Key Ways Validation is Important for Reducing Anxiety in EFT Couples Therapy

Some conflict is inevitable in any relationship. What’s not inevitable is getting both partners on board with couples therapy.

Work with a therapist can be a sensitive subject. A common barrier for partners is discomfort about sharing their most intimate truths.

One partner may not feel safe doing so in front of the other. Or, one or both spouses may have a sense of apprehension about “airing dirty laundry” in front of a third party. They may fear being judged (even silently) by the counselor. It’s also not unusual for both partners to secretly worry about being ganged up on if the therapist takes the other’s side.

EFT Couples Therapy factors in all of these very valid concerns.

What is EFT Couples Therapy?

Emotionally Focused Therapy or EFT is a short-term therapeutic approach for couples. Founded on the concepts of attachment theory, EFT shines a light on how a couple interacts. Understanding their attachment style can empower both partners to express their needs and emotions more productively.

The bulk of the 8 to 20 sessions involves a de-escalation of emotional stress. De-escalation relates specifically to this post in that it can reduce the anxiety of the interactions. EFT accepts the concerns mentioned above and aims to address them as the couple works towards a deeper bond. Simply put, EFT is ideal for a couple in conflict. It is also ideal for a couple in which one or both partners feels apprehensive about starting therapy.

Key Ways Validation is Important for Reducing Anxiety in EFT Couples Therapy

This process begins with the EFT therapist being a validator. They model this approach by accepting that a couple’s emotional responses must be viewed in context with the underlying issues. In that sense, each partner’s reactions make perfect sense.

Here are some ways your therapist’s example can reduce anxiety:

  • You may feel shame when expressing strong emotions or recounting a reaction you had to your partner. Guided by your counselor, you will learn that it’s understandable to express such behaviors and responses in the midst of a struggle. The goal then is to de-escalate and to re-imagine your attachment style to prevent things from getting to that point again.
  • During the early sessions, as your emotions are validated, both partners will begin to metaphorically lay down their weapons. The stakes will be lowered, leaving space for new approaches.
  • Guided by your EFT therapist, you will begin reframing your interactions. For example, if your husband triggered you, of course, you felt upset. In this state, yelling might result. Why? You love your partner and want nothing more for them to understand how you feel. Reframing your conflict as collective concern for your relationship helps create room to develop better communication methods.

The value of these and other EFT techniques lies in the reduction of anxiety. When a couple can communicate openly and honestly without the barriers of fear, defensiveness, and worry, incredible progress can be made. In such an environment, couples can do the following:

  • Learn to identify their hidden emotions
  • Dealing with those emotions and express them in a healthy manner
  • Recognize and respect each other’s unique needs
  • Strengthen and sustain their bond by better preparing for inevitable future issues

Is EFT Couples Therapy Right For You?

Anxiety is common. Up to 40 million Americans are impacted. That it impacts you individually and threatens your relationship is nothing to be ashamed of. Thankfully, treatment is available; no one has to suffer in silence.

For you and your partner, the short-term approach of Emotionally Focused Therapy might be the path toward relationship satisfaction you need. Please read more about couples counseling and reach out soon. I’m here to discuss this option and more.

For more information on Anxiety Treatment, click here.