Archive for Emotionally Focused Therapy

A New Year – A New Relationship

Many of us start the New Year with various resolutions ranging from the need to eat healthier, stop drinking, commit to more exercise etc. Let’s spare a thought to starting 2015 by thinking about making resolutions in our relationships that will help make them more loving and fulfilling.

Here is my A-Z of how to enhance your relationship in 2015 and bring about change.

A is for Accessibility
Take note how available and accessible you are for each other. Can you access your partner’s presence, support and attention when you need it?

B is for Boundaries
Ensure there are clear boundaries between how you divide your time between work, children, family commitments and your partner.

C is for Caring
Take time to think about how you show care to your partner. Is it how they wish to be cared for?

D is for Dance
Relationships are like dances. We often get stuck playing the same music and dancing the same steps. Understanding and validating the feelings of our partners, meeting their attachment needs, changes the music. As the music
changes, so does our dance.

E is for Emotions
Emotionally Focused Therapy helps couples tune into their own important feelings and needs and then helps to put those needs and feelings across to a partner helping to create more closeness and security.

F is for Fun
Relationships can often loose their sense of fun that you used to have at the beginning of a relationship. Discuss together how to bring back the fun you once enjoyed.

G is for Glamour
Lounging around in a tracksuit and pj’s is Ok at times but don’t forget to step up the glamour sometimes and put on the lippy and heels!

H is for Happiness
Having a smile on our faces, and sharing laughter together brings happiness to a couple relationship

I is for Intimacy
By making time to talk, discuss and play together, intimacy helps build feelings of safety and security and knowing that your partner is there for you.

J is for Joy
Often partners get bogged down with complaining about each other and forget about the feelings of joy they once had. Discuss what would bring joy back into the relationship

K is for Kindle
Think about different ideas and things you can do that would rekindle a relationship that may be stuck

L is for LOVE
When we communicate with our partners we should:
LISTEN with an
OPEN mind
VALIDATE and acknowledge each other
EXPRESS our thoughts and feelings, slowly and simply

M is for MOMENTS
Be more mindful of the little inconsequential moments that happen every day which are taken for granted. We can feel a lot closer when we feel our partners have noticed.

Think of ways to nourish your relationship – it may be as simple as going down the road for a coffee or arranging a surprise.

Don’t hold onto resentments and negativity. Find a way of being more open about how you feel in a gentle sensitive manner

P is for PASSION
Couples find happiness through intimacy, passion and commitment. Keeping passion alive in a long-term relationship is not always easy but giving each other more time and energy and thinking outside the box is often a way forward

Q is for QUICK FIX
There is no pill for a quick fix of your relationship. Relationships need time and effort to make them the best they can possibly be and only you can figure out what that is.

R is for REFLECT
To be able to self reflect on our own behaviours and emotions rather than criticise and blame another is crucial to building a stronger more connected relationship.

S is for SHARING
Spending more time sharing thoughts, feelings and ideas makes partners feel listened to and validated

T is for TIME OUT
There are times in all relationships when feelings can get out of control. Taking time out away from each other in a calm measured way, gives us time to calm down and reflect and control our own behaviour.

Taking time to go shopping together for new underwear can help couples connect more intimately and sexually

Instead of responding with a knee jerk defensive reaction, it’s important that we make an effort to validate what our partner says as its important to them. This helps to make them feel respected and listened to, even if your view is different to theirs.

It’s easy for couples to get into negative patterns of behaviour where 1 partner is the pursuer and the other closes down and withdraws. By identifying these patterns of behaviour partners can start to understand each other’s feelings better and make changes in their behaviour.

X is for X-RATED
Where is sex on your priority list? Are you making enough time for a good sexual connection, or is it way down the list of your priorities? “Emotional connection creates great sex and great sex creates deeper emotional connection”

Y is for YOGA
Yoga teaches true mindfulness – living in the present moment. Yoga can be a great stress reliever and certain positions improve flexibility and increase blood flow. For a closer sexual connection with your partner practise yoga positions together. Breathing, and moving together can be great foreplay.

Z is for …….Zzzzzzz
Turn off the computer, ipads and phones. Go to bed together, in a restful, calm manner and see what a difference a good nights sleep brings to your relationship.
Dawn Kaffel

How to tell if your relationship is in trouble

If you are continually fighting with each other, what does that say about your relationship?

When you need each other the most why can’t you communicate and stay connected rather than turn against each other?

If you find yourself in a relationship where you are continually fighting, this is not necessarily an accurate barometer of where the relationship is.  We can spend a long time in therapy trying to make sense of an argument and what it means but the real barometer when we fight is to be aware of the distance it causes between us.

There are times in a relationship when we feel loved and safe and secure that it’s ok to argue and fight.  But when we can’t connect with the person we love, and we don’t feel very secure – this is scary and creates distance.

When a relationship is in trouble we tend to start a dance which Sue Johnson, the founder of Emotionally Focused Therapy for Couples writes in her book Hold me Tight calls the Demon Dialogues.  One person starts complaining and criticising and gets angry and the other starts defending and stonewalling.  The couple get caught up in the dance which takes on a life of its own as it gains momentum and very soon we see the other person as the enemy.

As therapists working with the Emotionally Focused therapy model we can help couples stand back and look at the patterns they are caught up in.

Its about learning how to step out of the pattern, stand back  and reach out for each other to sooth and calm and create emotional safety between the two of you.

By paying more attention and valuing our relationship it is really possible to find a better barometer for understanding our unhappiness and hopefully take care of it sooner.  This makes for a more active approach to marriage.

For further information visit

Dawn Kaffel


Emotion is the Glue in our Relationships

Every day we talk to couples because they are either struggling with their relationship and want to stay in it and want *more from it, or they want to get out of a relationship that is no longer working and is causing distress and pain.  Equally single clients are often looking to be in a relationship and wondering why they are finding it difficult to find a partner.

The turning point is finding new ways to face these challenges and the key to transforming your relationship starts with understanding our emotional connections.  Working with emotions can give you a stronger and more vital relationship.

Getting a clearer picture of how emotions play a role in your relationships opens up new ways of understanding yourself and engaging with your partner.

Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) enables couples to become more trusting of their emotions and in turn more tuned in to their emotional experience which makes for a more effective relationship.

EFT helps change on-going negative cycles of arguing and conflict by helping couples understand their more vulnerable emotions of fear and hurt.

The EFT Therapy process focuses not only on what happens between two partners but it also encourages each partner to develop greater self-awareness of his or her own emotions.

If you are lacking in emotional self –awareness you may:

  • React rather than respond to your partner
  • Not know how your arguments escalate
  • Not realise how your emotions are sometimes overwhelming

If you are more emotionally self –aware you are better able to:

  • Notice an emotion when it presents itself
  • Manage your responses to others better
  • Choose a response with more awareness.

Dawn Kaffel