Emotion Focused Couples Counselling is based on the notion that people have an innate desire to be in a solid and secure relationship with their partner. When secure, each partner feels good about the relationship, valued by the other and better equipped to weather the storms of life. However, when this connection is not secure, people respond in typical ways. For instance, some people tend to shut down or close off (like when one partner simply tunes out of the conversation or leaves the room). Sensing this withdrawal, the other partner attempts to reconnect, but usually in unhelpful ways – by becoming angry, critical or demanding (like raising ones’ voice or pursuing the other partner that has left the room). When this pattern repeats itself enough times, it becomes self-reinforcing, with both partners feeling frustrated and discouraged yet unsure of how to change.
In Emotion Focused Couples Counselling, the main goal is to stop this negative cycle of interaction and to create healthy, more positive ways of engaging with each other. This is done by getting underneath the reactivity to the root of the concern – the underlying emotions and needs that are not being disclosed and therefore not being met. When each partner experiences the real reason they get reactive – feeling insecure in the relationship – they are able to reveal their true needs and desires in a respectful manner, which results in a much more satisfying relationship. Think about how different your relationship could look if both of you were able to be respectful and supportive to each other?