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Emotionally Focused Therapy: A Guide for Couples


Are you and your partner in a struggling relationship? Working with a therapist with training in Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) may be a great fit for you. EFT was developed by renowned therapist Dr. Susan Johnson and focuses on helping couples identify and break free from negative patterns of interaction. This guide will provide an overview of what EFT is, why it works, and how it can help rebuild trust and intimacy.


What Is Emotionally Focused Therapy?

Emotionally focused therapy is an evidence-based approach to couples counseling developed by Dr. Susan Johnson. It is based on the idea that relationships are composed of emotional interactions between two people. By understanding how these emotions are expressed and experienced, couples can begin to heal their relationship by shifting out of negative patterns of behavior into healthier ones. The goal of EFT is to help partners recognize their own needs and those of their partner, while also learning techniques for responding to situations more effectively.


Why Does EFT Work for Couples?

Oftentimes, in a relationship, one partner is more of a "withdrawer" while the other is a "pursuer." When a withdrawer feels overwhelmed and helpless in the face of conflict with their partner, they will withdraw from discussions or even retreat from the relationship altogether. The pursuer will feel frustrated when their partner withdraws, which leads them to pursue relentlessly – pushing for conversations that never seem to move forward or resolve any issues at hand. These behaviors lead to a feeling of disconnection between partners which can be difficult to repair without outside help. However, through EFT, both parties can learn how to express themselves more effectively and create a safe space where they both feel heard and understood – no matter how long they have been stuck in this pattern of behavior.


How Can EFT Help Rebuild Trust & Intimacy?

Through emotionally focused therapy, withdrawer/pursuer couples can learn new ways of expressing themselves that allow them both to feel seen and understood by one another again – something essential for rebuilding trust in a relationship. In addition, they can explore underlying issues causing distress in their relationship as well as develop better communication skills so each person feels respected even when disagreeing with one another. As these changes take place, partners can also start rebuilding intimacy by learning how to nurture each other’s feelings rather than hurt them.


If you are struggling in your relationship then Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) might be just what you need! Sarah Miller, at Sarah Miller Counseling, has advanced training in EFT and may be able to help you and your partner on your journey towards a deeper and more meaningful connection. If you have been feeling stuck due to chronic conflict between you and your partner then reach out and schedule an appointment today!

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