Couples Therapy

Every couple faces challenges in maintaining a satisfying, close relationship. Sometimes those challenges can become so intense that partners find it difficult to communicate, and both can feel disconnected, lonely, fearful, criticized, and angry. Arguments and/or distance seem to dominate the relationship. Couples may feel like roommates, with little connection, rather than loving partners.

The approach that I use when working with couples is known as Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT), which was developed by Dr. Sue Johnson. It is a cutting edge, highly effective, research-based approach. It has been shown to help couples resolve relationship conflicts, improve communication, and increase their sense of closeness and intimacy.

The focus of EFT is to help partners understand more clearly each other’s deepest feelings, change negative interactional patterns, and to create a more secure emotional bond. I receive couples with compassion and non-judgmental presence. In the safe container of the therapy session, each partner is gently encouraged to express their deepest feelings, longings, and needs. With my guidance, couples learn to hear each other with greater understanding, empathy, and “heart.” Through our work together, partners become more emotionally available and responsive to each other.

As an EFT therapist, I can help couples learn to recognize, explore, and change the negative cycles that can take over their interactions. Often, one partner becomes critical and angry in an attempt to connect. The other partner, trying to avoid conflict, can become withdrawn and emotionally unavailable. Or both partners may engage in attack/defend interactions. In our work together, partners learn to understand their negative patterns and, instead, to create new positive cycles of interaction that strengthen their emotional bond.

As partners feel safer with each other and begin to create more closeness and bonding, they can begin to resolve the issues that are impacting their relationship and become the loving partners that they have longed to be. Through our work together, couples begin to experience their relationship as a deep source of security, trust, respect, closeness, and intimacy.

NANCY WALLINGFORD, MFT
nwallingford1@gmail.com