sue johnson eft

Is a Ghost from the Past Haunting Your Marriage or Love Relationship?

Ghosts from the past can be unwelcome intruders in your marriage or love relationship

Ghosts from the past can be unwelcome intruders in your marriage or love relationship

Are you or your partner or spouse experiencing symptoms in your marriage or love relationship that could be related to a history of trauma? A common dialogue between a couple where one partner has a history of trauma might go like this:

Chris: Don't you dare come up from behind me and grab me like that again! I can't stand that, and you did it anyway.

Pat: What? Are you serious? I just came up and gave you a love squeeze. Why are you freaking out so much? You're impossible. I don't want to be with someone who is so cold and frigid. Ice queen... that is who you are.

Trauma is like a ghost from the past, an unwelcome intruder that many times can be strongly affecting a relationship without either partner seeing it. With a keen awareness, you'll notice these ghots come up through specific symptoms that may include a partner or spouse re-living the past trauma without knowing the partner is going through a trance into the past, numbing and detaching after being exposed to the thing that reminds him or her of the trauma, avoiding situations that are somehow linked to the trauma (a common source of sexual problems in a marriage or love relationship), being hypervigilant around the cue of the trauma, and experiencing irritability when something is connecting with the trauma.

When a trauma survivor is able to turn to his or her partner or spouse and ask to be held and comforted during a flashback, rather that to detach or hurt himself or herself, a new trust and sense of hope can emerge for the survivor.

Traumas involving key caregivers are "violations of human connection" (Herman, 1992). More than anyone else, your partner or spouse has the ability to help you heal from past relationship traumas. A partner or spouse can have the most effective healing power over past traumas for the person who has experienced past relationship betrayals and abuse. Partners or spouses can become healers.

If you are in a safe and secure marriage or love relationship, your immune system is more likely to be functioning well, and your ability to cope during stressful life events is significantly increased. In a distressed marriage or love relationship, both partners in the couple likely experience more depression and anxiety symptoms. The sense of community usually decreases in a distressed relationship, so your body needs the help of your partner or spouse even more.

In a secure connection, you are able to face your fears and maintain a strength that helps you cope, regardless of the stress. If you feel isolated and alienated from the larger world, you are much more vulnerable to outside dangers.

When you or your partner or spouse have been subjected to physical, emotional, or sexual abuse, your health may be impacted in each of those areas. Re-experiencing physical sensations can be effectively treated through exposure therapy, known as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). Relationship symptoms do not respond in the same way to CBT, but are much more likely to respond to relationship therapy when a partner or spouse can serve as a source of comfort and safety. It is a partner or spouse that lies next to the survivor of trauma in the middle of the night, a time when anxiety is often peaking, as memories are being processed in the mind. If a partner or spouse doesn't know how to respond in key moments when threat is perceived, he or she may become part of the problem instead of offering key elements of healing.

At the Loving at Your Best Plan, the therapist works to address the symptoms of the trauma, and much more. A focus is to help create a safe and secure emotional bond between the couple in the marriage or love relationship, a connection that promotes safety and calms danger and threat. A history of trauma intensifies the need for a safe connection, and trust is the basis for a secure relationship.

Relationships where one or both partners have trauma in their histories are more likely to have intense negative patterns of interacting with each other, and without an effective intervention, these patterns can kill the relationship. Therapists at the Loving at Your Best Plan integrate top-rated interventions for couples with difficult and challenging histories, especially trauma. These therapies include schema therapy, emotionally focused therapy, Interpersonal Neurobiology, and Gottman Method Couples Therapy.

Do you or the person that you love have a history that includes trauma on an emotional, physical, or sexual level? If so, have you found ways to effectively navigate the symptoms in your marriage or love relationship in NYC? Share your thoughts.

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Source: Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy with Trauma Survivors: Strengthening Attachment Bonds by Sue Johnson, PhD.

 

The Loving at Your Best Plan: It's How You Love That Counts

The Loving at Your Best Plan: It's How You Love That Counts

Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy for Dummies: Released Today!

We are excited to announce the publication today, July 29, 2013 of "Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy for Dummies" by Brent Bradley and James Furrow, a nice supplement to "Hold Me Tight," the book by the creator of Emotionally Focused Therapy, Sue Johnson. You can purchase your copy in paperback now by clicking on the book below (directing you to the Barnes and Noble website), on Amazon.com, or your favorite local bookstore. (It is not yet available for download on Kindle or iBooks) 

Overview from Barnes and Noble Description of Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy for Dummies:

You may purchase Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy for Dummies at Barnes & Noble, Amazon, or your favorite local bookstore.

You may purchase Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy for Dummies at Barnes & Noble, Amazon, or your favorite local bookstore.

A practical, down-to-earth guide to using the world's most successful approach to couples therapy

One of the most successful therapeutic approaches to healing dysfunctional relationships, emotionally focused couples therapy provides clients with powerful insights into how and why they may be suppressing their emotions and teaches them practical ways to deal with those feelings more constructively for improved relationships. Unlike cognitive-behavioural therapy, which provides effective short-term coping skills, emotionally focused therapy often is prescribed as a second-stage treatment for couples with lingering emotional difficulties. Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy For Dummies introduces readers to this ground-breaking therapy, offering simple, proven strategies and tools for dealing with problems with bonding, attachment and emotions, the universal cornerstones of healthy relationships.

  • An indispensable resource for readers who would like to manage their relationship problems independently through home study
  • Delivers powerful techniques for dealing with unpleasant emotions, rather than repressing them and for responding constructively to complex relationship issues
  • The perfect introduction to EFT basics for therapists considering expanding their practices to include emotionally focused therapy methods
  • Packed with fascinating and instructive case studies and examples of EFT in action, from the authors' case files
  • Provides valuable guidance on finding, selecting and working with the right EFT certified therapist

From the Back Cover of Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy for Dummies on Amazon.com

Learn to:

  • Grasp the basics of emotionally focused therapy (EFT)
  • Work more effectively with the emotions essential to lasting love
  • Mend complex issues in your relationship

A down-to-earth guide to one of the world's leading approaches to couple therapy!

Emotionally focused therapy (EFT) helps you find deeper satisfaction and more effective ways to connect with your partner at a profound emotional level by teaching you powerful ways to transform negative patterns and to build a stronger bond. Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy For Dummies will introduce you to this ground-breaking therapy, which has been consistently proven to be one of the most successful therapies for couples wanting to improve their relationships and resolve chronic couple distress and dissatisfaction. Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy For Dummies is your one-stop resource to this increasingly popular approach to healing relationships.

  • Start with the basics of EFT — understand the power of emotion in your relationship, and identify the three levels of emotional experience
  • Delve into the intricacies of your relationship — find the common patterns of couple conflict and the roles you play within them
  • Develop a solution together — become familiar with how to find intimacy in your relationship in new ways
  • Identify when you may need couple therapy — know which questions to ask therapists before you make an appointment

Open the book and find:

  • The fundamentals of emotionally focused couple therapy
  • Exercises to try at home with your partner
  • Ways to stay away from negative patterns and roles
  • The three fighting styles, and how to work through them
  • Tips on dealing with infidelity
  • How to find an EFT therapist that's right for you
  • Ten myths about sex

About the Author

Brent Bradley, PhD, is Associate Professor of Family Therapy at the University of Houston-Clear Lake, and president of The Couple Zone (www.couplezone.org). Dr. Bradley is a certified emotionally focused couple therapist, supervisor, and trainer. James Furrow, PhD, is Professor of Marital and Family Therapy at the Fuller Graduate School of Psychology. Dr. Furrow is executive director of the Los Angeles Center for EFT and a certified emotionally focused couple therapist, supervisor, and trainer.

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