In couple therapy, the client is the relationship between two partners. This relationship has become “stuck” in a negative pattern that, after a while, destroys trust and affection. In effective couple therapy, the therapist provides a safe place – an opportunity to talk to your partner in new ways that can de-escalate conflict and help both partners to reconnect. The couple therapist is not interested in assigning blame but in helping partners see the dance they are caught in and changing that dance. The therapist is a consultant to your relationship and can help you make sense of your relationship problems and the strong emotions that all distressed partners feel.
The therapists at the OCFI have all had special training in Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy – an intervention that has demonstrated excellent outcomes in research studies and is accepted by the American Psychological Association as an empirically validated intervention of proven effectiveness. In the past 15 years, Couples Therapy has grown enormously and EFT has been part of that growth. We now understand many of the ways that relationships go awry and in EFT research studies we have mapped the steps in the pathway from distress to satisfaction.
We know, for example, that emotional distance and a loss of responsiveness predicts divorce better than the number of fights a couple has. We know that “master” couples can reach for each other and soothe each other emotionally. We know that in EFT how engaged you become on the process is a better predictor of your satisfaction at the end of therapy than your initial level of relationship distress.
A positive relationship is associated with better physical and mental health, the ability to deal with stress and a more positive sense of self. When a couple improves their relationship they create a vital resource that helps both of them face the difficulties of life with more resilience and confidence. A strong couple bond is also the basis of a strong and stable family life. We believe, and research supports this belief, that your love relationship is your greatest resource. Effective couples therapy helps you understand and care for this precious resource.
EFT is used with many different kinds of couples and in diverse cultural contexts. OCFI has helped both traditional and non-traditional couples including gay and lesbian partners.