I help you focus on the resolution, not the problem.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Emotionally Focused Therapy for Couples?
Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) for couples is a highly effective type of marital therapy to improve your relationship and deepen your emotional and physical intimacy. For decades, marital therapy has been a relatively unsuccessful, frustrating venture, focusing on communication rules and behavioral contracts between partners. But love relationships are not businesses, and it turns out that rules and contracts don't work all that well when couples are lonely, angry, or hurting. Instead, what really seems to be important are the attachments couples have with each other, and problems within relationships come from patterns or ways of relating that cause couples to disconnect emotionally.
Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT), as developed by Sue Johnson (author of Hold Me Tight and Love Sense), gets to the heart of the couple's loneliness and pain, and helps the relationship to heal from the bottom-up. This means that, for example, instead of being told how to communicate better, divide chores more equally, and act more like happy couples, partners are guided to experience moments of emotional bonding within the therapy session, that in turn create deeper, more loving relationships.
Research shows EFT has an excellent improvement rate, with most couples (70-75%) able to turn their relationships around from distressed to securely connected in 15-20 sessions, and with 90% of couples reporting that they were significantly improved.
EFT helps address the core questions we tend to ask ourselves in our most important relationships: Do I matter deeply to my partner? Will she be there for me when I really need her? Can I count on him to have my back? Do I feel secure enough in my relationship to relax and be my real, authentic self? In other words, when I reach out for my partner, is he/she emotionally available and responsive to me?
These questions tend to be at the heart of how we relate to each other. If we receive a “no” answer, or a “maybe” to any of them, we can be left feeling very alone, and we might react in some very predictable but unhelpful and destructive ways.
EFT is all about making sense of those predictable but unhelpful patterns of relating, and building better, more satisfying ways of connecting that leave you feeling more open, trusting, and understood.
Important to EFT is the idea that partners in relationships are not individually at fault. Instead, the unhelpful pattern is seen as a negative cycle, and the cycle becomes the focus of change. This is true whether you are fighting the same fight every day, living like roommates, or unable to be intimate with each other at all. This is true even if there has been an affair, or one of you has done something that's left the other wounded and wondering if trust can ever be restored. And relatively healthy relationships can be made even more intimate, connected, and secure.
How do I know if I need therapy?
The average couple experiences marital discord or disconnection for six years before seeking help. Individuals struggle on their own for months or years with depression and anxiety hoping their symptoms will simply go away. Feeling stuck like this is a good sign that you might benefit from a trained mental health practitioner, and is often a first step towards true health. A therapist can listen to your concerns in a way you may never have been listened to before and is trained in treatment methods specific to your particular problem. It is important to discuss your situation openly and honestly with a potential therapist before deciding to begin treatment.
Are there different types of therapists?
There are many different types of mental health practitioners. A clinical psychologist (PhD) must have a doctorate in psychology, be licensed by the state in which they are practicing, and have completed training in psychotherapy. Additionally, psychologists are specialists in the scientific process of research design and are trained to administer, analyze, and evaluate clinical tests that measure psychological functioning. They cannot prescribe medications.
A psychiatrist (MD) is trained first in medical school and chooses psychiatry as a specialty. They are trained in the prescription of psychotropic medications and must be licensed by the state in which they are practicing. Generally, psychiatrists choose not to provide psychotherapy but will often work collaboratively with a psychologist or licensed clinical social worker.
A Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) has a master's degree in social work, counseling, or a related field and must be licensed by the state to provide counseling. They are specialists in helping individuals cope with social and family problems and dealing with government or social agencies. They cannot do most forms of psychological testing, and they cannot prescribe medications.
What kinds of different therapies are there?
There are many different types of psychotherapy, and within each type there are differences. Psychotherapy is truly as unique as the psychotherapist. Generally, the three main types of psychotherapy are cognitive-behavioral, psychodynamic, and interpersonal. Cognitive-behavioral therapy helps a person to recognize her own negative thoughts and behaviors and replace them with positive thoughts and behaviors. Psychodynamic therapy helps a person to look within and uncover hidden emotional conflicts and unresolved problems from childhood which serve to influence current behavior in maladaptive ways. Interpersonal therapy focuses on a person's interpersonal relationships and issues of attachment, social skills, and social support, often using the relationship with the therapist as the primary vehicle for behavioral change.
I believe that each type of therapy can be helpful for certain people and certain problems. It is a delicate art to discover the true nature of the problem and work with the individual in the most effective way possible. This type of therapy is generally considered eclectic, or evidence-based. I consider myself this type of therapist, and in most cases I will choose treatment methods that have proven effective for each person's particular problem.
Sometimes medication is needed along with therapy. If this is the case, the therapist can work collaboratively with a psychiatrist or a physician for the best possible treatment. In fact, many studies indicate that psychotherapy combined with medication is the most effective treatment for some people, especially those who are clinically depressed.
Is psychotherapy effective?
In a 1995 article by Consumer Reports regarding the effectiveness of psychotherapy, 90% of the 4,000 consumers who reported receiving psychotherapy were helped at least somewhat, and 50% were helped quite a bit. More recent research of EFT for couples have demonstrated effectiveness rates of 75%-90%. We have all known people in our lives who have benefited a great deal from psychotherapy or counseling, but the success of therapy often depends on the relationship between the therapist and the patient and the degree of honesty and trust between them. For this reason, it is important that once you've chosen a therapist, give some time for the relationship to develop and be honest with your feelings. In fact, the thoughts and feelings you find yourself “editing” are often the ones that are important in therapy.
What are your fees?
My fees per session are competitive with those charged by most clinical psychologists. Please contact me for a fee quote. I have chosen not to join any managed care insurance companies (see related article within this website). However, I can provide you with a detailed statement for you to file with your insurance company if you desire. You will still need to pay your fee before each session and then keep the reimbursement sent to you by the insurance company.
Are there any books that you would recommend?
Hold Me Tight, S. Johnson Love Sense, S. Johnson Try and make me! R. Levy & B. O'Hanlon How to be an adult, David Richo Worry. E. M. Hallowell. Ballantine Books, 1997.
Why Do You Not Accept Managed Care Reimbursement for Psychological Services?
An important part of your psychological treatment is your “informed consent.” In order for you to make an informed choice, please review the following information about managed care for psychological services before making your choice regarding accessing those benefits. Click here to download the full PDF version of this article.