One thing that is almost certain to be said in my office at some point is, "I don't get why this is so hard." I have always said I am blessed to have amazing clients and that continues to hold true. The people I work with are smart, driven, compassionate and competent. So, when they find themselves a bit stuck in session it can be confusing for them and their partner.
When we have "communication problems," it is not for lack of trying, that is for sure! By the time I see people in my office they have been trying their butts off to communicate... to the point of questioning their foundational communication skills and their sanity. If you are reading this you can likely relate. My husband and I have been married for almost 18 years (October) and we have been there, too. Thank God for His grace and mercy... and for Emotionally Focused Therapy. :)
One of the things we do in Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) with couples is to help clients organize their emotional experience. When it isn't organized we don't have a clear understanding of what is happening within us, no clear language to communicate that experience and, therefore, no great moves to use when interacting with our partner. We have old moves... patterns we've adopted over the years of how to handle emotionally charged experiences. These old moves often lead to confusion, frustration and more distance between you and your partner. Instead of seeking out something new, we tend to just try harder at the old, ineffective and stale moves, hoping something will give soon. Unfortunately, this approach of trying the same things "harder" often leads us to feeling hopeless, defeated and lonely in our relationship.
Often for clients in session, this is the first time that anyone has tried to help them organize their emotional experience in any way. We are often rewarded for quickly shutting down our emotional experiences by "getting over it," "picking ourselves up by the bootstraps," "sucking it up," and "going after it." I actually feel there is a lot of value in that sense of perseverance but believe there is a time and place for that mindset. The way we approach life set backs, road blocks, goals or pressure at work is not what often works well in our intimate relationships. This is why it can feel so hard to try something different. Our relationship has unique needs and there are specifically different moves that will allow us to feel successful in connecting with our partner.
The work we do in session focuses specifically on your relationship, the key moves that tend to cause pain and the shifting into new experiences with your partner that create healing. This kind of shift takes work and intentional energy and it is not easy. We are doing something new, trying new ways of interacting and connecting that might feel different than anything you've ever done before. An Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) trained clinician helps facilitate these interactions in session to allow couples to practice new skills. The more practice you have, the more successful you will become in navigating these moves on your own. Our work is very interactive and engaged.
I am not always able to take new clients because, fortunately, I am blessed with referrals of past clients and fellow colleagues. However, I am part of a fantastic community of trained EFT therapists in the Knoxville area who do this work and have a passion for helping people heal. If I am not taking new clients I will always offer information of trusted referrals in our community. Please do not hesitate to reach out.
Have a wonderful week,
Licensed Professional Counselor
9219 Middlebrook Pike
Knoxville, TN 37931
I am also a contributing mental health writer at