Dr Sue Johnson, the developer and creator of Emotionally Focused Therapy or EFT (the approach I use in my work), describes what happens when couples get stuck in negative and reactive communication:
“In insecure, distressed relationships, we disguise our vulnerabilities so our partner never really sees us. A loving secure connection has an immense ability to help heal the devastating wounds that life can deal us. Love also enhances our sense of connection to ourselves and the larger world. Finally, loving responsiveness is the foundation of a truly compassionate, civilized society.”
John Bowlby, the grandfather of attachment theory (which EFT is founded on), teaches us about the critical relationships in our lives:
“The propensity to make strong emotional bonds to particular individuals is a basic component of human nature.“
Through attachment theory, Bowlby explored how safety in relationships or secure attachment with significant “others” to who we can show our vulnerabilities is critical in the growth and health of the individual.
Attachment theory teaches us that secure primary relationships (in childhood with an adult caregiver and adulthood with our romantic partners) play a most significant part in developing a safe haven to take risks in the world, receive care and thrive.
Risks, such as being vulnerable, are tolerable because the child or adult has had the experience of safety through a secure bond with an important other, who is consistently there emotionally when they reach out in need.
EFT focuses on helping couples communicate the softer primary, more vulnerable emotions such as fear and sadness underneath the more surface emotions such as anger, contempt, and defensiveness.
EFT supports couples to share their vulnerabilities, which over time creates an emotional haven and a secure bond that can stand firm in the face of life’s many complex emotional challenges.
If you would like support for your relationship, please do not hesitate to contact me. I see clients in person from my office in Hove and online globally.