Many times, psychotherapy is seen as a means for eliminating unpleasant or unwanted emotions. Feelings of sadness, guilt, grief, and anxiety are all viewed as negative emotions that are a hindrance to positive mental health. Although this is true in part, emotions also provide useful information and guiding wisdom that can influence growth and bring about beneficial change.
Emotion-Focused Therapy, or EFT, is a type of psychotherapy that is based upon the principle that emotions are key to human existence. They define who we are and direct our actions. Through EFT, individuals, couples, and even families can learn how to develop healthier relationships and form stronger, more secure bonds. If you are struggling with problems in your marriage, have difficulty getting along with certain family members, or suffer from seemingly unrelated mental health issues such as depression, addiction, or anxiety, Emotion-Focused Therapy may be able to help. To learn more or to schedule an appointment, contact Blair Wellness Group for therapy in Beverly Hills.
The Importance of Emotions
It makes sense that thoughts, behaviors, and emotions would be part of any psychotherapy treatment, but EFT recognizes emotions as being tied to our most essential needs and therefore they are instrumental in helping people feel loved, protected, and understood. If an unhealthy relationship has caused someone to feel negative, distressing emotions, they may seek to “feel better” or suppress the emotions they feel. However, Emotion-Focused Therapy teaches that even uncomfortable emotions can be beneficial as they provide useful information that can guide action and be used to accelerate therapeutic change.
How EFT Can Help
The ultimate goal of Emotion-Focused Therapy is to place attention on the importance of emotions in addressing depression, addiction, relationship issues, and other mental health challenges. The first step is to increase emotional awareness. This is often easier said than done, especially when the natural reaction is to try to avoid feelings and experiences that are negative, unpleasant, or distressing. EDT teaches to instead acknowledge unpleasant emotions so they can potentially be used as an instrument for growth and change.
Once someone learns to become more aware of their emotions, they are taught how to regulate and ultimately transform them. Regulation starts by evaluating whether or not emotions are helpful or unhelpful. When unhelpful emotions are identified, Emotion-Focused Therapy teaches how to change them while also developing healthy mechanisms for coping. Through EFT, people learn to experience, rather than suppress, their emotions and ultimately come to see them as valuable sources of information instead of painful or difficult states. Seeing and using emotions in this way is particularly useful for addressing mental health problems such as anxiety, depression, mood disorders, and relationship issues.
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Techniques Used in EFT
There are nine total steps included in three strategic phases involved in EFT.
Phase 1: Assessment and De-Escalation
In the first phase of EFT, the goal is to identify the area of concern and the negative emotions related to it. Individuals learn to also identify the behavior patterns that make matters worse or increase conflict.
Phase 2: Restructuring
In the second phase, individuals learn how to express their emotions and emotional needs while also learning how to understand the emotions and emotional needs of others. For instance, when a couple is having relationship problems, the restructuring phase of EFT helps them to learn about each other’s needs in order to be more responsive and attentive to them.
Consolidation is the final phase and it involves learning new skills that nurture positive reinforcement and bonding between individuals, couples, or families. Patients may learn new ways of communicating along with how to use these new methods to promote healthy interactions in everyday life.
Uses for Emotion-Focused Therapy
Emotion-Focused Therapy is typically used to help adults address a variety of emotion-related problems in their intimate relationships. In addition to helping individuals learn more about themselves and the needs of others, EFT has also been shown to be effective in the treatment of a variety of mental health concerns including:
- Eating disorders
- Borderline personality disorder
- Chronic illness
Benefits of Emotion-Focused Therapy
Emotion-Focused Therapy has traditionally been used to help couples struggling with challenges in their relationship. However, EFT can also be applied to other scenarios including those involving families or even individuals who want to learn how to interact with others in a healthier way.
Improved Interpersonal Awareness
EFT helps to nurture positive listening and communication skills that help people become more aware of other’s needs. Many couples experience the same angry conversations over and over, but Emotion-Focused Therapy can teach people how to approach problems peacefully and from a place of empathy.
Improved Emotional Functioning
Many relationships are based on automatic, negative reactions and responses. EFT helps people learn how to talk about problems without making the other person feel as though they are being attacked. It can help to identify attachment insecurities and emotions that are driving the destructive behaviors in your relationship.
Having a better understanding of your emotions and the emotions of others, can help you to look at your problems and disagreements differently, see things from another person’s perspective, and allow you and your partner, friend, or family member to work together to find solutions instead of pointing fingers. As a result, individuals can enhance their connections to others, build stronger relationships, and ultimately improve their mental wellbeing in the process.
Contact Blair Wellness Group for Emotion Focused Therapy
Positive relationships are at the heart of mental wellbeing because they provide comfort, support, and security. However, in some instances, relationships can be counterproductive and contribute to unhealthy and distressing symptoms that threaten emotional wellness. If you’re struggling with an unhealthy relationship or have difficulty maintaining relationships in general, emotion-focused therapy may be able to help.
At Blair Wellness Group, we offer a personalized approach to therapy designed to achieve optimal results in the least amount of time. If you’re searching for a way to strengthen your relationships, build a healthy marriage, or just want to understand how your emotions are affecting your mental wellbeing, we can help. To learn more or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Blair, please contact our office at 310-999-4996.
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