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The First New Post that Will Change Your Outlook

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Healing comes from a new feeling, not new insight!

Emotional, psychological hurt lodges in the deep recesses of our unconscious memory. Traumatic hurt of the type visited upon us by chronic insults to the quality of our security, both as children and as adults, lodges in places in our brain which cognitive behavioral therapy can not affect. To heal these traumas one must feel a visceral, body-centered healing of chronic or hot-spot traumas that cause anxiety, depression, or PTSD.  This “felt” sense of healing can come from the array of emotion focused experiential therapies now challenging the long-held beliefs of mainstream cognitive approaches.

Besel van der Kolk, one of the world’s leading experts on the treatment of trauma, including PTSD, writes, “Trauma has nothing whatsoever to do with cognition. It has to do with your body being reset to interpret the world as a dangerous place. That reset begins in the deep recesses of the brain with its most primitive structures, regions that,” he says, “no cognitive therapy can access. It’s not something you can talk yourself out of.”

Not talking our couple clients out of their distress lies at the heart of Emotionally Focused Therapy. Dr. Susan Johnson the primary creator of EFT for couples offers, “experience is much more powerful than explanation,” when healing the distress of a disconnected relationship.

As EFT therapists we are constantly seeking to weave together a family systems understanding or our clients with a felt emotional experience of their relationship. In hurtful distress much of the primary core of our couple’s emotional experience masked by basic anxieties, depression, chronic trauma, or abusive or neglect sustained in childhood is extremely difficult to rationalize their way our of. Cognitive approaches fall short in their attempt to heal emotional blockages.

In the pain, both emotional and physical, of human disconnection we either go on the hunt for connection or hide from being hunted. This hunting analogy in many ways hold true. In our efforts to feel safe or to remove ourselves from a painful hurt we can lash out at our parters. “You are never there for me.” Or we can duck and cover. “If you only would calm down, I might listen to you.” Emotion overides logic. Attempts to reason our way out often end up in hopeless looping arguments.

To end these looping cycles EFT  slowly makes safe what was once too fearful to face. Through careful emotion coaching, reflection, conjecture, and enactment, EFT therapists create a safe space to share what was once too hurtful or unknown to be shared. With much empathy and care we re-shape hurtful dis-connective patterns into new patterns of connection and bonding. Once hidden, primary feelings of hurt, rejection, betrayal, abandonment, shame, fear and pain are unveiled and  shared through live experience in session. The ability to feel heard, affirmed and validated by a partner that was once attacking or hiding creates moments of positive change in our couples. Having a felt change experience in session makes for a powerful bodily knowledge that becomes accessible to our couples in their daily lives.

For more information on how EFT can help heal your relationship please see visit:

Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy

or consider attending Hold Me Tight Seattle, an Emotionally Focused Couples Workshop

Hold Me Tight Seattle








“I know that must be tough.”

As someone who has struggled with the “you’re not good enough” voice for his entire life, hearing my partner shift this morning from, “you don’t have to figure that out,” to “I know that must be tough” instantly moved me from, “crap… I am still getting it wrong,” to “oh, you get it how I wake up at 3am (on occasion) wondering how best to understand a problem in my life as a therapist, father, partner.” That shift from “you don’t” to “I know,” felt like the validation, the understanding, the connection, the secure love and secure attachment I missed early in life and have been wanting and needing in my life. I felt it blossom in my heart.

I see you! I am here for you! I am responsive and engaged with you! Simple in concept, oft times difficult to manifest.





With warmth,


My life is not a beer commercial!

At 12 sessions in a mid 40’s male client shredding through primary shame implanted via his relationship with a profoundly neglectful father and a mother cowed by father’s narcissistic behavior shared, “I am coming to terms that my life is not supposed to be like a non-stop beer commercial! I’m actually in the process of becoming someone. I am actually establishing an identity. I am more connected to me. In order to be powerful I have realized that I had to be vulnerable. Now I want to radiate out.”


celebrate life











“You need to change!”

“Forget about the notion that our emotions can be kept at bay” Dave Matthews

Walking this morning and pondering the hard lessons that creating fundament shift in relationship is deeply challenging with only one trying to change. This hard lesson is coming more into focus as clients who for many good and deeply held reasons attempt solo change. Sadly, some partners, resist any change clinging to the status quo, even when the status quo is filled with distress, protest, anger, attack, or withdrawal.

As humans we are bonders. When our partners are attuned to our emotions, both soft and hard, responsive to each others wants, needs, longings, and engaged with us in vulnerable ways miracles can and do occur. I have been present for many of them.

When our partners will not or do not hear our hurts and share their own, attempting to shift difficult relationship patterns can re-wound, be a cause for increased anxiety, more loneliness and foster depression. If our human desire to be heard, seen, cared for, validated falls on deaf ears it can often be worse than emotionally laden and difficult engagement. Not being there can be akin to jumping into an abyss knowing there is no net of any kind, or worse there are lions in the pit.

Some very difficult decisions need to be faced if for some reason you find yourself in a relationship where the message is “You need to change!” Indeed you may need to…but this is NOT your work alone!


Women Yelling At Man Angry Couple



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