When couples fight about things like “he never does the dishes when I ask him, he never listens to me when I’m talking, she constantly nags me” the feelings underneath these complaints are “he is never there for me, I feel like I’m not important to him, I feel like what I do is never good enough for her”. The surface issues are always much deeper emotionally.
Dr Sue Johnson – founder of EFCT
Unhappy relationships and depression
Did you know that substantial research has found a link between people who suffer from depression and discord in their marital relationships? According to research people who are unhappy in their marriage are 25 times more likely to suffer from depression than people who are happily married. The studies, showing an association between marital unhappiness and depression, have led to attempts to treat depression with couples therapy.
What is EFCT?
Among the different couples therapy approaches to treat depression and marital discord, Emotion Focused Couple’s Therapy (EFCT) was found to be one of the most effective. EFCT is a short-term therapy, lasting between 8 to 20 sessions. The sessions are aimed at identifying the negative communication patterns in which couples get trapped and to help them understand the underlying emotions triggering these patterns. Ultimately, the aim of the therapy is for couples to feel safe to express their underlying emotions, learning how to better respond to and accept the emotions and the accompanying needs of their partner.
We depend on our loved ones to support us emotionally and be a secure base as we venture into the world to learn and explore. The more we sense we are effectively connected, the more autonomous and separate we can be.
Dr Sue Johnson
Benefits of EFT Couples Therapy
Currently, the results of research studies show that for depressed people who suffer from marital distress, couples therapy is as effective as individual therapy in their treatment of depression. The additional benefit of couples therapy is that it also results in better marital functioning.
EFT Couples Therapy with Dr Christina Reynolds
We know that love makes us vulnerable but also that we are never as safe and strong as when we are sure we are loved.
Dr Sue Johnson
This quote represents part of my core beliefs in my day to day work as a therapist. However, I have found that working with people individually can sometimes limit my ability to offer the best help.
I believe that as humans we need to connect with others as much as we need food, shelter and safety. Unfortunately, some of us struggle to know how to develop safe and meaningful connections with others, even the people that are supposedly closest to us.
Therefore, I am very excited to be undergoing training to become an accredited Emotion Focused Couples Therapist and to be able to open my diary to distressed couples in the hope that I can be of assistance to them in making long lasting, safe and meaningful connections.
Desaulles, A. and Johnson, S. M. (2003). Emotion-Focused-Therapy for Coupes in the Treatment of Depression: A Pilot Study. The American Journal of Family Therapy, 31, pp. 345-353.
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