The Relationship Expert
Licensed Psychologist in Arroyo Grande & Los Osos
The Couples Counseling Difference
I use an approach called, Emotionally Focused Therapy. Pioneered by Sue Johnson, Ph.D., it is supported by years of research. Many couples counselors focus on communication exercises, and that definitely helps. But EFT takes us deeper, to the foundation of emotional security.
At the heart of every relationship is a longing for connection, for attachment with one another. The need we all have to connect (or bond) is hard-wired into our DNA from infancy. When it comes to dating or marriage relationships, every communication, every complaint, even every snide comment—is an attempt to connect.
I have couples who struggle with this idea. They come to see me with emotional wounds inflicted by their partners. Can they really be expected to believe their spouse or partner was trying to connect when they said those hurtful things?
There’s no denying that we’ve all said things that are hurtful, even reckless. But underneath our offense, we are asking our loved one a question. “Am I really important to you?” “Is our relationship safe?” “Do you have my back?”
Emotionally Focused Therapy In Action
One of the most powerful steps to lasting change for dating and married couples is when, through our sessions together, they begin to see these hidden questions. Through practice, you will start to recognize the attempt to connect—both in yourself and in your beloved. Where you once may have perceived your lover’s actions as nothing more than intentional cruelty, you now have the opportunity to hear the question, “Do I still matter to you?” You’ll gain the insight to stop destructive fight cycles (called demon dialogues) before they escalate.
To draw an analogy, new car owners remark that after they’ve bought a car, they start to see that same model everywhere. In a similar way, you may start to become an attachment sharp-shooter; spotting underlying attachment needs in the most unlikely places and catching loved ones completely off guard.
To learn more about your relationship from an Emotionally Focused Therapy perspective, I recommend the book, Hold Me Tight by Sue Johnson.
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“Going through the process and having her support changed the way I was thinking…I think everyone’s needs are different but I also think that Dr. Lisa is willing to meet people right where they are.” Read more…