This is what we work on first in couples therapy. We help a couple come together and fight against the negative pattern that has over taken them and caused distress. Once this is accomplished deep rebounding and healing of the relationship can occur. The cycle de-ecalation stage is the usually the longest part of the therapy. Identifying and calming the cycle seems easy but for true de-escaation several things need to happen.
Partners need to be able to:
1. Identify their own position in the cycle
2. Own their position
3. Access softer emotions underlying their position
4. Own their softer emotions
5. Place the softer emotions into the cycle
6.Link partner's behavior to their own attachment emotions and their own reactive emotions
7.Link their own behavior to attachment emotions and partner's reactivity
8. Have a coherent story of the negative interaction cycle as the enemy
9. See partner as more fearful and dangerous
10.Identify cycle in the here and now
11.Interupt the cycle in a way that allows them to fight it together
Once a couple can become a team against the cycle deep bonding can occur.
Jim Thomas, Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy Trainer, talks about EFT, relationships, technology and staying connected in our modern busy world. Really nice podcast on relationships. Click here to listen.
Bill's first conversation with Jim Thomas, is the second-most popular Conscious Couples Conversation since its inception. In today's podcast, Jim Thomas talks about how so many couples seem to have lost their way, and he reveals the benefits of Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) sessions and intensives.
Jim Thomas is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. He has served as President of the Colorado Association for Marriage and Family Therapy and Director of the Colorado Center for Emotionally Focused Therapy or EFT – which learned from its creator, Sue Johnson. Jim’s work focuses on helping people to be more fully aware and engaged in their lives - allowing deeper connection with others and a richer life.
The most basic connection response is "Keeping Company:" the art of being a tenderhearted witness who listens attentively and compassionately to your own or someone else's feelings without saying how to feel or what to do. Keeping company with someone means being fully heart-present to them in ways that encourage them to explore, resolve and learn from their inner reactions. (Eugene Gendlin, the originator of an extremely important discernment development tool called Focusing, coined the term "keeping company.")
~David Gruder, Ph.D, The New I.Q.
Love and Attachment From Cradle to Beyond the Grave
It is amazing to me how a sense of secure attachment can extend beyond the grave. I was lucky enough to have a mother who loved me when she was alive so much so that I feel it even in her absence. My goal for clients, and hope as a therapist, is to promote this type of feeling and attachment.
My reflection, "Listening to our handyman speak Portuguese to one of his workers or maybe Spanish with a Portuguese accent, sounds like music to my ears. It must be reminding me of the sounds and rhythmes of my mother's voice and of her lullabies when I was a baby. Portuguese was her first language and she had only been here a few years before I was born. It is strange the sense of peace I feel listening from a distance. I think, 'Don't stop talking.' I feel so soothed and calmed."
I think I must have had some kind of a pre-verbal memory as I was not close enough to hear the distinction of the words but only the muffled sing song melody of the voice. I guess like an infant might hear. I was then flooded with a very calm and peaceful feeling and a deep sense of knowing that I was loved not only by her but by God. It was very profound and spiritual, an experience I wish all could have.
My mother's birthday is the 23rd. She always seems to send me a message from beyond that she still cares for me and loves me, usually around or on her birthday. I feel blessed and so wanted to share.
Can love last forever through the ups and downs of life? Couples therapist Dr. Sue Johnson explains what it really takes to make a relationship work. This is really good.
Poem by one of my Yoga Teachers Kiara McBain. It is profound.
Tonight I realized
life is clean and simple
a mere blank canvas on which to create
it's people that make life complicated
the mess of another
makes a mess of our own life
I wanted to swear to stay away
from broken hearts
and broken people
but the hard truth is
very few sort out their demons
very few know themselves enough to live honestly
and very few look at life as an opportunity to learn
so it is our job to love
the messy landscape of humanity
as if adoring a sunset
with all its bleeding lines
lack of definition
and gleaming imperfections
"Landmark study shows that Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) can help couples understand their relationship better, reduce conflicts and create secure, loving bonds that can soothe brains."
This is such a lovely story from StoryCorps that I think is a great example of a loving relationship. Wishing this for everybody. If we can create this at home, perhaps we can take it to the world.
More research on Emotionally Focused Therapy for Couples. Principle investigators Dr. Sue Johnson and Dr. Jim Coan happy to share that the first brain scan study of EFT is now available in an Open Access Journal. EFT theorists explicitly claim that EFT affects a couple's ability to soothe difficult emotions by strengthening their attachment bond. I see this often as I work with couples taking them through the steps of Emotionally Focused Therapy. We now have some good evidence. Awesome.
Evelyn Schmechtig -Cochran