On average, couples wait 6 years after the onset of relationship difficulties to enter therapy. By that time, both members of the couple engage in rigid, cyclical, and painful adaptations to the problems within their relationship. These adaptations lead to a sense of alienation rather than closeness and intimacy.
Problematic behaviors often result from emotions that are either unrecognized, or simply not expressed. Instead, the unexpressed emotions are communicated indirectly through behaviors that often bare little resemblance to the original emotion. These behaviors then solidify into patterns that are predictable and difficult to break, while the underlying emotions are never communicated. This, understandably, creates confusion. Each partner feels misunderstood.
EFT helps the couple to identify and break the habitual and counterproductive patterns, by understanding their contribution to the alienating cycle, as well as learning and integrating new ways of relating. Research demonstrates the effectiveness of Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) for distressed couples committed to working on their relationship.
I do not use EFT when there is active abuse occurring in the home, as the first and only order of business before any therapy can be done is to establish safety for both parties.