COUPLES THERAPY, EMOTION-FOCUSED COUPLES THERAPY (EFT)
Difficulties in romantic relationships may appear due to shaken trust, a feeling of emptiness in the relationship, an estrangement and an emergence of hostile feelings against each other. Triggering cause of a conflict between a couple may also be a problem with their child.
Couples therapy, either in its classic way/approach or in the new, special form called Emotion-Focused Couples Therapy (EFT) (recently introduced in Hungary), can provide help to partners facing relationship crises and deadlocks.
Techniques of the Emotion-Focused Couples Therapy (EFT) are based on the results of the recent psychological research activities. As per these results, in our relationships (eg. how we relate to our partner, how we are doing in our relationship), the experiences and influences passed through since childhood are determining. These factors develop behaviours and habits in us that become automatic. Because of this outcome, it may happen that our partner’s behaviour patterns, needs and his/her communication may be noncomprehensive to us or need much efforts to understand, or may contradict with a pattern taken from our own family. This can become the source of conflicts, bringing about misunderstandings, rendering the alignment with each other problematic. The reconciliation of the partners’ different needs can result in a lot of stress, anxiety and deep conflict that can endanger the relationship. If we experience a lot of stress and doubts in a relationship, love and belonging increasingly disappear, replaced by the experience of frustration and the feeling of being misunderstood. In this case we generally protect ourselves from further emotional trauma by becoming more and more critical or detaching from our partner emotionally.
Studies have proved that Emotion-Focused Couples Therapy is a specifically efficient method for understanding and shaping the processes in a relationship. It can provide a structure in which emotional reactions, that otherwise seem to be untraceable, can already be trackable and comprehensible from the logical point of view. The EFT technique provides help in a focused way to articulate the needs hidden in the depths of the patient’s mind and to develop a new way of connection that contributes to security and mutual support.
The duration of the therapeutic process varies, but for the most part a substantial change can be achieved in 10-15 sessions.
This method can be applied to any group of people who live together and consider themselves a family – whether it is a single parent raising a child or children, or a family raising an adopted child, irrespective of being organized on a mosaic or on blood relative basis.
When a member of a family – especially a child – suffers from physical or mental symptoms or struggles with a chronic disease, it has a great influence on the life of the whole family. It is a common experience that in order to change the child’s behaviour the participation of the whole family is necessary through openness and courage of all the concerned persons.
As per the systems approach theory, all families have a development history, they follow internal rules, they are able to self-regulate themselves and represent a communication style characteristic of the family, etc. In the family therapy approach, the personal symptom is interpreted from the perspective of a relationship, without blaming or denouncing anyone for generating a troubled situation which causes a suffering.
During the meetings, we deal with the family members’ reactions to each other, the characteristics of their communication and their cooperation. We observe interactions and their reappearing patterns, namely the ’family scenarios’, and we try to uncover the ways to change, offering opportunities for a positive development for all the members of the family. Our goal is not only to find a solution for a single family member or a family subsystem, but we intend to discover the common solution for the whole family and we try to introduce it into family life as well.
When can family therapy help?
- relationship problems
- parenting issues
- adoption and foster care difficulties
- behaviourial disorders in childhood
- problems relating to adolescence
- family or relationship crisis management
- communication problems
- psychosomatic symptoms, diseases affecting a family member
- issues relating to living together with a family member who suffers from a disease
- breakup, divorce
- life situation changes: working challenges, retirement, old age issues
On the basis of the first interview with the specialist, by precisely recognizing the problems and the circumstances, it can be decided whether couples therapy, along with Emotion-Focused Couples Therapy or family therapy is advisable.