Everyday couples come to therapy with symptoms of an emotional disconnection from each other. The symptoms can take the form of arguing, withdrawal, defensiveness, blame, avoidance of difficult conversations, and more. One goal of the therapy is to build a sense of emotional safety and many times working with a therapist is crucial to do this. It’s the therapist’s job to create a crucible, or container, for each partners’s emotions and be able to hold them without judgement, criticism, and blame.
Dr. Sue Johnson, creator of emotionally-focused couples therapy believes that when we become disconnected one of two things will happen. A person may;
Become demanding or clingy trying to get reassurance and comfort from their loved one.
The message is “I need you. Be with me.” OR
Detach and withdraw in a move to protect and comfort ourselves.
The message is “I will protect myself. I won’t let you hurt me. I will stay in control.”
I believe that we all want to feel connected to our partner. You want to feel like you are being heard and that your loved one is there for you. There are actions that you can incorporate within your relationship to nurture that emotional connection that you so want, and couples counseling is one of the fastest ways to heal. Here are three ways Dr. Johnson suggests:
A = Accessibility This is about you being there for each other as a couple. This would be physically and emotionally. It means being willing to be open and share your feelings . You share and listen on a deeper level with one another. During a couples counseling session we’ll practice skills to really listen in a way that your partner wants to share feelings!
R = Responsiveness You respond to your partner or spouse’s signals that they need you. When there is a fight or disagreement you make it clear you want to resolve the issue. You are there when your partner or spouse is feeling anxious. You create a feeling of safety with each other. Couples Therapy will teach you ways of communicating and developing this in your relationship.
E = Engagement You are emotionally engaged with each other in a positive way. You feel safe enough with each other to talk about anything. You care about each other’s feelings and well-being. There is a sense of connection even when you are not physically with each other.
For help shifting the energy between you and your partner, contact me today to schedule a free phone consultation or schedule a couples counseling session.
Dr. Corinne Scholtz is currently accepting new clients and offers knowledgable, skilled, and solution-focused marital and couples counseling. Contact her today for your free phone consultation and to schedule your appointment.