shutterstock_19630261The Real Couples Program™ at CPID was developed to address common issues real couples deal with.  Emotionally Focused Therapy for Couples uses state-of-the-art research on attachment and neurobiology to determine the most helpful approach for creating resilient, harmonious relationships.

• Do your arguments tend to go in circles and never get resolved?
• Is one of you hiding while the other is saying “We need to talk?”
• Are you wondering where the intimacy has gone?

If these questions speak to you, and you are considering couples therapy, please consider scheduling a consultation with our center.

What Happens in Couple Therapy?

When a couple first enters treatment, an EFT clinician works to help the two parties identify what is known as the “negative cycle”. This is a particular dance of pain and frustration that has often become so habituated between the two partners that the triggers are almost unconscious. Upon exploration, partners often reveal that a particular look or tone of voice now stands in for a whole series of interchanges that spell trouble.

What is left out of the equation, unfortunately, is the long-standing hopes and longings of each partner. With empathy, curiosity, and open-mindedness, an EFT clinician helps a man to reveal, for instance, that he secretly harbors fears of letting his wife down the way his own father let him down, and his anxiety about this often leads to emotional shutdown when his wife asks for contact. In another example, a woman may confess she always felt like the “ugly duckling” of three sisters, and struggles to feel adored by her husband. Her valid need for reassurance often comes across as demanding because of her own shame about reaching out. Rather than discovering what’s “wrong” with the relationship, the EFT clinician is looking underneath the surface of behavior for the delicate, human, and often “shamed” sensitivities that we all bring into relationships.

Understanding Relational Strategies

While there are wide range of relational strategies that emerge in relationships, there are two main types of strategies for gaining equilibrium when a person feels threatened. Some people tend toward behaviors of retreat, ranging from going mute in a conversation, staying away from the home, responding to conversations with intellectual rather than emotionally attuned language, or burying oneself in internet or work activities.  Other people tend toward pursuing behaviors, ranging from physical contact, positive or negative, critical or persecutory remarks, requests for attention or intimacy.

People often feel shame about some the behaviors that have displayed in their relationship, and may fear being judged by a couples therapist. Fortunately, EFT therapists understand that these behaviors are always an attempt to restore safety for each individual, and are usually that person’s best attempt at this. What an EFT clinician attempts to do is help translate these behaviors into messages each party can understand and connect with. A therapist may help a frustrated, controlling husband say, “I know I get hostile when I see you talking to other guys at parties. It’s just that we never seem to connect at home, so when we go out, I feel I am still waiting to get recharged again with you. All I need is some sign from you that we’re still a team.” When he is able to put this in these terms, his wife is more able to feel safe coming closer and “recharging” with him.

Scheduling a Consultation

We offer a free, 20-minute phone consultation to help you answer questions about beginning couple therapy. Call our intake line at 646-200-5088 or email us with any concerns or questions today.

The Assessment Process

While each couple receives treatment based on their individual needs, a typical consultation begins with a joint session to explore the reasons for seeking treatment followed by one-on-one sessions with each partner, and ending with a joint feedback session in which a plan is determined.