06 Mar How Emotion Focused Therapy Can Improve Your Family Relationships

Trudy Jacobsen | Relationships | Family

Being a part of a family unit can be both rewarding and challenging, all at the same time.

On one hand, your family consists of irreplaceable bonds you’ll keep throughout your lifetime. On the other hand, there are days when the very same people drive you up the wall.

Such is family life. It’s sometimes beautiful and sometimes messy.

To improve your family relationships, it’s important to understand the dynamics of your family interactions. In other words, you need to know what emotions drive each family member to behave the way they do.

Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) can help you accomplish this. Here’s how it works.

The Goal of EFT

Most people participate in counselling to produce results. Some may want to handle their emotions more effectively. Others seek to improve their interpersonal relationships.

While each person has a unique goal, clients and counsellors have one aim—encourage positive outcomes.

When it comes to EFT, the goal is to motivate behavioural change by understanding patterns through attachment or bonding.

Some key elements in EFT include:

  • Examining relationship patterns
  • Understanding the motive behind those patterns
  • Developing skills to connect with others more effectively
  • Practising self-validation and validating others
  • Continuing to become more emotionally intelligent by honing in on emotions

Essentially, all family members have a need for connection and validation from the family. Furthermore, how we feel and express ourselves plays a big role in arranging and regulating relationships in a family.

In other words, we all impact each other. You impact each of your family members, and they each impact you as well.

How EFT Works to Improve Family Relationships

Knowing what EFT entails may help to wrap your mind around what it aims to do. However, how does this actually play out in a family unit?

Understanding Interactions

To begin with, a counsellor will observe your family’s interactions. The point of this is to access the underlying key emotional drivers, influencing certain behaviours.

As you may have imagined, these behaviours impact family interactions. Thus, affecting the quality of relationships.

Motivating Change

When we understand and validate the emotions causing us to act in a particular way, it helps us to make necessary changes to improve our interactions.

What you’ll likely discover is a sort of “aha” moment when you realize why a negative pattern exists in your family. As a result of this moment of revelation—understand each other’s needs more—you’ll be motivated to respond accordingly.

Becoming Accessible and Responsive

As alluded to before, the goal of EFT is to change the family dynamic. This is accomplished by encouraging each family member to be more emotionally accessible and responsive.

The best part? This approach creates a secure attachment for young people to grow, develop and explore the world. Furthermore, improving your family relationships typically trickles down into other areas of life—friendships, co-workers, teammates, etc.

Why EFT Actually Works

Confidence is touted throughout the world in sports advertisements, makeup commercials, and clothing line pitches. Yet, most of us have realised by now that confidence isn’t a result of what you put on your body. Rather, this idea of confidence grows from the inside of a person.

A family unit works to plant the seed of confidence, nurturing it until that individual family member has deep roots and strong limbs. As in nature, however, this doesn’t always go as smoothly as planned. Life happens that way.

EFT actually works because it focuses on present-day issues. It takes the tree—no matter how big, small, gnarled, or twisted—and encourages it to take root again.

In real life, the more secure a young person feels in their relationship with caregivers, the more confident they are to expand and explore their world. You can see how security equates to strong roots and can almost picture swaying branches exploring the horizon.

Consider that securely attached children are more self-confident and independent. They are also more resilient and able to deal with life stressors.

If you’re feeling disjointed in your family life, I would like to help. Improving your family relationships is possible. Please contact me today to learn about how I can support you. trudyj@clscc.com.au