I recently finished the final Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) “Core Skills” weekend with Jim Thomas. Jim is one of the most empathic and caring people I have ever met. His deep understanding of the model is helpful, but it’s really his embodiment of emotional responsiveness and vulnerability that makes him such an excellent teacher.
Attachment theory (developed in the 1950s by John Bowlby), is at the heart of Emotionally Focused Therapy. The theory explains that our need to be deeply connected and safe with another person is something we carry “from the cradle to the grave.” When that bond is threatened, disrupted, or inaccessible our attachment system protests the disconnect. Painfully, our go-to responses typically have counter-productive results and trigger our significant other’s attachment style…which of course in-turn triggers our own again…and on and on goes the torturous dance of disconnection.
During Core Skills, we explored how to work with these relational patterns, and how to help build security for couples. While the model is geared towards couples, EFT can be incredibly powerful in helping individuals access and express their most primary emotions and needs.
Part of what makes the EFT community so unique is that it places such a strong value on experiential learning and the therapists self-exploration. The therapists role isn’t to help the couple as an expert giving advice on the outside, but rather to enter into each partner’s experience, and guide them through the pain and hurt back towards intimacy and connection.
I’m so grateful for the training I have done so far, and for how it has broadened my perspective on the bonds we hold most dear to our hearts. I feel hopeful and inspired, and I hope I’ve passed some of that along to you in reading this.