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How Does Emotionally Focused Therapy Help Relationships?

Relationship dynamics are fueled by the intricacies of our emotions. They lead us through the challenges, the love, and building the foundation of a partnership. Yet sometimes, these emotions can become tangled, leaving us feeling disconnected, misunderstood, and alone.

In these moments of emotional distress, emotionally focused therapy (EFT) can help partners rediscover their love and offer a path toward healing.

What Is Emotionally Focused Therapy?

EFT is a therapeutic practice based on attachment therapy, which suggests that humans have an innate need to form strong emotional bonds with others. Attachment begins during childhood and is a direct correlation to how we form bonds with our caregivers.

Emotionally focused Ttherapy aims to help couples identify and restructure the negative patterns of communication that lead to disconnect, and replace them with more secure attachment bonds.

How Does Emotionally Focused Therapy Work?

Let’s discuss in a bit more detail how specifically EFT can help relationships.

1. Identifying Negative Patterns

Emotionally focused therapy begins by helping couples identify the negative cycles they get caught in. These cycles can manifest as repetitive arguments or avoidant behaviors that can disrupt trust and intimacy.

By reflecting on these patterns, couples can begin to recognize them for what they are: defense mechanisms of self-protection due to unmet emotional needs. Understanding these cycles is the first step to EFT as well as the beginning of the healing process.

2. Understanding Emotions

A core component of emotionally focused therapy is the idea that emotions are the language of attachment. Each emotion serves as a signal to our brains, communicating our needs, fears, and desires of our partner.

Through EFT, couples learn to identify and express their emotions in a way that fosters understanding and empathy. Instead of reacting defensively to their partner’s emotions, they learn to respond with compassion, love, and support.

3. Creating Security

EFT aims to create a secure emotional bond between partners, similar to the bonds between parents and children. In secure attachment, partners feel safe to explore vulnerabilities and rely on each other for comfort and support.

By engaging in EFT, couples will learn to be responsive to each other’s needs, providing a sense of security that forms the foundation of a healthy relationship. Reflection is a natural part of creating security, however, it may bring up unpleasant emotions from childhood or past experiences.

4. Encouraging Forgiveness and Healing

It is unrealistic to think that there are relationships out there without conflicts. Arguments can hurt, especially if they feel repetitive. EFT provides couples with the tools to navigate these challenges effectively.

By encouraging open communication and empathy, couples can repair old wounds and forgive each other for their mistakes. Through this process, trust is rebuilt, emotional damage starts to heal, and the relationship grows stronger.

5. Embracing Change

EFT operates on the belief that relationships have the capacity to grow and change. Throughout the therapeutic process, couples learn to adapt and evolve together. They will find ways to break free from old, harmful patterns and discover new paths of secure connection.

As couples experience the changes of EFT, they often find themselves more deeply in love and committed to each other than ever before.

Emotionally focused therapy offers couples a roadmap to navigate the complexities of relationships and connection. By fully understanding your personal emotions and the emotions of your partner, couples can form deeper bonds and heal from past issues.

EFT teaches couples that in order to find true fulfillment in their relationship, they must learn to share the experience of connection and belonging. If you and your partner feel that emotionally focused therapy may benefit you, reach out and schedule a session with a mental health professional today!