“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched — they must be felt with the heart.”
Our work centers on the Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy (EFT) model, where couples are supported and guided to identify and change their negative relational cycles in the present, to speak from an increasingly authentic place, and to shift the experience of relationship from old repetitive patterns and stuck places to a deeper level of intimacy, trust, and connection.
One of the things we love the most about this approach to couple and relationship therapy is how deeply honoring it is of the experiences and needs of both (or all) partners, and how affirming it is about everyone’s basic and profound need to connect, to love, and to feel loved — to experience the secure attachment we all need through our whole lives. The change we aim for is not a superficial one, but one that transforms the relationship.
Issues Addressed in Couple Therapy Include:
- Deepening connection
- Enhancing emotional and physical intimacy
- Restoring trust
- Healing from infidelity and affairs
- Addressing communication problems
- Deepening dialogue about family, cultural, racial, or religious differences and experiences
- Parenting conflicts
- Moving through life transitions together
- Navigating health challenges together
- Working through conflict
- Respectfully navigating differing needs
- Exploration of relationship models, including monogamy and ethical nonmonogamy
- Premarital and marriage therapy
What to Expect from Couples Therapy (EFT)
Typically, we meet with the partners together for 1-2 sessions to discuss what challenges you are facing, how you may have tried to resolve them, and what you hope to create in your connection through relationship therapy. Then we have an individual meeting with each partner to explore your family, relationship, and attachment history, since we all bring the lessons we have learned in earlier relationships to our current relationship. We want to begin to get a picture of what happens for you in your relationship that is hard for you. We also discuss any specific distress you may be in based on your responses on our intake questionnaire. These individual meetings are not about the therapist holding secrets — that would not benefit your relationship. Occasionally someone does tell us information they have not shared, and if it is impactful to the relationship, we work with them to be able to share it with their partner.
After those individual sessions, your therapist will share their assessment of the problem, reflect your goals with some ideas about how to get there, and check to see if this assessment is a fit for you and your relationship.
Some of the things we know from our EFT model are:
- Attachment and safety in our primary relationships are crucial for all of us
- People often get locked ways of protecting our vulnerability (including our vulnerable emotions like hurt, sadness, and fear) by showing tougher emotions (often anger, frustration, irritation)
- One partner’s self-protection is often the other partner’s trigger, and when triggered we tend to react in self-protective ways — this negative cycle begins to reinforce itself and can become rigid over time
- An antidote to this negative cycle is to begin to identify what’s vulnerable underneath, and create enough safety for you to be able to share the vulnerable feelings and experiences with your intimate partner — this often breaks the cycle of reactivity, and your partner is drawn toward you rather than reacting in their own self-protective way
EFT is a highly researched couples therapy model with strong empirical support. We do find that when there are complicating factors, such as trauma, affairs, serious depression or anxiety, that therapy usually takes longer than the 8–20 sessions initially laid out in the research. We are happy to schedule check-ins about your progress and satisfaction with your care with us.