• Couples Therapy

    Couples Therapy for You — And Your Kids

    If you or your partner are hesitant about couples therapy, think about this: Like a wildfire, dysfunction in the relationship between parents doesn’t end where it starts. It spreads, and children are the first ones in its path of destruction. While couples therapy is primarily designed to help partners establish a healthy, flourishing relationship, the greatest secondary benefit can be a positive effect on your child’s long-term happiness and success in life.


    While keeping arguments out of view of the kids is a good idea, just because you’re hiding conflicts doesn’t mean your children aren’t seeing and feeling your disconnection and anger. Even if you’re maintaining outward appearances, your kids are likely picking up on subtle clues; things just don’t “feel right.”


    Of course, exposure to regular fighting or prolonged angry silences can have a much deeper impact on children. For the human nervous system to reach its full potential during childhood, it needs to experience available, responsive and emotionally engaged attachment figures. Additionally, kids need an environment free from excessive conflict, isolation and chaos.


    The skills that people learn in Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy (EFT) prepare them to engage in a way that becomes a self-reinforcing cycle of availability, responsiveness and emotional engagement. Not only does this new way of communicating create stronger bonds between partners, but it also helps parents understand how to create better communication and stronger bonds with their children.


    Attachment is the language of thriving families, and EFT teaches fluency in that language. It’s a language not only of words but also of emotional and physical attunement. The resulting connection and the “safe base” of an emotionally secure family helps kids learn that they’re worthy of love, and it gives them more courage to step out into the world with the feeling that “I’m going to be OK.”


    Of course, a prerequisite for creating this safe base is actual safety in the home. Remember, the parent-child relationship is a survival-based relationship: A two-year-old needs a dependable caregiver to survive. If parents are fighting, children may perceive it as a threat to the parents’ caregiving ability — and that could have a large impact on their nervous system. Over time, the stress of such survival threats can prevent a child’s attachment system from developing to its full potential and create lasting problems including low self-esteem, social isolation, learning disabilities, anxiety and depression.


    No child is raised in a perfect environment. Even in the best situations, there are times when parents are not as responsive to their children as they’d like to be. You don’t have to be perfect, but you do want to get it right more often than not — and improve where you can.


    Give yourself and your children the best chance for happiness by working on your relationship. You can reach me at 407-579-2070 or go to couplestherapyorlando.com if you’re interested in Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy for your family.

    Therapy services available via Telehealth.