Since Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) can help couples and families in need with attachment and bonding issues, it’s no wonder it’s becoming a popular choice to improve relationships.
EFT works by focusing on the present. A therapist working with you will encourage you to focus on your current feelings and dig deeper into feelings you might not even realize are below the surface.
There are three stages of emotionally focused therapy. Understanding what those stages are ahead of time can make it easier to get through the process since you know a bit more about what to expect.
Stage One: De-Escalating
This stage is also sometimes called the “stabilization” phase. It focuses on assessing the existing problems and de-escalating them to the point where you can move forward in the therapy.
By stabilizing the situation, a therapist identifies the underlying problems. It’s a jumping-off point and a point of reference to start from. Once you know the root of your existing problems, you can have a deeper awareness of how to work toward resolving those issues. So, you’re less likely to fall back into old patterns and the same cycles.
A comfortable, neutral, and stable environment is necessary for this stage. It allows people to feel safe and secure in opening up about their attachment needs.
Stage Two: Restructuring Interactions
Once you recognize your attachment needs (and those of your partner), it’s time to restructure the way you interact with each other. The therapist you’re working with will help you express your fears and vulnerabilities. They’ll also help you to communicate with your partner in a manner that doesn’t push them away.
Using the right language is essential. Unfortunately, it’s far too easy to use language that is in direct contrast to the attachment needs of your partner. Restructuring helps you get a handle on how you communicate so you can create new bonding events together.
It’s not always easy to change the language you use when communicating with your partner. Once you have a better understanding of harmful language, it can be highly motivating to make changes to heal the relationship and avoid hurting the person you love.
Stage Three: Consolidation
The final step in emotionally focused therapy is consolidation. It’s also sometimes called integration. Mostly because you’re putting the new information and skills you’ve learned into practice to break old habits and cycles.
Consolidation will help you to solve new issues. It can even allow you to go back and find new solutions for old problems. You can focus on new emotional concepts with a better understanding of who you are and your specific attachment bonds.
Consolidation also helps you see how you started to fall into negative patterns to begin with. With the information you’ve learned, you can avoid those pitfalls. You’ll also do a better job of not falling into those patterns. Even if you do, you’ll have a stronger skillset when it comes to getting out of them again.
Not everyone understands or even knows what their attachment style is. You might be secure, avoidant, anxious, or fearful. While it’s essential to understand your attachment style, it’s equally crucial to know your partner’s style. It can give you a better understanding of how to communicate effectively with one another without creating vicious cycles in the relationship.
If you’re interested in learning more about emotionally focused therapy and you’re in the San Francisco Bay area, feel free to contact me or visit my page on [insert specialty link].
EFT can go a long way when it comes to personal attachment issues. But, it can also help a struggling relationship when nothing else has seemed to work.