I recently read an article written by Susan Johnson, PhD, who is one of the founders of Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy. I would like to share a few quotes that capture why this approach is so useful in assisting couples in creating lasting positive change in their relationships. “Attachment theory tells us that emotion and emotional signals are the music of the dance between intimates. Many therapies encourage clients to go around strong emotion or replace it with rational thoughts or decisions. Emotion researchers such as James Gross now tell us that this not only increases arousal in the person who is inhibiting emotion but also creates tension in the other partner. An approach that focuses on attachment suggests that emotion is best acknowledged and listened to, so that emotional signals can be shaped in ways that make for safe connection. New emotional responses are also essential if therapy is to address each partner’s deeper longings, help partners formulate their needs and offer a path to the kind of compassionate loving connection that couples are seeking. Secure attachment, not just conflict containment, is the goal of couples therapy here. By the end of therapy, an EFT therapist, for example, wants to see his or her clients listen to their emotions, speak their needs clearly and reach for their partner in a way that helps that partner tune in and respond. Safe emotional connection then helps each partner deal positively with stress and distress, whether this stress arises from within or outside the relationship.” Further, “as Bowlby predicted, there is more and more evidence that lovers are connected by a neural net. They regulate each other’s physiology and emotional lives. When they are tuned in emotionally, they help each other reach a physical and emotional balance that promotes optimal functioning.”

For more information, please contact Ann Arbor Couples Clinic, (734) 417-9522.