Partners Emotional Responsiveness

The foundation of Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) for couples is helping both partners emotionally respond to each other. This emotional responsiveness can be described by the acronym: A.R.E. (Accessibility, Responsiveness, & Engagement).

Accessibility: Can I Reach You?

Accessibility means staying open to hearing, seeing, and accepting what your partner is attempting to communicate even in moments of stress and insecurity. EFT therapists help both partners open up to the other’s and their own emotions, get comfortable with these emotions, and share those emotions with the other. This helps both partner avoid becoming overwhelmed or flooded. Then partners can tune into their lover’s attachment needs and stay connected.

Responsiveness: Can I Count On You to Respond to Me Emotionally?

Responsiveness requires partners to tune into the other partner’s emotions and showing how his/her emotions affect or impact. When one partner experiences fear or doubt, the other partner shows how an immediate response of comfort and care for what the partner needs in that moment.

This doesn’t mean providing “solutions” to his/her problems but rather to be emotionally present and sending clear signals that communicates “I get it, I am here for you, and I want to help!”

Engagement: I Value You & Will Be Here For You

Susan Johnson writes, “The dictionary defines engaged as being absorbed, attracted, pulled, captivated, pledged, involved.” Engagement means giving the kind of attention that pushes everything else aside because you matter so much to me.

You are the most important and value aspect of my life. We provide a touch that only belongs to him/her and we are emotionally present with their experience and needs.

Are You There For me?

One way to remember this acronym is the question, “Are you There for Me?” Healthy couples place great importance and priority on answering that questions to their partners as an emphatic “Yes! You are so important to me and Yes! I will be there for you!”

This reply provides security and safety to the other partner. When I need you, you will be there for me. This is often my goal as a relationship therapist in Round Rock. I want my couples to establish security that they will be there for one another.