Being in a relationship can be hard, and couples often find themselves disconnected and lonely, even though the person that they love is standing right next to them. Even so, making the decision to start couples counseling can be scary, and many thoughts and feelings may go through your mind as you reach, and then possibly hesitate over the phone:
- I’m lonely, but I can handle it.
- Isn’t this how all marriages are?
- My partner doesn’t like to talk about feelings.
- Maybe this feeling of disconnection/anger/sadness is just my own issue (or just my partner’s issue).
- Will I be blamed?
- Will my partner be blamed?
- Will the therapist give us tasks that I won’t want to do?
- Will I hear something I don’t want to hear?
- Will I say something I wish I hadn’t?
- What if I don’t hear what I want to hear?
- What if I stay forever quiet?
- What if things don’t change, what then ?
It’s no wonder many couples contemplate couples counseling and then put it off. And put it off. Until time has gone by and the disconnection you feel has become painfully routine. Until sometimes it’s too late.
I understand your hesitation, and I can tell you that your relationship can get better, that loneliness and disconnection doesn’t have to feel like a cement wall between you and your partner.
I am an ICEEFT Certified Emotionally Focused Therapist (EFT) and Supervisor. EFT is a highly effective, leading-edge model of couples therapy that works. For more on it, see below. But for right now, what does this mean for you?
When you love someone, you impact them, and they impact you, all the time . When they are talking, when they are quiet, when they are on the computer, when they are upstairs and you are downstairs. All the time. These moments of impact can be the source of our greatest joy, and also the cause of great pain. This makes sense, right? The person who is most important to us impacts us in profound ways. When they just walk into a room, something shifts in us.
When couples are feeling disconnected, they find themselves stuck in negative cycles of impact. Like an infinity loop, it doesn’t start with one person, and one person is not to blame. It is these negative cycles we get caught in that end up leaving both partners feeling alone. And if it goes on long enough, these patterns become more powerful than the positive moments you share. They seem to take over your relationship. They flare up fast, often automatically. It might feel as if it happens by just walking into a room—suddenly there you both are again, stuck in the same argument, the same hurt. And deep down, you really aren’t sure how you both got here. Again.
So together, in session, we will SLOW down these moments of impact, and work to understand what happens for each of you in these moments, understand each person’s raw spots that get pricked and each person’s way of protecting themselves from the hurt of disconnection. We will work to understand these negative patterns of impact, and once we really understand, then we will work to shift them. Together. In the present. In the session.
This is called Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) and it works by getting right to the heart of the matter. For more information on EFT visit The International Centre for Excellence in Emotionally Focused Therapy www.iceeft.com or The EFT Center of New Jersey www.eftcnj.com , and/or read Dr. Sue Johnson's best-sellers, Hold Me Tight and Love Sense.
CERTIFIED EMOTIONALLY FOCUSED COUPLES THERAPIST AND SUPERVISOR