EFT for couples is divided into three stages. Steps 1 through 4 of Stage 1 constitute the “Assessment and Cycle De-escalation” stage. The second stage is “Changing Interaction Patterns and Creating New Bonds” and consists of steps 5, 6, and 7. The final two steps make up a stage called “Consolidation and Integration.”
STAGE 1: ASSESSMENT AND CYCLE DE-ESCALATION
1. Assessment and Alliance: Assessment starts and continues throughout the process which includes a relationship history. It also includes Identify primary issues of concern such as conflict issues and how these issues create core conflicts or blocks that serve to separate and disconnect the partners.
2. Identify negative interactional patterns in the relationship that occur on a day-to-day basis. Work with your therapist to trace past patterns and map them out (unless infidelity is an issue).
3. Begin to recognize how behaviors are connected to surface or reactive emotions, that mask deeper emotions and how they impact each partner and create a negative interactional response. Deeper emotions that were previously not shared are touched upon in order for each partner to start to understand one another in a different way as safety is being built which begins to slow down the cycle.
4. With the help of the therapist, partners are helped to reframe their behaviors in the cycle in order to realize, not only how they have been fueling the cycle, but that they are able to see how their reaches toward or away from one another are positive.
STAGE 2: CHANGING INTERACTIONAL POSITIONS AND CREATING NEW BONDING EVENTS
5. Partners are safely helped to share their deeper emotions and disowned attachment needs with the significant other in a ways that had been previously hidden from the partner and themselves. This stage of the therapy happens once the negative cycles have begun to remit and are replaced with more calm.
6. The listening partner is able to more empathically attune and accept the other partner’s deeper core emotions with compassion. There may be times when new emotions not previously heard may take the partner by surprise and require deeper and further processing.
7. The EFT therapist guides you to express your attachment needs and longings, including your fears while feeling supported by the partner. The couple continues on the path working more deeply and listening with acceptance and empathy. This is about being ‘with’ each other as each is more accessible, responsive and engaged.
STAGE 3: CONSOLIDATION/ INTEGRATION
8. Continue to build on ways to apply new yet, deeply held emotions with the ability to be ‘with’ each other emotionally and empathically in order to process old problems and areas of concern.
9. Consolidate new positions and cycles of emotional closeness and attachment by blending all the newly developing skills with the awareness of closeness and deeper bonds. Begin to work together by processing future plans and how connection can be different in the future. Celebrate each partners amazing efforts and the beautiful risks that have been taken.
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