“When you experience conflict or difficult interactions with your partner, do you notice that your conversations follow a typical course? If so, you are like many couples who recognize that their arguments or tense conversations tend to follow a familiar, repetitive pattern, regardless of the topic (e.g. household tasks, finances, decisions). Although you may not know what sets it off, you likely recognize that these conversations are emotionally charged. How the conversation goes and the emotional chain reactions that occur are more important than the topic of the conversation. [In Emotion Focused Therapy] I will help you tune into how your difficult conversations evolve and what makes them feel so charged. [Although] the way you react to each other in these moments is likely your best attempt at handling the situation, it may in fact drive you further apart. […] You know how unsatisfying it can be when your interactions take a negative turn, spiral down, and leave you feeling unresolved and distant. If you begin to pay attention to the steps you each take in your conversations over and over in different situations, you will probably notice a pattern.” (Kallos-Lilly & Fitzgerald, 2015, An Emotionally Focused Workbook for Couples, p. 8). Understanding that pattern is the first step toward healing your distressed relationship. In my next post I’ll be describing some typical patterns that couples fall into. Don’t be surprised if you recognize yourself and your partner in these patterns very quickly!