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  • Holly Sullivan

The Secret to Improving Your Relationship

Updated: Aug 12, 2023


couple kissing in sunset

Are you worried about the health of your relationship? Perhaps you and your partner argue often, or just feel distant from each other. Maybe there’s been a particular event, causing hurt between you both. Or maybe you’re not sure what’s causing the distress.


Are you and your partner wanting to improve your relationship, but don’t know how? Perhaps you’ve read self-help books or tried therapy—but your connection with each other is still struggling. You may be at a loss and wondering how to improve my relationship.


There is Hope


Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) is a specific type of therapy proven to help couples create connection and happiness. There are many types of couples therapies. Unlike cognitive-behavioral therapy, which offers short-term coping strategies, EFT helps relationships create long-lasting changes. EFT is an evidenced-based treatment, considered a superstar in the world of couples therapy.


Proven to Work


EFT has been validated by over 30 years of empirical research. Studies show that 70 to 75 percent of couples in Emotionally Focused Therapy move from distress to recovery. About 90 percent of couples demonstrate significant improvements. Until EFT came along, many couples struggled to improve their relationships and create deeper, lasting changes through therapy. EFT has revolutionized couples therapy and given relationships new hope for change.


What’s So Special About EFT?


Emotionally Focused Therapy is based on attachment theory, the idea that relationships flourish when partners feel safe and secure with one another. EFT helps each person respond in more receptive, loving ways toward one another. The goal is to create a secure connection.


Unlike other therapies that may concentrate on providing “tools” or scripting responses to each other, EFT goes deeper and reaches the root of relationship discontent. The therapy gets to the heart of the matter by focusing on underlying, vulnerable emotions. EFT restructures relationships by helping partners have more vulnerable and clear conversations with each other.


Is EFT Just Talking About Feelings?


Definitely not! While EFT explores deeper, vulnerable emotions, it involves much more than that. A skilled EFT therapist helps you and your partner figure out what’s getting in the way of secure connection. Couples can have a negative cycle, where they get stuck in a pattern of disconnect with each other. In EFT, you’ll figure out the pattern—so you both can break it. Once you start breaking the pattern and eventually replacing the negative cycle with a positive one—you and your significant other will develop a stronger and more secure connection. You both will learn how to reach for one another and form secure, loving bonds.


Sign Me Up!


If you’re interested in EFT, but aren’t yet ready for formal therapy, check out the book “Hold Me Tight” by Dr. Sue Johnson, the co-creator of EFT. This is a wonderful introduction to Emotionally Focused Therapy that you can read individually or with your partner. The book also has been developed into a relationship enhancement program, called Hold Me Tight Online.


If you prefer a more hands-on workbook, check out “Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy for Dummies,” by Brent Bradley and James Furrow. This practical book guides you through EFT basics and offers exercises you can try at home with your significant other.


If you’re ready to start your journey with an EFT therapist and want to learn ways to improve your relationship, you can search for therapists at ICEEFT.com, based on location. If you live locally in Arizona, you can search at AZEFT.com. The websites categorize therapists according to level of EFT training.


--Author Holly Sullivan is a certified EFT therapist practicing in Phoenix, Arizona. She offers both in-person and virtual sessions for Arizona residents. She is passionate about being a couples therapist and helping relationships create secure, loving connections.


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