When you and your partner are meeting with a couples therapist for the first time, it is likely that you will discuss what you want out of therapy. Your therapist might ask, “What has brought you to therapy?”, “What would you like to get out of our time together?”, “If you were to wake up tomorrow and your relationship was going the way you wish it were, what would it look like?” or “If therapy was successful, what would be different in the relationship?” All of these questions can be useful in understanding your goals or desires for the time and resources you are investing into couples counselling.
Often, couples seek therapy wanting to communicate more effectively or perhaps their intimacy has changed and they want to become closer again. Maybe the couple has experienced a betrayal and needs support to work through all the challenges they are facing. Whatever the reasons that have led you to couples therapy may be, I would like to encourage you to include “to be securely attached to one another” as a reason to commit to therapy with your partner. When working with an Emotionally Focused therapist, which is rooted in an attachment perspective, creating secure bonds between partners is a natural outcome of the therapeutic process. Your EFT therapist will support you as a couple to create new conversations that strengthen your connection.
As humans, we are wired for this connection, though things in our lives may impact our ability to bond with those we love. Secure bonding in adulthood typically involves individuals who have a strong sense of self-worth and understand the value of close relationships. Securely attached adults know their partner is a safe place for them in times of distress. When you are securely attached, closeness and a need for others is a comfort rather than a concern (Johnson, 2019). Emotional security or balance is important for a wide variety of reasons that would be too long to type. That being said, some of the benefits that research shows include associations with more attunement and closeness in relationships; higher levels of sexual intimacy and satisfaction; increased resilience, optimism, self-esteem, compassion, and empathetic responsiveness; and stronger abilities to emotionally regulate, grasp different perspectives and being tolerant of those differences (Johnson, 2019).
As your couples therapist supports you in recognizing the pattern that has you stuck and guides you through authentic conversations, secure attachment can begin to take root. As partners become more accessible, responsive, and engaged to one another, secure attachment has room to bloom in the relationship and all the benefits that come along with it. My hope for the couples we work with is that they become each other’s safe space – a soft place to land when life is hard. If this sounds like something you would like to commit to, feel free to reach out to any one of us at The Couples Therapy Centre to start these new conversations.
Johnson, S. M. (2019). Attachment theory in practice: Emotionally focused therapy (EFT) with
individuals, couples, and families. Guilford Publications.