Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What we do can be very complicated, but it is entirely rooted in scientific research and evidence-based approaches. If you have questions, see if we have answered them below. If we haven’t then feel free to send us a message or give us a call!
413-210-3739 | Send an email
Why do a Hold Me Tight weekend workshop; a “Couples Intensive;” or a Five-day Residential Retreat?
You get more done, sooner:
- An intensive/retreat offers change, connection and healing in days rather than the months or years of an hour-per-week therapy.
- You have the therapist’s attention all day, each day. You work from 9 to 5 each day with a lunch break and other breaks as needed through the day; there is no wasted time saying hello and catching up or shutting down a session – it is ongoing.
- Starting with orientation, history, goals and focus, your current situation, you immediately begin to work with your relationship.
- Individual sessions – work with each of you individually – are easily integrated into the course of the day to deal with individual trauma/difficulties in the present and then integrated into the relationship work.
- The effects of trauma (broadly defined) are being recognized as a primary contributor to most presenting problems; attachment style and personal relationship history are recognized as contributing to the harmful cycles couples get caught up in and these problems can be addressed, resolved and integrated quickly, not over weeks.
- Actual problem solving, individual attachment, stabilization, and practical living strategies can be integrated “here and now” as you work through the day.
Do you have a known, documented, organized and researched approach?
Yes, The Process that Guides our Work in all Workshops: Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) for Couples (see below)
Our process is based in EFT, which proceeds through recognizable stages and steps. It is intensely emotional work and creates an enhanced strongly bonded relationship and an appreciation of life. Creating trust and safety in your personal interactions is the first critical step that runs through and informs all the other steps:
- A clear assessment of the relationship and each partner;
- Self awareness and recognition of your personal external actions and “inner cycles” and how they are related to your attachment history, relationship history and early family conditions of love and attachment;
- a recognition of the negative cycles your relationship gets caught up in;
- discovering the emotions that drive your behavior (primary emotions such as hurt, scared, powerless, and secondary emotions such as anger and frustration);
- discovering your behavior in the cycle such as withdrawal and going away or pursuit and aggressive demanding;
- recognizing and stopping the cycle and then, in safety, exploring deeper feelings, wants, needs and yearnings as well as fears;
- learning to recognize “raw spots” that trigger you into old emotional patterns and create “rocky moments” in your present relationship;
- understanding the meaning you each give to your partner’s behavior and feelings, your personal story, and your view of the world;
- strengthening your bond through carefully crafted emotional interactions;
then healing attachment wounds from the past (early in life) and relationship wounds in your present relationship;
So, What Is Emotionally Focused Therapy for Couples?
Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT), formulated in the 1980s by Les Greenberg and Susan Johnson, “…was called EFT to draw attention to the crucial significance of emotion and emotional communication in the organization of patterns of interaction and key defining experiences in close relationships.” (The Practice of Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy by Susan Johnson, pg. 4).
“EFT is a structured approach to couples therapy formulated in the 1980’s and has developed alongside the science on adult attachment and bonding to expand our understanding about what is happening in couple relationships and to guide therapists. In the last fifteen years, Dr. Johnson and her colleagues have further developed and refined the model and completed numerous studies. EFT is also used with families and individuals. A substantial body of research outlining the effectiveness of EFT now exists. Research studies find that 70-75% of couples move from distress to recovery and approximately 90% show significant improvements.) from the ICEEFT website. See ICEEFT.COM
And, What is Attachment Theory?
Attachment theory – our modern understanding of the human bonding and differentiation process – or more simply stated, a modern theory of love, has evolved to describe our early patterns of emotional interaction in relationship based on our history with our significant caretakers. These learned patterns – attachment-oriented emotional responses — are initiated and driven by emotion and explained by our inner narrative: our story, about ourselves, our significant others, and the world. As a model of intervention, relationship repair and maintenance EFT grew from the systematic observation of couples in therapy and what worked to repair their relationships. The use of emotion was key in this process.
A unique aspect of EFT is that it is Integrative: it looks within at what’s going on emotionally inside each partner; and it looks between to see how each of the partners organize their experience into interactional patterns and cycles. EFT works with these emotionally driven patterns to restructure and strengthen the bond between the partners in a relationship.