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Emotionally focused couple’s therapy (EFT)
EFT is a structured approach to couple’s therapy that sees emotional closeness, safety and intimacy at the heart of meaningful relationships. EFT focuses on identifying the negative interaction patterns of pursue/withdraw and blame/defend that often lead us to see our partner as the enemy. Your therapist will help you to slow down your conflict cycle and create safety and closeness in your relationship. The goal is to help you find each other again and create a stronger, closer and more connected bond between the two of you. After your cycle has calmed down, you will also be able to resolve conflicts that you may have been stuck in for years.
The model was originally developed by Dr. Sue Johnson in the 1980s and has become one of the most widely researched approach to couple’s therapy. Research has found that after 12-20 sessions, 70-75% of couples move from distress to recovery and 90% of couples experience significant improvement. EFT has also been successfully applied to several different individual and relationship problems such as relationship distress, infidelity, chronic illness, and past trauma. It works across various cultures and family constellations.
Emotionally focused individual therapy (EFIT)
Emotionally focused therapy has also been more recently applied to working with individuals. Whether you are struggling with relationship issues, past trauma, or mental health problems such as depression, anxiety and stress, EFIT can be a helpful way to help you identify your own negative patterns of interaction with yourself. For example, you may experience a critical voice in your head telling you that you are not good enough. EFIT helps you to have conversations with parts of yourself and with others around you , helps heal wounds that you may have experienced in previous relationships, and helps you to have a better relationship with yourself and, in turn, a better relationship with other people closest to you.
Emotionally focused family therapy (EFFT)
Emotionally focused family therapy shared many similarities with EFT for couples and also focuses on identifying negative interaction patterns that arise within families. Often families come into therapy when one family member, usually a child, may be acting out or becomes increasingly withdrawn and isolated. It is often that one member of the family shows symptoms but other family members are affected as well. EFFT helps families move away from being stuck in a negative pattern to being able to talk to each other in a way that feels safe for everyone. It helps parents to learn to listen and respond to their children’s needs and helps build resilience in the family so that new solutions to problems may arise.
Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)
CBT is one of the most evidence-based treatments used for a variety of common mental health problems including stress, anxiety, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorders, bulimia, and trauma. Common CBT techniques have also been used to help couples and families solve their problems, to work on their communication, and to help with children’s behavioural problems. CBT helps people become more aware of and change their thoughts and behaviours in order to function better.
Psychodynamic psychotherapy is an in-depth form of therapy based in psychoanalysis, which was originally created by Dr. Sigmund Freud in the late 1800s. In this form of therapy, the client(s) is encouraged to speak freely about anything that comes to mind, including current issues, fantasies, dreams and fears. Psychodynamic psychotherapy aims to uncover unconscious and previously inaccessible emotions that often stem from early childhood experiences. It aims to help clients become aware and understand the origins of their difficulties and helps clients learn to analyse and resolve their current difficulties. Clients in undergoing psychodynamic psychotherapy may be in therapy for an extended period of time and sometimes have sessions more than once a week. Psychodynamic psychotherapy was originally developed for individuals but it has also been applied in different modalities to be used for couples and families.
Person-centred therapy uses a non-authoritative approach that allows clients to take a lead on discussions so that they can discover their own solutions. A person-centred therapist acts as a non-judgmental and compassionate facilitator acknowledging the client’s experience without steering the conversation in a different direction. Person-centred therapy was originally developed by Carl Rogers and central to the therapy is unconditional positive regard, i.e. acceptance and respect of clients without evaluation and judgment. Person-centred therapy views clients as experts in their own experience and believes that clients can find their own solutions within a safe and accepting environment. Many therapy models, including emotionally-focused therapies, also apply person-centred principles in their approaches.
Sometimes couples feel very ambivalent about whether they should continue together or whether they should separate. Discernment counselling is a brief couple’s therapy designed to help clarify whether a couple wants to work on or terminate their relationship. Discernment counselling on its own is not considered a treatment but it helps couples decide what they would like to do next. The sessions consist of a combination of individual and couple sessions helping partners identify what needs to change in order to give a relationship another go. Discernment counselling was originally developed by Bill Doherty in the US and often now forms a mandatory part of divorce proceedings if at least one member of the couple states that they are unsure about the divorce. Research has shown that about 1/3 of couples who have already filed for divorce change their mind during the course of the discernment counselling and often commit to working on the relationship, usually within couple’s therapy.
Psychosexual therapy is specifically designed to help individuals and couples with sexual difficulties. These difficulties may include, for example, loss of sexual desire, painful intercourse, difficulty having an orgasm, erectile dysfunction or premature or delayed ejaculation. Psychosexual therapy involves a thorough assessment of the sexual dysfunction to identify why the problem may have arisen and what may be maintaining it. If appropriate, you and your therapist may discuss a specific treatment programme to help you overcome the difficulties. The programme often involves a series of exercises to be completed at home in between sessions. Psychosexual therapy is often more effective with a partner but it is also possible to address sexual difficulties individually.
Pre-marital counselling has been designed to enhance couple’s readiness for marriage. In pre-marital counselling, you will focus on identifying strengths and problem areas in your relationship. Your therapist will help you develop skills to help with the problem areas including helping you express your individual needs, discuss your preferences and expectations for your life together, and to help solve conflicts in a way that is mutually satisfying for both. Pre-marital counselling has been shown to increase the probability of a couple staying together after they are married and often consists of around six sessions. Some couples may end up doing a combination of pre-marital counselling and other forms of couple’s therapy depending on individual couple’s need.
Counselling for children/young people
Many of our therapists are also trained to work with children and young people to help with issues such mental health problems, bullying, trauma and family problems. Our therapists may use a variety of individual therapeutic modalities discussed above in an age appropriate manner. They may also use play therapy especially with younger children. Given that all of our practitioners are relationship-oriented therapists, we may also ask to work with other family members to help improve support for the child/young person for when the therapy ends.