Maintaining a healthy primary relationship is the best way to promote personal happiness and well-being. As humans, we are social beings who rely on each other for belonging, attention, affection, comfort, love, and sexual expression. People with security in their primary relationship are more effective in working in the world with confidence and resilience. Taking the time to nurture, heal, or tune-up your primary relationship is well worth your investment.
I use Emotionally Focused Therapy as the primary modality in my work with couples and families. Emotionally Focused Therapy focuses on strengthening the attachment between partners. Together, we begin to identify the relational patterns common to your relationship. Often, there is a primary reactive pattern where one person’s bid for connection, perhaps delivered in a sub-optimal way, is met by a tendency to withdraw by the other partner, perhaps in an effort to avoid conflict or perceived blame. When explored carefully, we often find more tender emotions underneath these old patterns. At root, we each want connection and love. Sometimes, habits or beliefs developed during our upbringing or in prior relationships are hindering clear communication and shared affection. As partners understand better both their partner and their relational dynamics, they begin to open up more to authentic connection which includes moments of vulnerability and emotional intimacy. Building on new experiences of authentic connection, old patterns dissipate and new ways of relating are strengthened. Commonly, sexual difficulties experienced earlier fall to the wayside, and couples experience greater fulfillment in many aspects of their relationship.
Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy is the gold standard of couples therapy. EFT is evidence-based and consistently shows an unusually high rate of positive change in couples (about 70%), with strong effect sizes that have been shown to last. EFT has even been shown to impact neuruology: EFT changes the way contact with a partner mediates the effect of threat on the brain. Increased attachment truly does lead to a happier and more resilient brain as well as a more fulfilling and joyful relationship.
Many couples come to therapy because there have been recent relationship injuries such as affairs, sexual difficulties, or thoughts of breaking up. With goodwill from both partners, these difficulties can be overcome, and the relationship can often be re-consolidated from the ground up. The process of attachment repair may take some time. Couples typically experience significant relief in 12 sessions, but deeper issues may require longer treatment. Come check it out for yourselves, and develop further the art of relationship!