People pursue relationship counseling for a variety of reasons. Sometimes it’s to begin a marriage “on the right foot” through premarital counseling, while sometimes couples therapy is sought even to end the relationship on more amicable terms. Most of the time, the goal of marriage counseling is improve how the couple communicates, stop or avoid unhealthy relationship patterns, and prevent marital problems from worsening.
If you have been exploring marriage therapy, you have probably heard of different approaches to relationship counseling such as the Gottman Method. You probably have even heard of the “5 love languages.” At the Washington Anxiety Center of Capitol Hill, we pride ourselves on providing the best evidence-based care for our clients. This is why we recommend Emotions Focused Couples Therapy (EFCT). While other treatment approaches are evidence-based as well, EFCT is the only intervention specifically recommended by the APA’s Society of Clinical Psychology.
As developed by Dr Sue Johnson in the 1980s, EFCT focuses on how we form and sustain meaningful attachments with our partners. The intervention prioritizes understanding and healthy expression of our emotions within the family dynamic. EFCT is a short-term, structured approach typically requiring 8 to 20 sessions depending on factors unique to each couple. By the end of therapy, couples will have learned how to better interact with one another to foster the creation of a more secure and loving bond between partners. Along the way, couples will learn more about the roles they play in their relationship, where their “raw spots” are from past relational injuries, and the cycle of negative interactions that prevent them from feeling connected to each other.
Where appropriate, additional therapeutic interventions such as Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) may be incorporated to help couples achieve their relational goals.
Old Town, Alexandria Office 220 South Washington Street, Suite 102 Alexandria, VA 22314 Phone: 202-768-6494