The path to a secure bond: Emotionally focused couple therapy

University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Journal of Clinical Psychology (Impact Factor: 2.12). 05/2006; 62(5):597-609. DOI: 10.1002/jclp.20251
Source: PubMed


Emotionally focused therapy (EFT) for couples combines experiential and systemic techniques to expand emotional responses and cycles of interaction. This approach has also been used to treat depression, chronic illness, and anxiety disorders. EFT appears to translate well across culture and class, focusing on universal key emotions and attachment needs. From the EFT perspective, adult love is a hardwired, adaptive attachment response. The therapist's in-session focus is on the processing of emotions and key interactional patterns as they occur in the present, because emotional experiences are the primary instruments of change in this approach. The therapist is a relationship consultant who offers a safe platform whereby each partner can distill, expand, and transform experience and find new ways to connect with the other. The case presented here illustrates the three stages of EFT: de-escalation, restructuring interactions, and consolidation.

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    • "The therapist begins to identify the interactional patterns which maintain relationship distress, and help the couple to recognize any unacknowledged emotions underlying these patterns. The therapist works to reframe the couples' presenting problems in terms of these interactional patterns , or the emotional cycle by which attachment needs are unmet (Johnson & Greenman, 2006). "
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    ABSTRACT: Research has documented associations between relationship quality and eating disorders; however few have explored treating eating disorders with couple therapy. Emotionally focused therapy (EFT) is a compelling framework for treating couples where one partner has an eating disorder. A feminist approach to EFT offers the possibility of adding to the knowledge base of etiological factors that contribute to the development of eating disorders. A case example is given demonstrating how EFT can be adapted to address the fear, shame, and secrecy often associated with eating disorders within the context of larger social schemes which contribute to eating disorders.
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    • "As this study makes clear, insecure attachment orientations in either member of a couple is associated with depressive symptoms, and depressive symptoms in one member of a couple relate to depressive symptoms in the other. Couples-based mental health interventions, such as Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy (Johnson & Greenman, 2006), may be useful in addressing the interpersonal nature of depressive symptomatology and the attachment needs of each individual within a couple, especially for young couples cohabitating and/or electing to stay together through pregnancy. "
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    ABSTRACT: The current study investigates the relationship between romantic attachment style and depressive symptoms between both members of pregnant adolescent and young adult couples. Participants were 296 pregnant young females (mean age = 18.7) and their male partners (mean age = 21.3; 592 total participants) who were recruited from obstetrics and gynecology clinics in Connecticut. The dimensions of avoidant and anxious romantic attachment were assessed using the Experiences in Close Relationships Inventory. Depressive symptoms were measured using the Center for Epidemiological Studies-Depression Scale. Results showed that avoidant attachment and anxious attachment were significantly positively related to depressive symptoms. Multilevel modeling for partner effects revealed that anxious attachment and depressive symptoms in partners were significantly positively associated with depressive symptoms CONCLUSION: Findings underscore the importance of considering couples-based approaches to supporting the transition to parenthood and developing the necessary self and relationship skills to manage attachment needs and relationship challenges.
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    • "They call for a focus in future research on complex attachment injuries to be sure that the same steps toward resolution apply to more distressed relationships than the ones in their sample. They also point out one of the important limitations of the task-analytic method: the inability to make causal links among process, task resolution, and treatment outcome (Makinen & Johnson, 2006). Without large, randomized control studies, it is not possible to rule out the possibility that other factors beside treatment might affect observed out- comes. "
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