years of empirical research. Research has shown EFT to be as effective a treatment for Major Depressive Disorder as Pharmacotherapy and it has been found to have a powerful effect on trauma survivors. As the relationship improves, it becomes a secure base for trauma victims to heal.
EFT is being used with many different kinds of couples and individuals in private practice, university training centers, hospital clinics, and with many different cultures around the world.
EFT’s effectiveness stems from its emphasis on the core issues of repairing trust and developing safety in the relationship. The ultimate goal of EFT is to establish the relationship as a “safe haven” where you feel valued by your partner and can turn to each other for emotional support and comfort.
Many approaches to couples’ therapy have traditionally focused on teaching problem-solving and conflict resolution skills and have ignored the central role trust and emotion play as the basis for sustaining a loving relationship. Strong emotions have been viewed as a hindrance toward rational thinking and decision making.
When partners are encouraged to bypass strong emotions, it increases tension in the relationship, undermines trust and the ability to reach for each other in an authentic way. It is only when the relationship becomes a secure base that couples then naturally develop the ability to tackle tough life decisions and reach compromises around such issues as finances and child rearing.
In Emotionally Focused Therapy for Couples, new cycles of bonding interactions occur and replace repetitive, self-defeating patterns of relating which cause distance in the relationship. In the safety and acceptance of the therapeutic environment, couples are helped to restructure these negative patterns of interacting or the “destructive cycle” as they begin to trust more and risk reaching for each other from a more vulnerable space.
For example, a wife may feel neglected in the relationship and become angry and critical. This expands into fear and sadness. She can now ask for and elicit comfort from her partner. She moves from blaming her spouse to becoming aware of the more vulnerable emotions underneath her criticism. She moves from “You just don’t care. You just don’t get it” to “It is difficult to say- but I need you to hold me- reassure me -can you?”
A husband’s numb withdrawal and apparent indifference expands into a sense of rejection, and fear of not being “good enough” and he is able to seek reassurance that he is valued and important in the relationship.
Couples begin to recognize and learn to break, on their own, the destructive cycle in their “relationship dance”. Instead of pushing each other away, even though each is desperately yearning for closeness from their partner, couples learn to send clear messages to each other.
Through carefully crafted enactments in therapy sessions, I support each partner in having more access to the softer, more vulnerable feelings they have underlying the anger and apparent indifference that is on the surface. Partners begin to express these emotions to each other in ways which cause less defensiveness and more openness in the relationship. This creates a more positive cycle in which there is a greater sense of connection. The ultimate goal is to restore trust and ongoing closeness long after the treatment ends.
Contact Dr. Horwitz or call today: (267) 251-8575