Romantic relationships can be one of the closest and most complex at the same time. Choosing a life-long partner and staying together through different twists of life can become challenging and deeply unsettling. Many couples, whether heterosexual, gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender, find it helpful to seek support outside to help them build on the resources they already have. Couple counselling can help partners understand more clearly each other’s deepest emotions, longings and fears in a safe and encouraging environment.
Do you want to move from relational distress and disconnection to safer and more connected bond?
Some of the couples we have worked with found the sessions useful in improving the following areas of their lives:
- becoming aware of unhelpful patterns, i.e. blaming, shutting down or demanding
- changing negative relational patterns and experiencing the relationship as emotionally safe
- dealing with your feelings together and embracing more open styles of communication
- improved emotional and sexual intimacy
- bonding through sex and touch
- greater understanding of how their own and their partners’ past experiences impact on them now
- finding balance between being partners and parents
- working through traumatic wounds.
How does couple therapy work?
Our primary model of couple therapy is Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) where couples are supported in learning to recognise the negative cycles that keep them stuck where often one person pursues and criticises and the other responds defensively or withdraws or both pursue or both withdraw. They learn to identify the needs and fears that keep them in that negative cycle and to identify and express their underlying emotions in a way that transforms the repetitive negative cycles of conflict, resentment and disconnection into a more positive and secure relationship.
What is Emotionally Focused Therapy?
EFT is one of the most researched and effective approaches to helping couples re-create secure bonds. It has the highest success rate of any form of couple therapy. EFT was pioneered by Dr Sue Johnson, author of “Hold me tight” and “Love Sense”. It is based on the scientific study of adult love and bonding processes in couples and is designed to address distress in the intimate relationships of adults. Couples seeking counselling to improve their relationships may find this method a beneficial approach, as it can help people better understand both their own emotional responses and those of significant people in their lives. EFT is interested in how problems are produced, not just why. According to EFT, couples have relationship problems when they are feeling emotionally disconnected at important moments.
Couples are supported in learning to recognise the negative cycles that keep them stuck where often one person pursues and criticises and the other responds defensively or withdraws or both pursue or both withdraw. They learn to identify the needs and fears that keep them in that negative cycle and to identify and express their underlying emotions in a way that transforms the repetitive negative cycle into a more positive and secure relationship.
EFT reframes what on the outside looks likes negative communication into a client’s effort to get their need for attachment met. The goal is to help the couple identify, accept and share their individual needs and emotions with each other, and learn to spot when they are starting to feel disconnected in their relationship. Therapist’s role is to help facilitate the creation of secure, lasting bonds between intimate partners and reinforce any preexisting positive bonds. The goal is to learn how to interact with romantic partners in more loving, responsive, and emotionally connected ways, which can result in an increased sense of security, closeness, and connection in intimate relationships.
If you’d like to commit to a more intensive relationship programme away from home, consider our residential Couples Retreats on the island of Gozo in Malta.