EFT COUPLES THERAPY • Do you and your partner keep having the same fights, over and over?
• Are you unable to let go of old hurts and move forward?
• Do you often feel unaccepted, unseen, not good enough, or not important to your partner?
We all want a happy, close relationship and to feel that our partner is really there for us. However, despite our best intentions and efforts, building a solid, connected relationship can be incredibly difficult. The gap between our dreams of closeness and the disappointing reality of an unhappy, disconnected relationship can cause us incredible pain and distress. As we become increasingly caught in repetitive negative cycles of interacting with our partners, we often feel frustrated, confused, panicked, alone, and hopeless.
I'm passionate about helping my clients — gay and straight, married and unmarried — handle the challenges that relationships present. I believe in the power and importance of happy, healthy relationships, and that the work needed to build and maintain a good relationship is entirely worth it. I've been providing marriage counseling for over a decade, and I have the training and experience you need to turn your relationship around.
Whether you’re on the verge of breaking up or just looking for a tune-up, couples counseling can help. I use Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) — the most effective style of couples therapy — to help you break the negative cycles that keep you stuck and help you achieve real, lasting change. I can help you and your partner communicate better, heal from past disappointments, rebuild trust and passion, and connect on a deeper level.
WHAT IS EMOTIONALLY FOCUSED THERAPY (EFT)?
“Love is a constant process of tuning in, connecting, missing and misreading cues, disconnecting, repairing and finding deeper connection. It is a dance of meeting and parting and finding each other again. Minute by minute, and day by day.” — Dr. Sue Johnson
Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) is an incredibly effective therapeutic approach for couples and families developed by relationship expert Dr. Sue Johnson
. Studies show that an astounding 70% to 75% of couples who complete their EFT work effectively move from distress to recovery and that 90% of couples show significant improvement
in their relationships.
EFT is a research-based, peer-reviewed model of therapy founded on the exciting science of attachment theory
, which explains that we are all wired for strong, loving bonds with our partners and that we have deep needs for acceptance, belonging, closeness, and safety. When we perceive these needs are threatened in some way, or we feel insecure in our relationship with our partner, we naturally go into distress. Unfortunately, most of us deal with that distress by protecting ourselves with critical, blaming approaches or by shutting down and shutting out our partners. These two strategies — criticism and withdrawal — often create a seemingly impenetrable loop of conflict. One partner feels alone and unimportant so he or she lashes out in protest, the other feels inadequate and bad and retreats behind a wall — which makes the first partner feel more alone, leading to more blaming and criticism, and more stoniness and withdrawal, and round and round we go.
As the name implies, EFT is powered by connecting with our vulnerable emotions, getting beneath the mask of defensive criticism or withdrawal. By exploring their emotions, perceptions of each other, and automatic responses to each other, partners can start to identify their roles in the dynamic, and the effect they have on the relationship. The more partners learn to catch their negative cycle and respond to each other from their vulnerable (vs. defensive) emotions, the more they create a safe and secure bond and get freedom from the chronic disconnection and conflict. That makes room for repairing old hurts, healing stories about ourselves from the past, and creating a lasting and loving connection.
• Are you struggling with anxiety, depression, or chronic stress?
• Is it hard for you to talk about your feelings or needs?
• Do you have trouble finding or maintaining close relationships?
• Are you still suffering from an abusive or dysfunctional upbringing?
People seek counseling for many reasons. You may need support managing anxiety and stress, overcoming depression, building healthier relationships, learning to talk about your feelings and needs, or healing from a painful personal history. Whatever your goals are, I can help.
I believe in the value and necessity of self-exploration, and in over a decade of clinical practice, I've seen how individual counseling can lead to deep healing and lasting changes in our relationships with our selves and others. I love the process of getting to know each of my clients and learning how to give each of them the support and feedback they need to heal and grow, and I feel privileged to be with them on their journeys of personal growth. Please know, too, that I am an LGBT-friendly therapist and enjoy and value exploring how broader cultural issues affect our well-being.
If you're interested in starting individual therapy, some of the things I can help you with are…
• Managing stress, anxiety, and conflict
• Letting go of depression, self-criticism, and low self-esteem
• Developing happy, close, meaningful relationships
• Building better communication and assertiveness skills
• Healing from trauma, abuse, or dysfunctional family experiences
• Exploring who you are and what you want from life
WHAT IS ACCELERATED EXPERIENTIAL DYNAMIC PSYCHOTHERAPY (AEDP)?
“There is no better way to capture the ethos of AEDP than to say this: we try to help our patients and ourselves become stronger at the broken places. By working with trauma, loss, and painful consequences, we discover places that have always been strong, places that were never broken." — Dr. Diana Fosha, Founder of AEDP
Accelerated Experiential Dynamic Psychotherapy (AEDP) asserts that all of us are born with an innate drive to grow and heal, to "self-right." For that process to fully engage, we first need a safe place to connect. In AEDP, we recognize that all of us carry hurts from our past, but that we have the capacity to heal and actually grow from those hurts — to become "stronger at the broken places" — when we do it in connection with a truly safe, caring, and responsive person. In AEDP, the therapist works to create that environment for their client and, together, therapist and client can explore places that were too difficult to traverse alone.
AEDP is an emotion-focused, body-focused, experiential therapy. This means that, instead of doing cognitive work where we're challenging your false beliefs about your self or the world around you, we focus on your emotional and physical experience in the here-and-now. Staying in the present and staying with emotional processes vs. intellectually analyzing your experiences not only allows for us to move quickly (hence the word "Accelerated"), but the emotional and relational nature of the therapy allows for your brain to rewrite things that were first laid down emotionally and relationally. For example, you didn't learn intellectually
to be afraid of your sadness because your father might get angry or distant, you learned it through an upsetting emotional experience with him that encoded it in your brain as something dangerous. To truly "undo" and overwrite that learning, you need to have a corrective emotional experience
, done in relationship with a caring other. To quote Joelle Brandt, "Childhood trauma is relational…you can't heal relational trauma by yourself. It has to be healed in relation."