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The Real Couples Program™ at CPID was developed to address common issues real couples and families deal with. Emotionally Focused Therapy uses state-of-the-art research on attachment and neurobiology to determine the most helpful approach for creating resilient, harmonious relationships.
If these questions speak to you, and you are considering relationship therapy, please consider scheduling a consultation with our center.
When people in a relationship first enter treatment, an EFT clinician works to help the parties identify what is known as the "negative cycle." This dance of pain and frustration has often become so habituated between the 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 series of interchanges that spell trouble.
Unfortunately, each partner's long-standing hopes and longings are left out of the equation. With empathy, curiosity, and open-mindedness, an EFT clinician helps a person to reveal, for instance, that they secretly harbor fears of letting their partner down the way their father let them down, and their anxiety about this often leads to emotional shutdown when their partner asks for contact. In another example, a person may confess they always felt like the "ugly duckling" of three siblings and struggles to feel adored by their partner. Their valid need for reassurance often comes across as demanding because of their shame about reaching out. Rather than discovering what's "wrong" with the relationship, the EFT clinician looks underneath the surface of behavior for the delicate, human, and often "shamed" sensitivities we all bring into relationships.
While a wide range of relational strategies emerges in relationships, there are two main strategies for gaining equilibrium when a person feels threatened. Some people tend toward retreat behaviors, ranging from going mute in conversations, staying away from home, responding to conversations with intellectuals rather than emotionally attuned language, or burying themselves in the internet or work activities. Other people tend toward pursuing behaviors ranging from physical contact, positive or negative, critical or persecutory remarks, and requests for attention or intimacy.
People often feel shame about some of the behaviors 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. An EFT clinician attempts to help translate these behaviors into messages each party can understand and connect with. A therapist may help a frustrated, controlling partner say, "I know I get hostile when I see you talking to other people at parties. We never seem to connect at home, so when we go out, 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 they can put this in these terms, their partner is more able to feel safe coming closer and "recharging".
While each relationship 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. It ends with a joint feedback session in which a plan is determined.
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New parents have unique problems, and the shift from being a partner to a parent is not straightforward in any relationship. Dealing with pregnancy, birth, and the months after birth brings stresses that often add to the existing challenges between the two parents.
Infidelity in a committed relationship can be an immense strain on both partners and on the relationship itself. Often the news of an affair is like a bomb going off in the middle of the relationship, and it may take the other partner completely by surprise, making that person feel shocked, betrayed, angry, jealous, worthless, lonely, or confused. The partners who had an affair may feel guilt, shame, and loss of respect for themselves. In some cases, they may feel they have lost their voice and identity and cannot face the pain they caused their partner.
Separated couples have an even greater problem than other couples in distress. They have to consider whether they should continue toward full separation, whether there is a possibility to salvage the relationship, and what the outcomes are in either case. It can often feel too late to rescue a relationship. One partner or both can feel burned out, misunderstood, tired, and angry with the other. Whether it is due to unrelenting arguing, emotional disconnection, or a combination of factors, separating can often seem like the easiest option.
We might achieve Marriage Equality. Yet LGBTQ+ relationships are not all the same.
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender relationships need therapists who understand the distinct quality of their relationships. While LGBTQ+ couples are similar to heterosexual relationships in many ways, including a shared desire for love, connection, and understanding, they often have unique challenges and strengths.
Many long-term relationships struggle with how to keep their sexual relationship alive and satisfying. We often get disconnected which leads to tensions in both emotional and sexual areas. We argue about who should initiate or why one of us wants more frequent sex than the other. We might complain about boredom or lack of attraction and passion. Before giving up, it is worth exploring the causes and possibilities.
Many couples and individuals are considering opening up their relationships. Can we have a satisfying and secure relationship while being sexual with other people? What would it take? Sometimes we are unhappy in our relationship and hope that opening it up can save it. Unfortunately, doing it from a place of anxiety or resentment can be a recipe for failure.
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