CC18 Workshop 10 - Accessing and Deepening Emotions in Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) When One or Both Partners are Highly Cognitive or Emotionally Avoidant - Sam Jinich, PhD
When One or Both Partners are Highly Cognitive or Emotionally Avoidant. Accessing and deepening vulnerable emotions that are at first hidden, unspoken, unknown or masked by reactive and protective emotions is one of the most powerful skills of an emotionally focused couples therapist. Emotionally focused therapists facilitate emotionally moving enactments by guid- ing avoidant partners to turn to their partner and to share with them about their pain, sadness and fears. They guide critical or blaming partners to turn to their partners to more gently speak about their loneliness and their longing for closeness. There is nothing like facilitating and witnessing a heartfelt bonding moment in action. EFT Therapists are emotional explorers and attachment detectives. They discover and enable the sharing of vulnerable emotions as well as attachment fears and longings all in the service of creating enough safety to re-shape the bond and create a more secure attachment between partners. As couples therapists we are most challenged when we can't seem to get any traction or when we are not able to find our way beyond a partner’s reactive and avoidant emotions, rational explanations, evasions and demands. In this presentation, we will focus specifically on the challenges of accessing emotions when one or both partners are highly focused on rational explanations, wandering stories, specificity, data, facts, truth, justice and fairness. It is difficult to intervene effectively if one or both members of the couple have a constricted and rigid way of processing his/her experience and of interacting with each other. By using attunement skills, empathic reflections, evocative questions and attachment-oriented validations and reframes, EFT therapists explore, deepen, distill and guide partners to share their emotional experience in a heartfelt manner that deepens their bond.
1. Describe how a lack of open communication, particularly around attachment issues and emotional vulnerabilities, constricts couple’s interactions and ability to experience and process affect.
2. Identify clinical strategies for intervening when one or both partners have constricted and rigid (impermeable) ways of processing his or her experience and of interacting with each other.
3. Utilize 2-3 clinical interventions and skills used in EFT such as validation, evocative reflections and questions, heightening, empathic conjecture, tracking negative patterns of interaction and reframing problems as ways of protesting disconnection or as protective reactions when attachment needs are not met.
Sam Jinich, Ph.D. is a Certified Emotionally Focused Therapist (EFT), Supervisor and Trainer. He is the Director of the San Francisco Center for Emotionally Focused Therapy (SFCEFT) and the Instituto de Terapia Focalizada en las Emociones (ITFE). Dr. Jinich received his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of California, San Diego and San Diego State University's Joint Doctoral Program. He completed his internship and postdoctoral training at University of California San Francisco Medical Center. Sam is one of the Founders of the Northern California Community for Emotionally Focused Therapy (NCCEFT) and is Past President of the San Francisco Psychological Association. Sam has been an Individual and Couples Therapist in San Francisco for over 20 years. Sam teaches Emotionally Focused Therapy internationally and is actively involved in developing EFT communities and training centers in Latin America and Spain. Sam co-facilitates the Hold Me Tight© Workshop for Couples with Michelle Gannon, PhD in San Francisco, Tiburon and Esalen Institute. The San Francisco Center for EFT offers Introductions to EFT, the 4-day EFT Externship, EFT Core Skills Series, Advanced EFT Refresher, and Forgiveness Training for Therapists and Attunement Training for Therapists. For more information, please visit SFCEFT.com. Sam is bilingual and bicultural in Spanish and has led EFT Externships and Core Skills in Spanish in Argentina, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Mexico, Panama and Spain.
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