When life gets overwhelming, you cope by over or under reacting with fight, flight, or freeze. Once there to protect you, these short-term coping strategies can become stuck habits that no longer help you. If unaddressed, these habits can impact your daily life and how you connect with others. The more you protect, the harder it is to connect.
To restore functioning and strengthen relationships, we will reframe how your coping strategies work for and against you. We can begin to make sense of your thoughts, feelings, and experiences. We can develop safer strategies to connect and protect. You can learn new ways to be seen and accepted. You can learn new ways to feel safe and secure. Research shows that when one faces the underlying source of anguish and disconnection, new neural networks can be rewired to form a more secure sense of self. Through the safety of the therapeutic relationship, vulnerabilities that were once experienced as weakness can now be experienced as strength, becoming the source of resilience and growth.
"If one has no internal sense of security, it is difficult to determine the difference between safety and danger." Bessel Van der Kolk
EMOTIONALLY FOCUSSED INDIVIDUAL THERAPY (EFIT)
What can I expect from therapy? A client can expect to go through the three stages of growth in EFIT:
STAGE 1: STABALIZATION
Increased awareness of emotional responses to stress, as well as interactions with others
Improved emotional balance and wider window of tolerance; more flexibility, less numbing/reactivity
A reduction of symptoms, e.g., less anxiety, depression, anger
More self-acceptance with a newer view of self
STAGE 2: RESTRUCTURING
Vulnerability is experienced as strength
Can move into deeper levels of experience for longer periods
A more accurate awareness of felt emotional experiences
Rather than seeking external reassurance, security comes from within for improved self-regulation
A more authentic view of self arises, becoming more responsive and adaptive
Source: Campbell & Johnson
STAGE 3: CONSOLIDATION
Increased flexibility with others takes shape in relationships
Deeper confidence with new behavioural responses
Relapse of old patterns is predicted and prepared for
New view of self and engagement with others are consolidated
Clients move from chaos to order, reactivity to balance, from self-denial to self-acceptance, from helplessness to agency.