Divorce Mediation doesn’t just mean splitting up. In my experience, it is not uncommon for couples to reconcile during the mediation process, which is another advantage of mediation over the traditional litigation path. During mediation, couples are assisted in their communications in a supportive and nonjudgmental manner. Sometimes this is achieved with the help of a therapist who specializes in helping couples repair their relationships.
Here is a wonderful article by Jason Fierstein, MA, LPC, a highly skilled Phoenix counselor, about a very successful technique called Emotionally Focused Therapy for Couples (EFT). Although the article is geared towards men, the technique is applicable to anyone struggling in a marriage or relationship:
Finally Dealing With Your Marriage or
Relationship Issues? Try EFT!
By Jason Fierstein, MA, LPC
If you’re like most men, it may take you awhile to come around to the realization that there are problems in your relationship or marriage. Some couples think that if they don’t fight, all is well. But is it? Are you both really okay, or is that what you’re telling yourselves? You may have tried couples work once or twice, and didn’t feel like it was working. It may have been a combination of things, including the type of orientation to couples work in which the counselor or therapist was working with you.
One extremely effective orientation to marriage counseling comes in the form of what’s known as EFT, or Emotionally Focused Therapy for Couples. The success rate is quite high with EFT: studies are coming out that show couples have a better than 70% repair rate from this type of intervention.
Developed by Susan Johnson, Ph.D, a Canadian psychologist, Emotionally Focus Therapy looks at the attachment bonds between couples. This is an approach that looks deeper than just building better communication skills or developing more effective negotiation or coping skills. EFT helps couples connect in a deeper emotional way. It’s this emotional bond between partners that is sustainable, and many of the reactive behaviors and emotions that result are part of a complex “dance” or chronic negative cycle that emerges between partners. We fight and go to battle for that connection, even if we don’t see our attempts and longing to connect behind how we react to our partners.
The idea is to bring awareness to that negative cycle and all work together in therapy to help couples stop fighting, reduce conflict, and connect In a more intimate and emotional way. The negative cycle becomes the problem, and therapist and couple work towards understanding and reducing the negative cycle together. Everyone works at externalizing that cycle, which is outside of each individual person. The cycle becomes the problem, not each partner.
Even guys who are hesitant to dive into their feelings really make progress with this form of marriage counseling. A lot of guys really enjoy it, and not only turn around the destructive path of their relationship, but are able to improve it in ways that they never thought that they could.
Here’s a free worksheet on identifying your negative cycle with your partner. Download this and do it together to begin the process of identifying how you both get stuck in your own relationship patterns:
You don’t have to feel hopeless and trapped in your relationship or marriage situation. There is help, and options for you to explore instead of a breakup or divorce. You might be really surprised with the results.
As “the man that men will talk to,” Jason Fierstein, MA, LPC helps struggling guys and couples in their marriages. He works with individuals and couples who want to navigate the difficulties of divorce with more ease, and helps conflicted couples decide what’s truly best for their marriage. Often times, in the divorce process, we feel angry, helpless and confused, and Jason works with those seeking divorce to lessen these experiences and do divorce better. Contact him at 602.309.0568, or visit him at his website http://www.phoenixmenscounseling.com – to see how he can help you deal with the hardship of your divorce.