EFT as my guide, personally and professionally, by guest blogger, Sara Morrow, MSMFT – Staff Therapist, The Family Institute at Northwestern University www.family-institute.org
As a young therapist, almost three years out of graduate school, I have sometimes struggled to make sense of the difficult dynamics happening in front of me when I see a couple. As I started working in the field, I felt like all the “skills” and “tools” that I had previously learned, seemed to only go so far with some couples. Something was missing: people would come back and say that they had tried a tool, but still felt disconnected and hopeless. What to do?
Luckily for me, my supervisor was pursuing EFT certification when I started working as a therapist. I began to learn about the model in supervision and was intrigued enough to attend the Externship in 2016, followed by Core Skills thereafter. Even though I have a whole lot more to learn, I feel like I have a solid framework for conceptualizing couples cases. When I am floundering, I pull out my favorite EFT conceptualization diagram (by Paul Sigafus, LMFT), and map out the “data” that I already have, and notice what I am potentially missing. It feels like I have found some of the footing that I was looking for in my work!
A favorite “EFT moment” happened when a very stoic and non-emotive husband was finally able to talk about feeling incredibly alone in his relationship. It was hard getting there, with a lot of defensive comments about emotions and the work that we were trying to do in sessions. I felt intimidated by him and I only imagined how his partner felt. But when we finally got to the sadness and loneliness that he was feeling, I got to see another side to this man. It was incredibly powerful and it helped infuse my work with so much more compassion and understanding. My sense of intimidation lessened dramatically.
In my personal life, I feel like I have become a better partner in the sense that I have gained more relational self-awareness from being a student of EFT: my perpetual fear is that of being a burden and not being valued. I know when these fears are getting triggered and how to respond vs. react. On the other side, I view my partner with a “fuller” lens in terms of what is happening underneath the behavior (or secondary emotion) that I am bristling to. With this, I have developed more patience.
Lastly, I can see that the line between myself and my clients isn’t so huge: we are all humans with vulnerabilities and coping strategies, after all. We can all fall into a cycle that can be hard to break out of, without a little bit of help.
The first step in getting trained in EFT is the 4 day Externship which happens in Chicago once a year. The CCEFT 2018 EFT Externship is coming up in June! Don’t miss your opportunity to learn about this cutting edge treatment!