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Emotion-Focused Family Therapy: What Are Its Benefits?

Emotions, among other things, are an integral part in any relationship — positive emotions stimulate and strengthen connections while negative ones do nothing but estrange the people involved and eventually destroy the relationship. Developing a positive or a negative emotion may depend on the situation you are currently facing. Often times, emotions defy logic and reason, and in those cases, EFT or emotion-focused therapy might be exactly what you require for rebuilding your relationship with your partner, friends, or family.

What Is EFT?

EFT is actually a kind of therapy that mainly focuses on an individual’s emotions and the response to that particular emotion. The therapy was first developed in 1985 by Les Greenberg and Sue Johnson. In the 80’s, the divorce rate soared higher than ever, and several renowned psychologists put their efforts in finding a way to help married people to iron out all the differences that had crept up between them. They slowly discovered that a majority of the issues arise from a cycle of emotions that tend to go back and forth between married partners — emotion is actually a web that is woven between couples. EFT came into the limelight after the first manual got published some 30 years back. It turned out that EFT can prove to be really helpful for individuals as well as family members. Several couples find EFT useful since they get to know and realize each other’s emotions and become aware of how they themselves respond to varied emotions.

EFT’s Theory

EFT is primarily connected to the attachment theory which, if you didn’t know, is used to study the relationship between infants and their caregivers, but it was later unearthed that adults have their own personal attachments. Attachment theory deals with interpersonal relationships and the effects between two individuals in love. You can be close and attached to anyone, be it your friend, your family member, or your spouse. There are some people who are loners and prefer to lead a secluded life, but even the most anti-social individual has at least one acquaintance whom they are close to. Do you fear that your companion, partner, or spouse might leave you at one point in time? To be honest, every individual suffers from such an insecurity. Well, whatever the reason for this apprehension might be, EFT teaches you how to get rid of those insecurities and strengthen your bond with your partner.

The Steps Of EFT

EFT involves several treatments and the techniques are divided into steps. As a whole, this kind of therapy has nine steps that are segregated into three phases. De-escalating the problem is the first phase where the therapist needs to put a full stop on the anger so that the path to fix a relationship becomes smoother. This phase has four steps which include identifying the concerns that the couples have between them, identifying how negative interactions and negative emotions can worsen a conflict between the couples. The therapist also has to figure out the causes — why these happened in the first place. The last step is about informing the couple how the conflict between them is directly related to all the underlying emotions and eventually pointing out what the couples require. Therapists try to teach couples how to interact with each other in a much better way and communicate their emotional needs clearly. They also help couples create better solutions to problems that have persisted between them for a long time.

Does EFT Work?

People do have certain apprehensions in their minds regarding certain treatments and therapies. It’s natural to feel skeptical about its effectiveness. But you must remember that no therapy can give 100% results, and there are couples who have been unable to resolve their differences and have finally separated, but EFT has proved to be effective in most cases. Many couples do have certain attachment issues, and by getting to the crux of the problems, they can move on to lead a happy and a healthy life.

Remember that EFT is not a temporary healer. You need to follow-up and abide by the technique properly and then bounce back to normalcy. But, irrespective of how much closeness you might have with your partner, differences are bound to crop up which can dishearten you. Keep calm, go through and finish the EFT sessions, and bring your life back on track.

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