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Laurie Sanders, Relationship Counselor

A person's "heart withers if it does not answer another heart." Pearl S. Buck

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So What's So Unique About EFT?
April 21, 2011

When I took my first
workshop in EFT (Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy) my main thought was: What's so special about this approach? Is it really any different than all the other approaches I've learned about? (which seem to have a list of skills to teach, and activities to assign as homework to help a couple feel close again). The answer was "Yes." EFT is unique and special.This counseling approach is based on much current research about emotional attachment. It seems that we attach to others in only a few key ways, and thus we communicate our needs and feelings in a few ways. These ways are learned in childhood and carry over into adulthood. So, if a counselor tries to help you by focusing on "communication skills" but doesn't know about the different ways we communicate, based on our attachment style, the counselor could be missing a huge piece of the puzzle.Helping you to gain skills isn't really what an EFT therapist does. We help you see how your way of showing your love and affection may not be how your partner shows love and affection, and thus you and your partner may be misinterpreting each other. It's possible that your partner values you very much but you're not seeing it. It may also be that your partner wants to meet your emotional needs, but misunderstands your requests.The goal of an EFT therapist is to help a couple create a sanctuary of safety and support, so that each feels safe to share their most vulnerable feelings, and capable of asking for their emotional needs to be met.
Many of us don't even know what it's like to have our emotional needs met. From EFT I have learned that these needs are: To feel accepted, to feel one belongs, to get comfort when troubled, to feel physically and emotionally safe, to feel understood, and to feel valued. (I remember these with the acronym: A-B-C-S-U-V). Through the process of Emotionally Focused Therapy, you can learn to feel safe in your most important relationship, so that you can get your emotional needs met and be there for your partner to meet his or her needs as well.