Couples Therapy/Premarital Counseling
Dr. Swartout can help you and your partner sort out your problems and build a strong relationship. She can also help you fine-tune a good relationship to make it better. Whether you are in the middle of a crisis, moving through a difficult transition time, or discovering unpleasant behaviors–Dr. Swartout can be a tremendous source of support, strength and growth. Dr. Swartout can be the third party who helps you work through anger, resentment or frustration, get to workable solutions, prevent a divorce, enhance your love life, or simply deepen the love you have for each other. When you’re struggling with your partner, it’s nice to know you’re not alone. Her greatest pleasure is seeing couples emerge from a difficult situation feeling more intimate and committed than they ever thought possible.
Dr. Swartout uses a model of therapy called Emotion Focused Therapy (EFT) when she works with couples and families. EFT is based on the observation that our most important relationships can trigger strong feelings. Relationships can be both a source of massive stress and pain – and a source of great comfort and joy. EFT helps couples and families learn to deal with these feelings together – in a positive way.
In couples therapy, Dr. Swartout will help you understand your needs in your relationship and help you respond to each others needs. She will also help you learn about the moments when you hurt each other in your “relationship dance” and how you can keep your emotional balance in those moments, then come close and express your softer feelings and needs, allowing you to build a secure and lasting bond with each other.
- Some couples ask…
- Learn How Dr. Swartout does Couples Therapy Using Emotion Focused Therapy for Couples
For premarital counseling, Dr. Swartout can teach you conflict resolution skills, administer introspective quizzes to expose more of your inner lives and past history with each other, practice real-life exercises to help couples practice cooperative decision-making and compromise before a crisis happens, and help couples discover and have the opportunity to change bad habits which threaten the viability of the relationship.
What is Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy?
History of EFT
Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy (EFT) is a structured approach to couples therapy that is based on the science of adult love and bonding (attachment). Developed in the 1980’s by Drs. Susan Johnson and Les Greenberg, EFT is a highly researched, effective and evidence-based theory that helps couples understand and respond to each other’s needs. EFT concepts have been validated by over 20 years of empirical research as well as research on the process of change and predictors of relationship success.
Studies show that 70-75% of couples working with an EFT therapist move from relationship distress to recovery during the course of therapy. Approximately 90% show significant improvements. The results of EFT therapy tend to be robust and long lasting, something that other modalities of couples therapy cannot claim.
How EFT Works
When we can’t find a safe, loving way to stay connected to our partner we go into a state of emotional pain and alarm. We automatically respond by protesting or withdrawal (fight or flight) when we feel this fear or panic. Our partner will then often respond with his or her own protest or withdrawal. This cycle is a “neural duet” between partners—they impact each other both physiologically and emotionally creating a feedback loop of negative interactions.
EFT is a systematic map of steps and stages that understands these cycles as the underpinnings of relationship distress. Couples are helped to create nurturance, love and connection in their relationships. Change strategies and interventions are specified within the EFT steps and stages. Couples learn to identify their cycle, the emotions underling the reactions and their parts in the dance as they come up in the session and at home. Couples learn to regulate their emotions and send clear, coherent emotional signals of their needs to their partner. They also learn how to respond in a healthy way to the signals that are sent to them.
Couples begin to actively create a new, positive cycle where they can express their needs and fears and create accessibility and responsiveness. When we can send clear attachment cues we actually pull our partner closer and create the safety, trust and support that we have been yearning for. EFT is a collaborative, experiential model that encourages couples to be involved in the deconstructing of the negative cycle and the creation of a new, secure relationship.
Evaluate Your Relationship: Take this Checkup
Couples Homework – to be completed for your first session: It is important that we do not ONLY focus on the hurtful/negative aspects of your relationship.
- Describe the relationship you would like to create.
- What do YOU need to do/change to become a more effective partner?
- How or why would this be difficult for you?
- How motivated are you to make that change?
- What is your level of motivation to work on your personal difficulties?
- If you know that you are breaking up, what do you need to do to split most effectively so that the least amount of wounding will take place?
Please read the following two articles before your first session. Underline what stands out to you and bring it to your first session.