All marriages have conflict from time to time. Sometimes the conflicts can turn a relationship into negative cycles that are difficult to break. Without warning, you and your partner are in conflict again and becomes a argument. It seems to come out of nowhere, you notice the typical pattern. Your partner’s voice gets louder and you can feel yourself getting overwhelmed. You start to retreat. Your partner starts to yell. You’re off to the races…
Couples stuck in cycles like this often tell me, “We just need to communicate better. We’d like some tools on how to do that.” Yet research shows that communication tools are not what they need. Outside of arguments, couples communicate just fine. They likely communicate well at their job, in their friendships, and they communicate well with one another when they’re not caught in an argument. Communication just isn’t a primary issue. We can all use some fine tuning, but the truth is, communication isn’t the true cause to your arguments.
Breakdown In Communication
In struggling relationships, the breakdown of communication is rooted in a deeper pattern of disconnection. A disconnection that blocks our core emotional needs from being known. The struggle is to understand what these emotional needs are, let alone struggling to know how to communicate them. It’s an scary vulnerable place to open the heart first to ourselves and then to our partners. Then to add to our fear is the messages throughout life saying it’s weak to need someone and to emotionally depend on others. We fear we’ll only be let down, dismissed, and rejected.
Rather than learn cognitive-behavioral skills of how to talk or listen, what distressed couples need most is a guide into their own heart and the heart of their partner. This is why emotionally focused therapy is so powerfully effective in transforming relationships into secure havens for true lasting emotional connection.
Safe Haven Relationships
I have received training in Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy (EFT) with a goal to help couples grow closer by helping them understand their fight cycle—the emotions and wounds that keep them stuck and disconnected. I will help you and your partner make sense of the way you argue, unravel and foster a new way of relating, heal hurts and create a safe haven.
It’s not about learning ways to “fight fair.” It’s not about active listening or “I” statements.
It’s about learning to open the heart to reveal our deepest needs and longings.
My goal for couples includes helping each partner become more aware of the emotions driving the negative cycle and to de-escalate the cycle so both feel safe to better communicate their needs. My couples counseling is never about identifying one partner or spouse as “the problem” or “broken.” Instead, the negative cycle of conflict is the problem to be addressed and changed.
Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy
The objective of my marriage counseling program is for both partners to learn to better manage their emotions and develop more loving interactions. More important is for both to learn how to speak in kinder and more vulnerable ways. As a result couples learn to create stronger emotional attachments. Then they are in a much better place to solve old problems and face future challenges in a mutually supportive way.
Never Too Late For Saving Marriages
No matter how bad your marriage and relationship may seem, we are convinced that with work and direction, you can save it. Even a marriage that is about to hit bottom can be revived with the right guidance. Frustratingly, we find that many couples have received unhelpful or ineffective marriage counseling. Well-meaning therapists provide advice about negotiating conflict and encourage the focus to be on improving their communication.
I won’t just have the goal of simply teaching better communications or conflict resolution. Rather than how you should handle your disagreements, I will teach you how to engage with each other when you’re not fighting. Learning how to meet each other’s needs and develop positive regard for the other, sets up for how you both will face conflict.
What Is Emotionally Focused Therapy
Sue Johnson: “Basically what Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) focuses on is the emotional bond between the two of you, because there is lots of research that says that if partners know how to reach for each other and pull each other close, and hold each other—if partners love each other, my assumption is they can also scare the hell out of each other.
So what we are interested in, in this therapy, is helping partners learn how to trust each other more, be more open to each other, knowing how to reach for each other when they need each other—create that safety between them. And that’s the focus of EFT.
Other approaches might focus more on teaching a set of communication skills or how to negotiate. We don’t do that, because our experience with couples is, if partners can help each other when one partner gets scared and anxious or when somebody has hurt feelings, if they can create safety and connection between the two of them, they can take care of all those other things.
So it focuses a lot on the emotional message they send each other. It focuses a lot on how they deal with their emotions. It focuses a lot on how they dance together. It’s really about the focus they take.”
Begin Marriage Counseling Today
The ultimate objective of my marriage counseling program is for both partners to learn to better manage their emotions and develop more loving interactions. More important is for both to learn how to speak in kinder and more vulnerable ways. As a result couples learn to create stronger emotional attachments. Then they are in a much better place to solve old problems and face future challenges in a mutually supportive way.
Call me today to setup an initial marriage counseling session. I can hear first hand the struggles you and your spouse are experiencing and then provide a road map of couples therapy to turn your relationship into the happier and more connection direction.