Emotionally Focused Therapy

Emotionally Focussed Therapy (EFT) is a model for relationship therapy. The founder is the Canadian professor of clinical psychology Dr. Sue Johnson. EFT helps couples to be more connected. The goal is to understand the emotions that underlie (undesired) behavior. Emotions are the goal and the means to change. Ultimately, this leads to new behavior. A new more attached behavior, through which couples feel safe and connected on a deeper level.

Going from a monogamous relationship to a non-monogamous relationship, you may experience an increase in emotions. This also applies to changing relationship forms within consensual non-monogamy (CNM) like from swinging to an open relationship, or from an open relationship to polyamory. This can be beautiful emotions like joy, pride, wonder. But also emotions you might prefer not to see. Emotions like jealousy, fear, guilt or shame. The latter emotions can become a source of quarrels. Fights that usually arise because one of the partners experiences a loss of connection. Within EFT these quarrels are scrutinized, it is investigated how these patterns in quarrels run, which emotions underlie them, and also how on a deeper level often unintentionally pain points are touched. As soon as it becomes clear how these patterns go, it is also possible to break through them and place new patterns in return. New patterns that better meet the needs of each partner and thus restore the safe connection in the relationship.

Adult partners are emotionally dependent on each other for their happiness in life. This is sometimes at odds with the idea that we are all individuals, who should be able to be independent in life. Emotional dependence, however, is not a weakness and does not have to mean that you cannot take care of yourself. On the contrary, those who are sure of their partner’s love, will go out into the world with greater peace of mind.

EFT is a scientifically proven method with a high success rate. I work a lot with couples where someone else is involved, either secretly as in cheating, or openly, as in an open relationship. I focus on the fixed (primary) relationship and on restoring and promoting security between them. It’s up to the couple, which form of relationship they choose next.

EFT also disapproves of non-monogamy and makes no distinction between consensual non-monogamy and cheating. But times are changing. In the Netherlands I was allowed to give a presentation on the subject in Utrecht for fellow EFT-relationship counsellors, mentioning the overlap in CNM-forms and the differences especially when it comes to safety. The fall pits, the taboos, the changes that arise over time with long-lasting open relationships,  and ofcourse how EFT can have a positive effect on dealing with the issues. The room was packed, indicating there was a lot of interest. The questions were a mixture of curiosity, critical and respectful, and that is just what is needed right now. For me it was a dream come true and I will gladly participate in more conferences and meetings to share my experiences.

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