How Does Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) Work?

Maybe you and your partner have been arguing frequently. You’re frustrated by the state of your relationship. Or perhaps your whole family unit has been struggling to communicate and resolve conflicts. Now, the atmosphere in your household is tense and unpleasant. You don’t know how to improve your relationships.

Certain forms of therapy can be particularly useful when it comes to repairing relationships. This includes Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT), which helps people strengthen the emotional bonds within their relationships. Let’s explore who might benefit from this form of therapy, how EFT works, and how EFT can change your relationships for the better.

Who Can Benefit From EFT?

Couples primarily turn to EFT to improve their relationships. A romantic relationship should feel like a safe haven from the rest of the world. But often, these relationships become sources of stress instead, leaving both partners feeling like they don’t really have anyone to turn to when times are tough. However, EFT isn’t strictly a form of couples therapy. Sometimes, families turn to EFT therapists to improve their communication skills and become better at problem-solving together. Overall, the principles of EFT can be applied to most relationships.

De-Escalation

Learning how to de-escalate is one of the most important aspects of EFT. If you’re seeking EFT as a couple, you’ll begin by identifying the negative patterns that crop up repeatedly in your interactions. Next, you’ll note any uncomfortable emotions that tend to surface as a result of these interactions, especially in relation to attachment issues.

Your therapist will help you reframe your problems rather than simply blaming each other. You’ll begin to understand how each of your insecurities and fears is bringing your relationship down and how these behaviors can discourage you from truly connecting and engaging when you need to resolve conflicts.

Restructuring

Next, your therapist will help you shift to a position of sharing your emotions with vulnerability rather than looking for reasons to disconnect when you’re faced with conflict. You can’t deepen your emotional bond with each other unless you can both comfortably express your needs. When you can enter these conversations without devolving into arguments, you’ll be able to ask for help while giving your partner the compassion and support they need, too.

Consolidation

In the consolidation phase, your therapist will help you and your partner hone the new communication strategies that you’ve learned in counseling. Previously, you might have been operating from a framework of “pursuing” and “withdrawing” or “criticizing” and “defending” when it came to dealing with conflict. Now, your therapist will help you replace these modes of communication with an approach that emphasizes deep engagement and empathy.

Over time, your relationship can become an oasis. You will feel better about turning to your partner for support when life feels overwhelming. In other words, you’ll focus on integrating the different skills you’ve picked up in therapy so that you can build a brighter future.

What Can You Gain From EFT?

Overall, EFT can help you and your partner improve your emotional functioning. You’ll both learn how to regulate and express your emotions in a healthier way. This will empower you to ask for help when you need it. You’ll be better equipped to support your partner in their times of need and vice versa. Over time, you will build a stronger bond with your partner. You will be able to navigate tough times with grace and compassion for each other.

Are you struggling with strained relationships in your life? Working with an EFT therapist can help. Reach out to us to discuss your options for scheduling your first session for couples therapy.