couples therapy

Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy

Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy (EFT) is a well researched and proven model of couples therapy, based on attachment theory, that helps couples create an emotionally safe and secure bond with one another.  When we have a secure bond, we feel loved, supported, valued and emotionally connected to our partner.

When we don't feel this secure bond with our partner we protest with negative behaviors like criticizing, withdrawing, avoiding, ignoring, getting angry, being defensive or passive aggressive and pushing each other's buttons. Overtime, these negative behaviors create problematic communication patterns that drive deep wedges of disconnection between partners. 

As an Emotionally Focused Couples Therapist, I work to help you and your partner soften your hearts and find each other again. We will dismantle the walls between you, repair the painful wounds of the past and identify those tender places inside that need special care by your partner. You will become empowered as you understand what's really fueling your negative communication patterns and learn how to communicate with each other in ways that increase trust, love and emotional intimacy. 

In therapy you will learn how to free yourselves from the negative patterns that undermine your relationship and create new interaction patterns that revitalize and eroticize your relationship. The goal of EFT is to become a resilient, emotionally connected and securely bonded couple.

EROTICISM IN COUPLES.   As a Sex Therapist I specialize in cultivating eroticism in love relationships.  Often I see couples who neglect the erotic energy in their relationship, re-directing it elsewhere, or shutting it down altogether. Many of us don't communicate honestly about our sexual preferences, turn-ons and deeply rooted erotic desires. Others of us have tried and been hurt, shamed, rejected or shut-down. Talking honestly about our sexuality with our partner is difficult for most people because it's extremely vulnerable. We don't want to hurt our partner's feelings, we don't want to be rejected by our partner, sometimes we don't know what to say. Basically, we're afraid it won't go well so we avoid the topic or argue about it in ways perpetuate the problems.

The longer we neglect or avoid sex, the harder it becomes and to engage our partner sexually. Sexual overtures often start feeling akward and contrived. Over time, avoiding sex can breed anger, resentment, hurt, sadness, distance and insecurity in our relationships. As days turn into weeks, weeks into months, then months into years…you might find yourself wondering "What happened to our sex life?" 

Committed love and erotic desire are two very different aspects of a relationship. Just because you have one, doesn't mean you have the other. Love is fueled by closeness, care-taking, responsibility, reliability, and the comfort having, while erotic desire is fueled by imagination, anticipation, uncertainty and letting go of the responsibilities of life for a while. Eroticism is playful and curious, thriving on novelty (I'm not simply talking talking about new positions or the latest sex toy, here novelty is about experiencing yourself and your partner in new ways, with fresh eyes). Eroticism happens in the space of wanting

So can we want what we already have? This is not a problem to solve, it is a paradox to manage in our relationships. It's a systemic dilemma that every organization faces: how much do we stay the same to maintain stability and recognizability and how much do we evolve and change to create new possibilities.

We are born with needs for safety and security as well as needs for autonomy and erotic adventure, although some of us want more security while others want more adventure. Reconciling these needs in your relationship in a way that revitalizes your relationship is my expertise.  I strive to help couples become an intimate team and create their own sexual style together that both partners experience as edifying, pleasurable and satisfying.

Sexuality changes as we change, as our lives change and as our circumstances change. We will have many sexualities over a lifetime. Learning how to adapt, evolve and co-create as an erotic team is the key.

More About Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy

Dr. Sue Johnson describes Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy in this 20 minute video