Many couples coming to counseling for the first time feel nervous and unsure if it’s worth their energy and effort. Even wondering, “why should I pay you to watch us fight?”. It’s a totally understandable reaction. It’s really brave (and scary) to share your relationship with a stranger, to let them see your not-so-pretty sides.
But it helps to know a little more about what actually happens in couples counseling to ease some of these fears.
I work with couples using the Emotion Focused Couples Therapy (EFT) approach. This approach has tons of research demonstrating its success and is one of the few evidence-based approaches to couples therapy.
EFT is focused on:
- Building a stronger bond between you and your partner
- Helping you identify the common cycle you get stuck in together
- Finding new ways to communicate and practicing this our appointments
It’s an active approach with the therapist engaging closely with you. Not just sitting there silently and nodding.
I warn my couples, I will be interrupting you.
I will step in and slow down the interaction between you….This will help each of you gain clarity on what you are feeling. It will help your partner begin to understand you.
I will give you my impressions of the cycle I see between you…This will help you begin to recognize it on your own and get unstuck when it starts to happen at home.
I will suggest new ways of interacting and communicating….This will help you practice skills in our appointments that you can then use in your everyday-lives.
I will point out your strengths as a couple.
I will look for moments we can find laughter and joy together in our sessions.
Every therapist has a different style, but most Emotion-Focused Couples Therapists (EFT) will use this very active and engaged approach with you. They won’t just sit there and watch you fight. If you’d like to learn more about EFT, check out this great video.
If you’d like support with your own relationship, please reach out to me or a therapist near you. Click here to schedule an appointment with me. I work with couples in San Francisco from my Inner Sunset office, just minutes away from the UCSF Parnassus campus and Golden Gate Park.