Written by Lee Ockenden, LMFT
Clinical Director, Life Compass
Some Thoughts on Couples Work
We always have and probably always will describe couples therapy has the most difficult work one might ever do. This being said it is also by far the most rewarding. Two people being raised with separate backgrounds, experiences, expectations, fears, desires and capacities, will surely present as challenges in any relationship.While many couples do seem to move through the different hills and valleys of a long-term marriage, many others either lack models in their own life or simply do not recognize these obstacles as normal developmental phases in the course of a long-term relationship.What couples typically call in for counseling for is to get “communication skills quote, “tools”, “anger management”.
While obtaining these skill sets certainly will do no harm they typically do not get deep enough to the core of the issues to create resolve and healing in a relationship.While a therapist can do very good work with an individual even the same therapist can have difficulty with the complexity in the nature of the relationship of a couple. For over 100 years therapists have been guessing and then obtaining training in different milieus to attempt to corner “what works” for couples.
Thanks to Sue Johnson, we now know what works. She has developed Emotionally Focused Therapy which is the most effective therapy ever designed for couples.
While obtaining an understanding of this therapy is not difficult even for the layperson it still requires an objective third-party in the role of the therapist to facilitate the deep healing possible between two people desiring an intimate and safe relationship.
Once a couple is oriented to the process of EFT and experiences safe relationship between themselves and their therapist real change can and does begin.What is truly amazing about this type of approach to therapy is that the issues in the relationship are less well of and then the couples desire to heal. Whether the issues revolve around addiction, infidelity, lack of trust, sexual issues, parenting dilemmas or even trauma, EFT focuses on the issues that matter rather than issues that distract away from what lies at the core.