Stop Communication Breakdown with Your Partner
In spite of loving each other, you and your partner can get caught in unhealthy communication or behaviour patterns to the point of feeling that you are completely stuck. You might find that you are having the same arguments time and time again. Or perhaps you avoid difficult conversations because you’re afraid of starting a fight.
This kind of communication breakdown can create unnecessary tension and conflict in your relationship. You or your partner may close down conversations, talk at length or raise your voices without resolving anything. If you are like many couples entering therapy, your problems may have been going on for years. Difficulties in relating to each other will eventually erode the closeness and intimacy, if it hasn’t already. You may find that you’ve lost the joy or spark that initially attracted you to each other. Your relationship may feel empty. You may feel sad, lonely, and helpless to change it.
Regardless of the state of your relationship, Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) for couples can help you and your partner break out of old, negative patterns for good.
Imagine being able to get beyond arguments you’ve had for years and feel good about yourself and your relationship again. Discover how to communicate with your partner in order to get their attention, feel understood, and elicit compassion and caring. Participating in the highly successful method of EFT can help defuse the tension in your relationship as you begin to relax and respond tenderly to each other. You feel accepted. You feel embraced. The connection you have rebuilt sparks new passion and playfulness in your relationship.
“Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.”
– Winston Churchill
What is EFT?
EFT is a short term approach to helping distressed couples. It was developed by leading Canadian psychologists, Dr. Susan Johnson and Dr. Leslie Greenberg. Typically within 12 to 30 sessions couples are guided through the following process of therapy:
Stage 1: Tracking your communication patterns
This helps you to:
- Recognize trigger points
- Explore and understand the basis for the triggers
- Unlatch from rigid unhealthy patterns of behaviour
- Diffuse conflict
- Recognize your partner is not the enemy; the two of you are struggling together
You and your therapist will track your interactions with your partner and identify where and how your communication breaks down. When you discover how each of you contributes to the pattern, you realize that your partner is not your enemy. You both make mistakes and misunderstand one another. You are both struggling to be understood, but are just not managing to reach each other.
Recognizing how you get pulled into your negative patterns of interaction is the first step to changing them. As you and your partner become aware of when you get stuck in your patterns, you can then discover how to help each other unlatch from them.
Stage 2: Creating a new, positive pattern of communication
This helps you to:
- Communicate your emotions effectively
- Create an intimate, secure bond
- Feel cared for and loved by one another
Relationships evoke a host of feelings: joy, pleasure, anger, hurt, anxiety, sadness, loneliness, insecurity… even if you don’t think of yourself as an emotional person. You need to find a way to let your partner know how you are feeling in the relationship in order to have a healthy bond.
In Stage 2 you will build on the platform of connection you established in the first stage of therapy. Your therapist will help you develop new ways of expressing yourself that don’t evoke your triggers and set off the old negative patterns.
Whether you struggle to communicate your feelings or you think of yourself as highly expressive, you can discover how to express yourself in a way that maximizes the chances of your partner responding to your needs and wants.
Stage 3: Applying new communication patterns to contentious issues of the past
This helps you to:
- Strengthen the new patterns of communication by applying them to previously unresolved issues
- Embrace new ways of connecting with each other emotionally and physically
- Prepare to end therapy with strategies to help you maintain your closeness
Stage 3 involves reviewing any old remaining, problematic issues and working them through to resolution with your new found ways of communicating and connecting. Your therapist will also help you review the work you did through the course of therapy. Important steps you made along the way are identified and elaborated into strategies so that you can use them in the future and not revert back to your old, unhealthy ways of communicating.
The Benefits of EFT
EFT is one of the fastest growing models of couple therapy available today.
EFT helps to:
- Defuse conflict
- Feel closer and more connected to your partner
- Improve emotional, physical, and sexual intimacy
- Resolve old problematic issues in your relationship
EFT is being trained and practiced around the world in North America, Europe, Australia, and Asia. Its therapeutic validity is recognized by the American Psychological Association.
Ninety percent (90%) of couples who complete EFT improve their relationships.
The comparable rate of marital relationship improvement for the next leading model of couple therapy is only 35%.
Another significant finding is that couples who work through the EFT process resolve their issues without returning to their old unhealthy communication patterns in the future.
The EFT method is also adaptable to a variety of complex situations, including helping couples heal after affairs and cope with difficult life stressors, such as chronic illness.
In fact, contrary to other therapy approaches, your initial level of relationship distress does not predict how well you will do in EFT. Research studies show that it is also effective with couples in which one or both partners struggle with depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, a traumatic childhood background, as well as sexual problems, such as low sexual desire.
It doesn’t matter how minor or major your problems are, EFT can help you resolve your difficulties – EFT can help you and your partner handle life’s challenges and accomplishments together.
Couples in happy relationships tend to enjoy better general health and wellness. Researchers have found that marital satisfaction has been linked to better immune system functioning, recovery from illness and injuries, and management of stressful situations.
If you would like us to help you lead a more satisfying life, contact us by phoning 604.677.3286, ext 500, or click the link to fill in our secure Online Intake Form.
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