Almost every couple that is truly pursuing a deep, heart to heart connection will inevitably get caught in a negative cycle of interacting. What this might look like is: one partner feels lonely and disconnected and tries to pursue the other partner; sometimes the way this is expressed brings up feeling criticized or inadequate in the partner or the partner doesn’t feel as much of a need for closeness and gets frustrated and moves away. The more this partner defends or moves away, the more the other partner feels shut out and tries harder to get through. Your pattern may be different then this example.
Couples can learn to recognize this pattern, understand what fuels this pattern, recognize it together and find safe ways to stop this pattern, and create the kind of safe, deep connection that you both want.
The approach I use to couples counseling is an approach which is focused on helping couples create a secure, loving, and trusting bond with each other so they are able to experience the kind of responsiveness and connection we were created for. This approach is called Emotionally Focused Couple's Therapy and was developed by Dr. Sue Johnson. She developed this approach in the 1980’s with Les Greenberg. Since then research studies have shown that most couples (over 70%) were able to turn their relationship around and find the safe, secure connection they want in 15-20 sessions.
Since we were created for safe, secure connection, it’s not surprising that research is now showing that secure relationships give us our greatest sense of safety, comfort and strength in dealing with the challenges, stresses, and opportunities of life.
Couples that are securely connected: feel safe together, know they are important to their partner, are able to be flexible and problem-solve together, and communicate effectively.
Most couples can make significant progress in 15-20 sessions. If there are addiction issues for either partner, if one of both has had affairs, or if there has been violence in the past, treatment will most likely take longer than this. Your progress will depend largely on how hard you work in and out of session.
To untie this “knot” in your relationship, I will try to enter each of your worlds and understand your perspective, feelings, past experiences and hopes for the relationship. I will try to create the kind of safety you both need to take the kinds of emotional risks necessary to bring healing and safe connection.
The book, Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversation For a Lifetime of Love by Sue Johnson will be a great asset to our work together.