Psychotherapy with couples is challenging for even the most skilled of therapists. Attentive, responsive and emotionally engaged connecting are increasingly challenged by all sorts of factors. These range from work schedule demands to electronic device distractions, and of course substance abuse. Substance abuse is particularly challenging in couple therapy because it is an alternate relationship engaged in by the substance abusing partner. Appreciating this from an attachment theory perspective offers the therapist an opportunity to bring a humanistic, non-pathologizing, systemic stance to helping partners break through denial, and access and express the most meaningful aspects of their experience in the relationship on their way to becoming more connected. Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT), developed by one of the presenter’s mentors, Dr. Sue Johnson, is an extremely effective method of operationalizing attachment theory in work with couples, families and individuals. EFT places substance abuse behavior in the cycle of reactive behaviors that drive partner distress. Helping couples see these cycles and how they get caught in them allows a means of de-escalation and regrouping so they can slow down and send clear, emotionally meaningful messages to another: the stuff of understanding and re-connection. In this one-day workshop focused on couple therapy, the fundamentals of applying EFT when substance abuse behavior is present will be introduced via description, demonstration and experiential exercise. A familiarity with EFT is helpful but not a pre-requisite. Much of the fundamentals discussed will have direct application to work with individuals and families as well as couples.
- Understanding addiction through an attachment lens
- Treatment alliance factors in this type of work
- Understanding how addiction impacts the relational system
- Understanding how the security of the relational system impacts addiction
- Understanding the fundamentals of EFT as a method of bringing attachment theory alive in dyadic therapeutic intervention
Presented By: Cornelius (Con) Sheehan, Jr., LCSW, ICEEFT Certified Emotionally Focused
Continuing Education Units (CEUs): 6