... poor communication is a symptom of partners who are stuck in ways of relating to one another. And, communication will likely improve when underlying problems in the relationship are addressed. Consider:
- How secure is the bond between you and your partner?
- What are the obstacles to feeling safe and secure in your relationship?
- And, what cycles of behavior do you play out over and over again that undermine not only your relationship but also your physical and emotional wellbeing?
These are all key questions to keep in mind when evaluating the health of your relationship.
Playing The Blame Game
Many of us know how to play the "blame game" with our partner or someone we are dating. We may also get critical of them, put them down, get defensive, shut down or run away. It may even feel normal to interact this way, especially if that is what we learned about relationships growing up. Rather than fall into these traps that undermine your relationship, a more useful question to ask yourself is "How am I contributing to the way things are going in my relationship?"
Yes, this may be harder to do but answering this question can ultimately help improve your relationship or help you decide if it is the right one for you. Your contribution to interactions may be from your "schemas", meaning patterns of behavior that you continue to play out in your life over and over again; and the "schema chemistry" that is triggered by conflicts or interactions in your relationship. No wonder it is easy to get off track … even if we love the person we are with.
What Is Emotionally Focused Therapy Couples (EFT)
The message of EFT is simple: Forget about learning how to argue better, analyzing your early childhood, making grand romantic gestures, or experimenting with new sexual positions. Instead, recognize and admit that you are emotionally attached to and dependent on your partner in much the same way that a child is on a parent for nurturing, soothing, and protection. EFT focuses on creating and strengthening this emotional bond by identifying and transforming the key moments that foster an adult loving relationship.
Emotionally Focused Therapy for couples (EFT) is a short term, empirically validated approach that was developed by Dr. Sue Johnson to reduce distress in relationships and create a more secure bond between partners. EFT's primary focus is on what’s going on between you and your partner right now.
Empirical research has supported the effectiveness of EFT, showing that 70-75% of couples move from distress to recovery and about 90% show significant improvements (the best results of any couple therapy) and evidence shows that these positive effects last over time. Currently EFT is being used with diverse couples from various cultures around the world in private practice, university training centers and hospital clinics.
How Is The Therapy Process Structured For Couples?
After an initial assessment, the approach is generally short term (8-20 sessions). The therapy process is structured as follows:
- Initial conjoint assessment session.
- Next, each partner has an individual assessment session.
- One follow-up feedback / assessment session.
- Conjoint intervention sessions are generally between 8 and 20 sessions.
With your active participation in the therapy process, I will collaborate with you to work on goals we have outlined towards redefining your relationship. Changes in your relationship can happen when you both experience each other differently and interact in new ways.
By investing in your relationship, you can learn how to honor and respect differences in each other and break the cycle of behaviors you continue to play out. This can ultimately help reinvigorate passion and commitment for each other.
Please note: If you are involved in a relationship that is physically abusive, the following organizations will more appropriate for counseling and resources:
- LIFENET (in NYC)- 800-LIFENET or www.mhaofnyc.org.
- Safe Horizons (in NYC)- 800-621-HOPE (4673).
- NYS Domestic Violence Hotline- 800-942-6906.
- National Domestic Violence Hotline- 800-799-7233.