Finding the Right Therapist for You


If you are reading this, you probably know the distress brought on by relationship difficulties. These difficulties are felt in every area of our lives. Divorce rates indicate the growing necessity of effective, high quality couple therapy. Knowing how to find the right couple’s therapist near you can be difficult. A relatively small number of therapists you might contact have undergone proper training in the art of couple therapy. Applying techniques learned for individual therapy to the complexities of a couple’s dynamics can fall far short of what a relationship needs.

Starting couple’s therapy is a significant step towards improving your relationship. So, finding the right therapist for you and your partner is crucial. You might think of this discovery process as the first phase of therapy: the evaluation phase. You want confidence that the therapist’s expertise aligns with your specific needs. Below, I’ve shared a list of what experience has taught me are some of the most important questions to consider asking a therapist you’re considering working with.

Here is a checklist of questions you might ask a potential couple therapist to find out if they’re right for you:

Evaluating Experience and Consultation

Experience and Professional Engagement
“Approximately what percentage of your recent practice is dedicated to working with couples?” And, “do you have a regular consultation process wherein you discuss your work?” These questions aims to assess the therapist’s dedication to couples therapy

Feedback and Evaluation Process
“How do you provide feedback and evaluate progress in therapy?” This question allows couples to understand how the therapist assesses progress and navigates therapeutic milestones. A transparent feedback mechanism is vital for ensuring that therapy remains aligned with the couple’s goals and for making necessary adjustments to the therapeutic approach.

Understanding Therapeutic Approaches

Theoretical Orientation
“What theoretical perspective guides your work with couples?” It is essential that the therapist operates from a solid theoretical foundation, such as Attachment Theory, which is at the heart of Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy (EFT). The approach a therapist takes should be grounded in solid theory. Also, there should be a structured methodology to effectively address relationship distress.

Assessing Specialized Training

Training and Qualifications
“What specific training in couples therapy have you undertaken?” Exploring their specialized training provides insight into their qualifications and dedication, facilitating the process of finding the right therapist for you. Prospective therapists should be able to describe application of a method of therapy relative to their training. An EFT Couple Therapist can describe their process in a detailed fashion.

“Do you have specific training regarding difficulties related to sexuality?” This is an important question for couples struggling with problems relating to sexuality to ask.

What Will Therapy Look Like?

This might be the most important question about what to expect from therapy: “What are the Contraindications to Couple Therapy?” A prospective therapist should be able to describes situations or conditions where the type of couple’s therapy they do might not be the best choice or should be approached with caution. Common contraindications follow: Severe mental illness and substance use disorders that interfere with participation. Misaligned agendas for therapy. Ongoing affairs that threaten a partner’s sense of security. Also, a risk of violence that prohibits vulnerability. In some cases, addressing the contraindicating issue (such as through individual therapy, addiction treatment, or safety planning) can make couple therapy like EFT a viable option later on.

Expectations for Therapy Duration and Frequency
“What are your expectations for the duration and frequency of therapy sessions?” This question helps set realistic expectations for the therapy process, including how long it might take to see improvements and how often sessions will occur. Therapy is a significant investment. It’s crucial for planning and commitment to the therapeutic journey that you know what to expect.

Strategies for Enhancing Connection Outside Therapy
“What strategies do you recommend for couples to enhance their connection outside of therapy sessions?” A therapist who offers practical tools and exercises for couples to work on between sessions demonstrates a proactive approach to therapy. This can help accelerate progress by encouraging partners to actively engage in their relationship improvement outside the therapeutic setting.

Communication Skills in Therapy

Enhancing Communication Skills
“How do you work to enhance communication skills in your therapy sessions?” Ideally, the therapist’s approach should highlight the importance of trust that a partner is available and responsive. By contrast, a focus on mere communication techniques can interfere with the depth of understanding in the relationship. “I statements” and similar “communication tips” don’t come online readily when intense emotion gets stirred.

Individual Sessions and Therapy Dynamics

Approach to Individual Sessions
“Do you conduct individual sessions with partners?” Generally, therapy should involve both partners, with individual sessions reserved for specific assessment purposes. This approach reflects the therapist’s commitment to treating the relationship as the central client.

Maintaining Impartiality

Ensuring Impartiality
“How do you maintain impartiality in your sessions?” Asking this question probes the therapist’s strategy for navigating complex couple dynamics, ensuring they view the relationship as an interconnected system. I think it’s so important to feel confident about a prospective therapist’s answer to this question. This is because the experience of therapist bias toward one partner is a primary reason clients cite for therapy “failing.”

Emphasizing the Emotional Bond

Focus on Emotional Connection vs. Behavioral Contracts
“How important is the emotional bond versus behavioral contracts in your approach to couple dynamics?” Herein, a therapist who emphasizes strengthening the emotional connection addresses the core issues of relationship distress effectively. Dr. Sue Johnson’s insight, “about the bond, not a bargain,” poignantly captures the essence of couple therapy.

Summary: Finding the Right Therapist for You

Selecting the right couple therapist is a nuanced process that requires careful consideration and detailed questions. These inquiries are designed to provide deep insights into a therapist’s approach, philosophy, and their suitability for navigating the complexities of your relationship. We invite your questions and offer a no-cost, confidential consultation, aiding you in the journey of finding the right therapist for you and your partner. This thoughtful approach ensures that you embark on therapy with a professional who can truly support and guide you through the challenges and opportunities of strengthening your relationship.

Cornelius Sheehan, LCSW is an experienced couple's therapist in Reno, NV and writes about helping you find the right therapist and get the most out of therapy.

“The Science of Relationships: Healing, Emotion, & Connection with Drs. Sue Johnson & Jim Furrow”

Drs. Sue Johnson and Jim Furrow discuss attachment and improving relationships, with Pam King

With & For“, a podcast hosted by Dr. Pam King.

This is a wonderfully warm and informative program where Sue and Jim discuss the core importance of relationship, and improving relationship. The following topics are covered:

• Living in a way this is, “fully alive.”

• How to bring together the spectrum of emotional realities with our lived experience

• Today’s loneliness epidemic; what to do about it

• The importance of empathy and caring in the healing process

• What is attachment science? And, the role of attachment figures in thriving relationships

• Improving relationships: therapeutic and relational practices that lead to security, a sense of worth, and competence in life.

From the show host: “Our society doesn’t want to hear about how interdependent we are—doesn’t want to hear that if we want to thrive, we have to put people first and we have to create community. And people need connection with others like they need oxygen. If you create a world where that connection isn’t very available or it all happens on a screen, you are going to have huge problems. You are going to have huge problems with depression, anxiety, suicide, emptiness—people are going to make terrible choices.” (Sue Johnson) We need each other. We are relational beings, and our thriving—or languishing—often hinges on relationships. In this episode, psychologists Sue Johnson and Jim Furrow not only explain why relationships are so important, they offer practical advice on how to pursue healing, emotional regulation, and lasting thriving in all kinds of relationships. Sue Johnson is the creator of Emotionally Focused Therapy, the gold standard in tested, proven interventions of couples and author of many books including Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love. Jim Furrow is a marriage and family therapist and an internationally renowned trainer of Emotionally Focused Therapy. This conversation goes from profound to practical, covering the biological and psychological science to explain why belonging gives way to becoming. We discuss the rampant emptiness and loneliness, fear, and depression people today experience and the connection between relationships and a sense of meaning in life. Sue and Jim also provide a framework for how to understand your attachment style and the way it impacts your relational health. And they discuss the practical ways we can grow and change so that we can engage in and sustain fulfilling and life giving relationships.”

Our EFT relationship therapists in Reno will help you learn more about improving relationships. Contact us for a free consultation.

“Side by Side: Navigating OCD Treatment with EFT Couple Counseling”

Couple coping effectively with OCD, walking outdoors with their son

Last week I did a presentation on what I was very surprised to find is an under-recognized area of OCD treatment: the impact of attachment theory on relationships affected by OCD.  Thrive Wellness co-sponsored an OCD Symposium in Reno that provided the opportunity to discuss OCD from a relational perspective. This article shares (in broad strokes) some key points from the presentation. In the “conclusions” section I focus on specific ways Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) can support couples facing the challenges posed by OCD in a connected, teamed-up way.

Understanding OCD within the Relationship Context

OCD’s influence on relationships extends beyond the individual symptoms of compulsions and obsessions. It can disrupt the normal flow of emotional connectivity and communication, leading to misunderstandings and emotional distance.

Assessment and Education

The therapeutic process begins with assessing the specific ways OCD affects the relationship and educating both partners about the disorder. This foundational step helps demystify OCD and sets the stage for collaborative problem-solving.

Identifying Patterns

Identifying negative interaction patterns is crucial to improving your relationship. For instance, compulsive behaviors might lead to frustration in one partner, resulting in a cycle of withdrawal and disconnection. Recognizing these dynamics allows couples to start addressing them.

Facilitating Emotional Engagement

Creating a Safe Space: A core aspect of EFT is creating a safe environment for both partners. This involves encouraging openness and vulnerability, especially for the partner with OCD, to share their fears and needs without fear of judgment.

Expressing Emotions: The therapist guides both partners in expressing their feelings related to the OCD symptoms, uncovering often-hidden emotions like isolation or resentment. This step is vital for understanding each other’s experiences.

Reframing the Problem: Viewing OCD as a shared challenge rather than a source of division is a powerful reframing technique. It encourages a united approach to managing the disorder’s impact on the relationship.

Enhancing Connection and Understanding

Through guided conversations, the therapy helps deepen the emotional connection. The partner with OCD explores and expresses their deeper fears, while the other partner learns to articulate their emotional experiences, leading to a strengthened bond.

Promoting Acceptance and Building New Patterns

Accepting the presence of OCD in relationship while working on effective management strategies is a delicate but necessary balance. The therapist works with the couple to develop new responses to OCD symptoms that foster connection rather than disconnection.

Consolidating Gains

Therapeutic progress is solidified by experiencing and discussing new ways of interacting outside of therapy sessions. This step is crucial for ensuring that the relationship continues to grow stronger, even in the face of OCD.

Collaborative Approach with Individual Therapy

A collaborative approach, involving coordination with the partner’s individual OCD treatment, ensures that therapy addresses both the couple’s relationship dynamics and the individual’s OCD management.


The OCD Symposium in Reno served as a valuable forum for discussing the integration of attachment theory into the treatment of OCD-affected relationships. Emotionally Focused Therapy offers a framework for couples to navigate OCD’s challenges, emphasizing the importance of a secure emotional bond and effective communication.

Here’s how EFT could be effective for couples where one or both partners have OCD:

  1. Improving Communication: EFT helps couples communicate more effectively, especially about sensitive issues like the impact of OCD on their relationship. It encourages partners to express their feelings and needs more openly and empathetically.
  2. Enhancing Emotional Support: By focusing on emotional attachment, EFT helps partners become more responsive to each other’s needs. For someone with OCD, having a supportive partner who understands their struggles can be crucial for managing symptoms.
  3. Reducing Relationship Stress: OCD can add significant stress to a relationship, which can exacerbate OCD symptoms. EFT aims to reduce relationship tensions by improving emotional connection, which can, in turn, create a more supportive environment for managing OCD.
  4. Building a Secure Attachment: A secure attachment can provide a solid foundation for individuals with OCD to face their fears and engage in exposure and response prevention (ERP) therapies more effectively. Knowing they have a supportive and understanding partner can make facing OCD challenges less daunting.
  5. Improving Coping Strategies: Couples can learn to identify and modify maladaptive coping strategies that may be reinforcing OCD symptoms. EFT encourages healthier ways of coping with emotional distress, which can indirectly help in managing OCD.
  6. Enhancing Treatment Compliance: Individuals with OCD who feel supported in their relationships may be more likely to adhere to individual OCD treatment plans, including medication and cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT).

Closing thoughts about OCD and Relationship

It’s important to note that while EFT can improve the relationship dynamics that affect and are affected by OCD, it does not directly treat OCD symptoms. For direct treatment of OCD, evidence-based approaches such as CBT and ERP are recommended. Couples therapy, including EFT, can be a complementary approach to these treatments, especially for addressing the relational aspects of living with OCD.

The journey towards understanding and managing the relational impact of OCD is ongoing. As we continue to explore this intersection, the insights gained can guide more nuanced and effective approaches to support couples in strengthening their relationships in the face of OCD.

Feedback and dialogue on this topic of OCD in relationship are welcome. Please share your thoughts or experiences regarding the role of attachment theory in OCD treatment. For further discussion or inquiries, feel free to contact me at:

“Harmony in Holiday Traditions”: Crafting Our Unique Traditions

happy couple doing EFT relationship counseling in Reno

As the festive season approaches, couples often find themselves navigating the complexities of blending traditions, managing expectations, and seeking meaningful ways to celebrate together. As an experienced Emotionally Focused Therapist, I learn so much about what works through what clients have shared the profound impact that creating and nurturing unique holiday traditions for couples can have on relationships.

The Significance of Shared Rituals in Relationships

Building Emotional Bonds through Traditions

Shared rituals and traditions are more than just ceremonial acts; they are the threads that weave the tapestry of our relationships. In the framework of attachment theory, these rituals act as anchors, providing emotional safety and a sense of belonging. Whether it’s cooking a special meal together or taking a yearly holiday photo, these acts create a shared narrative, a story uniquely yours.

Blending Cultural and Personal Values

In my practice, I’ve observed couples who successfully blend elements from their individual backgrounds, forming traditions that are rich in cultural and personal significance. For instance, a couple I worked with combined their Mexican and Polish heritages to create a ‘Pierogi and Tamales’ night every Christmas Eve, a beautiful fusion that honors both their backgrounds.

Steps to Creating Your Unique Holiday Traditions

Initiate Open and Honest Communication

Start by having open discussions about what the holidays mean to each of you. What are your fondest memories? What traditions do you hold dear? This conversation is not just about planning; it’s about understanding each other’s emotional landscape.

Collaborative Planning: Crafting Holiday Traditions for Couples, Together

Once you have shared your individual holiday desires and expectations, it’s time to co-create. Remember, the goal is not to replicate traditions exactly as they were, but to blend them into something that is uniquely ‘us’. For example, if one partner enjoys outdoor activities while the other prefers cozy indoor settings, you could plan a day that includes a morning hike followed by an evening by the fireplace.

Embracing Inclusivity and Mutual Respect

It’s vital to approach this process with a spirit of inclusivity and respect. Acknowledge that some traditions might need to be adapted or even set aside to create space for new ones. This doesn’t mean losing your identity; it’s about creating a shared identity as a couple.

Examples of Unique Celebration Rituals

Culinary Adventures: More Than Just Food

Cooking together is a fantastic way to bond. It’s not just about the food; it’s about the act of creation and sharing. Try incorporating dishes from each other’s childhoods into your holiday meals, or create a new dish together that becomes your annual special.

Crafting Memories: Beyond the Photo Album

Consider activities that allow you to create tangible memories. Here’s an idea I loved and learned from a couple I worked with recently: write letters to each other every New Year’s Eve and read them the following year. This ritual has become a cherished part of their holiday experience, offering a moment of reflection and connection. Another couple described an annual get-together with friends where they played favorite games they had, themselves received as childhood holiday gifts. It gets, they say, “pretty silly and becomes incredibly bonding and memorable.” I loved this one.

Mindfulness and Reflection: Deepening Your Emotional Connection

Mindfulness practices can be a wonderful addition to your holiday traditions. Something as simple as lighting a candle every night of the holiday season and sharing what you’re grateful for can deepen your connection and bring a sense of peace and reflection to your home.

Navigating Challenges in Creating Traditions

Managing Differences and Compromises

It’s natural to encounter differences in preferences and traditions. The key is to approach these differences with curiosity and compassion. Compromise does not mean giving up what’s important to you; it’s about finding balance and mutual satisfaction.

Adapting to Life’s Changes

Traditions, like relationships, need to evolve. Be open to adjusting your rituals as your relationship and life circumstances change. What works one year may not the next, and that’s okay. It’s the flexibility and willingness to grow together that strengthens your bond.

Read Pieces from Relationship Strengthening Texts and Articles

You’ll find additional information throughout the Blog posts on and pages of this website. Also, I recommend the works of Dr. Sue Johnson and of Drs. John and Julie Gottman. These brilliant authors offer inspiring and fortifying insights. Holding onto just a couple of ideas to focus on as the New Year starts can be a wonderful ritual.

Sustaining and Growing Your Traditions

Keeping Traditions Alive and Evolving

Revisit and reflect on your traditions annually. What worked well? What might you want to change? This ongoing dialogue ensures that your traditions remain meaningful and aligned with your current lives.

Extending Traditions to the Community

Some holiday traditions for couples can be extended to friends and family, strengthening your sense of community. Hosting a special holiday gathering or organizing a group activity can create shared joy and memories beyond your couplehood.

Year-Round Practices for a Lasting Bond

Finally, consider how the essence of these traditions can be integrated into your daily lives. This might mean setting aside time for regular check-ins or creating small daily rituals that reinforce your connection.


Crafting holiday traditions for couples is a journey of discovery, creativity, and deepening love. It’s about building something that is uniquely yours, a celebration that reflects who you are as a couple and what you aspire to be. As you embark on this journey, remember that the process itself is as important as the traditions you create. It’s an opportunity to learn, grow, and connect in ways that are profound and lasting.

In this festive season and beyond, I encourage you to embrace the joy of creating and evolving your holiday traditions. May they bring you closer, fill your home with love, and create a tapestry of memories that you’ll cherish for years to come.

If you found this article helpful and would like to explore more about emotionally focused therapy or relationship strengthening, feel free to reach out for a consultation. Wishing you a season filled with joy, connection, and meaningful traditions.

“Cooling the Flames: De-escalating Arguments in Love”

De-escalating Arguments in Love, cooling the flames of couple conflict
handling couple conflict

Strategies for Handling Arguments in Relationship


As an experienced, certified Emotionally Focused Therapist (EFT) couple therapist, I’ve spent years helping couples navigate the complex tides of their relationships. I’ve realized that one of the most common challenges couples face is handling relationship conflict, i.e. managing and de-escalating the arguments we all experience. In what follows, I want to share with you some insights and strategies from my clinical world that can help turn heated arguments into opportunities for deeper connection and understanding.

Understanding Conflict Through an EFT Lens

The EFT Perspective on Relationship Conflicts

In Emotionally Focused Therapy, we see conflicts not just as clashes of words or wills, but as expressions of deeper emotional needs and fears. Often, what starts as a minor disagreement can quickly escalate into a full-blown argument when underlying attachment needs are not met.

I recall a couple, let’s call them Gretchen and Walt, who came to me struggling with frequent, intense arguments in areas ranging from finance and parenting to which grandparents’ house they would visit first over the holidays. Through EFT, they learned that their conflicts weren’t really about the chores or the finances; they were about seeking emotional safety and connection. Gretchen and Walt each wanted to know they were taken in by one another.

Emotional Awareness and Regulation

The first step in de-escalating arguments is understanding and regulating your own emotions. It’s about recognizing the signs of emotional escalation within yourself. This awareness creates a pause, allowing you to choose a more constructive response.

For instance, when Gretchen felt unheard, she learned to express her feelings without blaming Walt, saying things like, “I feel worried and a bit afraid when we don’t talk about our finances.” This shift in communication made a huge difference.

Communicating Effectively in the Heat of the Moment

Communication Techniques for De-escalation

Effective communication during an argument is key. In EFT, we focus on expressing underlying emotions and needs without attacking the other person.

A technique colleagues and I often recommend is the ‘softened start-up’. Instead of beginning a conversation with criticism or contempt, start with a statement that opens the door for understanding. For example, “I feel stressed about our schedule and need to talk about it,” is more likely to elicit a positive response than, “You never make time for us.” Granted, this can be hard to do when you lack confidence (haven’t had the experience) that your partner will be receptive to your softened message. A well-trained EFT therapist will help you understand and overcome this block to softened messages.

Step-by-Step Guide to De-escalating an Argument

Here’s a simple guide to follow when you feel an argument escalating:

  1. Pause and Breathe: Take a moment to breathe and step back from the heat of the moment.
  2. Reflect on Your Feelings: Ask yourself what you’re really feeling and why.
  3. Communicate Your Emotional Needs: Share these feelings with your partner in a non-confrontational way.

Creating the Right Environment for Healthy Conflicts

Timing and Environment Considerations

The setting in which you address conflicts is crucial. Avoid starting difficult conversations when either of you is tired, stressed, or distracted. Choose a time and place where you both feel comfortable and are less likely to be interrupted.

Foundations for Resilient Relationships

Building Healthy Conflict Resolution Foundations

To build a relationship that withstands the storms of conflict, regular emotional check-ins are vital. These create a space for discussing feelings and needs outside of heated arguments. Understanding each other’s conflict styles and attachment needs is also crucial.

In my practice, I’ve seen couples transform their relationships by simply dedicating time each week to discuss their feelings and needs calmly and openly.

When to Seek Professional Help

When to Seek EFT Counseling

Recognizing when you need professional help is a sign of strength, not weakness. If arguments are becoming frequent and more intense, or if you find yourselves stuck in the same patterns, it might be time to seek EFT counseling. This can provide a safe space to explore deeper emotional issues and learn effective strategies for managing conflicts.

The Journey of Change

Sustaining Change with EFT Principles

Implementing these strategies is a journey, not a one-time event. It requires patience, practice, and a willingness to be vulnerable. Celebrate your progress, no matter how small, and be patient with setbacks.


In conclusion, remember that every argument presents an opportunity for growth and deeper connection. By applying these strategies, you can turn conflicts into catalysts for strengthening your bond.

Keep in mind that love is not just about agreeing on everything; it’s about navigating disagreements in a way that enriches your relationship. Handling arguments in relationship is a path to deeper connection.

If my colleagues and I can help you on the path of connection that grows and flourishes, reach out to us for a free consultation. 775-235-2205

Additional Resources and Support

For those interested in exploring more about Emotionally Focused Therapy and relationship enhancement, there are numerous resources available. Books such as “Hold Me Tight” by Dr. Sue Johnson, and websites like the International Centre for Excellence in Emotionally Focused Therapy (ICEEFT) offer valuable insights. Additionally, I’ll be hosting a series of workshops and webinars in the coming months, focusing on deepening emotional connections in relationships.

Attachment and Wellness

Cornelius Sheehan, LCSW discusses attachment and wellness

Podcast Interview: “Cultivating Healthy Bonds: Insights from Attachment Theory and Emotionally Focused Therapy”

Feeling connected and important to others is essential for our overall well-being. Simply put, attachment and wellness are inseparable. Therapists use Attachment theory and Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT), a primary application of this theory, to provide significant insights into developing healthy connections.

What is Attachment Theory?

Attachment theory, initially developed by John Bowlby and furthered by Mary Ainsworth, posits that the bonds formed in early childhood have profound effects on our emotional development and interpersonal relationships throughout life. This theory has evolved to encompass adult relationships, recognizing that the need for secure attachments extends well beyond childhood. In therapy, understanding how individuals cope with feelings of disconnection, with threat to security – is key to addressing various emotional and relational challenges.

The Role of Emotionally Focused Therapy in Enhancing Relationship Bonds

Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT), an attachment-based model of treating couples families and individuals, is a short-term form of therapy that focuses on adult relationships and attachment/bonding. It helps individuals understand their emotional responses and patterns in relationships. EFT is a highly-effective, gold standard couples therapy. It encourages partners to express their emotions and needs more openly and empathetically, fostering stronger, more secure relational bonds.

The integration of attachment theory and EFT in therapeutic practices has proven instrumental in promoting mental wellness. By addressing the underlying attachment needs and emotional patterns, therapists can help individuals and couples develop healthier, more fulfilling relationships. This, in turn, contributes significantly to overall mental health and wellness.

Cornelius enjoys discussing the relationship of healthy interpersonal bonds to overall wellness, i.e. attachment and wellness, with Heather Haslem, the Senior Project Coordinator for Workforce Development at the Center for the Application of Substance Abuse Technologies (CASAT) at the University of Nevada, Reno. Heather trained at Duke University as an Integrative Health Coach. She is a National Board-Certified Health & Wellness Coach (NBC-HWC). Heather also brings expertise as a qualified Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) teacher and yoga instructor.

#attachment #emotionalwellness



The Promise of Emotionally Focused Therapy for Stronger Communities

EFT and stronger community

Building stronger communities is crucial, especially now as we face a widespread loneliness epidemic. The path to greater connectedness is clear. Based on attachment theory, EFT recognizes our inherent need for deep social bonds and strong emotional connections, fundamental to robust communities. By focusing on emotional dynamics, EFT helps forge secure, resilient relationships, aiding in resolving conflicts and emotional pain. It enhances emotional control and thinking adaptability, enabling calmer responses to new experiences. At its core, attachment theory and EFT teach us that embracing each other, rather than avoiding or opposing, is key to overcoming distress.

On the macro level, the promise of Emotionally Focused Therapy can be understood from several angles:

  • Cultural Impact: Firstly, recognizing the importance of emotional intelligence and secure attachment can shift cultural narratives. This, in turn, impacts entertainment, education, and policy, pushing societies towards valuing emotional health and strong bonds.
  • Model for Healthy Communication: Additionally, EFT provides tools for validating feelings, empathetic listening, and open communication. When applied widely, these can foster understanding and minimize conflicts, benefiting both personal relationships and larger contexts like communities and workplaces.
  • Strengthening Relationships: At its core, EFT believes that strong attachments promote well-being in individuals and relationships. By mending attachment wounds and nurturing closer bonds, EFT subsequently bolsters family and community stability.
  • Reducing Divorce and Separation Rates: Furthermore, EFT’s effectiveness in addressing relationship issues suggests its broader use could decrease divorce and separation rates, ensuring stable homes for children.
  • Mental Health Improvement: On another note, EFT can diminish symptoms of anxiety, depression, and related disorders. Broadly speaking, this means a healthier public, fewer healthcare expenses, and heightened work efficiency.
  • Education and Prevention: By integrating EFT principles in education or health campaigns, there’s an opportunity to proactively fortify relationships, mitigate relationship strain, and amplify societal grasp of emotional health.
  • Economic Impacts: On the economic front, enhanced mental health, declining divorce rates, and improved work relationships spur economic gains. Content and emotionally stable individuals are often more industrious, potentially elevating economic performance.
  • Research and Development: Lastly, EFT’s success and strong research base could fuel further studies in psychotherapy and relationship dynamics, ushering in advanced therapies and strategies for people and couples.

Should We Do Relationship Counseling Now? Some signs that it might be time.

Should We Do Relationship Counseling Now?

There is a lot of high quality self-help available for distressed relationships. However, some of the difficult issues people in relationship face benefit most by professional help. The question, “should we do relationship counseling now?” comes up and isn’t always easy to answer. In this blog post, I explore seven key indicators that might suggest your relationship is facing challenges. Identifying these red flags early and getting effective relationship counseling can be the first step toward healing and rejuvenating your connection.

Growing a relationship is one of the most fulfilling aspects of life. It is a beautiful journey, but not without its fair share of peaks and valleys. While it’s normal for relationships to encounter rough patches, it’s crucial to recognize the warning signs when things take a downturn.

7 Signs Your Relationship May Be in Trouble

1. Diminished Priority on Quality Time Together

In the early stages of a relationship, the thrill of spending quality time together is often incomparable. However, if you find yourselves gradually drifting apart due to other commitments or distractions, it’s worth taking a closer look at the health of your relationship. To be clear, life has a way of keeping us busy, but a consistent decline in the time spent together could be an indication of fading interest in nurturing your bond. That said, it’s crucial to differentiate between evolving priorities and emotional detachment.

2. Communication Becomes Stagnant or Scarce

Effective communication is the lifeblood of a thriving relationship. When your conversations start feeling repetitive, mundane, or infrequent, it may be a sign of diminishing emotional intimacy and connection.

3. Negative and Minimal Communication

Meaningful communication should uplift and strengthen your relationship. If your interactions are marred by negativity, frequent arguments, or criticism, it can slowly erode the trust and harmony in your partnership.

4. Conflict Breeds Resentment Instead of Resolution

Every relationship experiences conflicts, but they should serve as opportunities for growth and resolution. When disagreements persist without resolution and lead to lingering resentment, it’s an indicator of deeper issues within your relationship.

5. One Partner Voices Concerns

Often, one partner may sense trouble in the relationship before the other. If your partner expresses concerns or dissatisfaction, it’s crucial to take their feelings seriously and initiate an open and honest conversation. This is another factor in answering, “should we do relationship counseling now?”

6. One Partner Shows Reluctance to Listen

Effective communication involves active listening from both partners. When one partner consistently dismisses the other’s thoughts and feelings without a willingness to engage, it can lead to frustration and emotional distance.

7. Criticism of Differences Instead of Embracing Them

Our unique qualities and quirks are what make us individuals. When these differences are met with criticism rather than celebration, it can poison the atmosphere in your relationship. There are reasons this begins to happen in relationship and a well-trained, attachment focused therapist can help you understand and overcome.


Healthy relationships require nurturing, communication, and mutual effort. Determining when it is time to seek relationship counseling isn’t always easy. Recognizing these warning signs that your relationship might be encountering challenges is the first step toward addressing any underlying issues and rekindling the flame of love. If you identify with any of these signs, consider seeking professional guidance and at the least, engaging in a sincere conversation with your partner about your concerns. Relationship counseling like EFT can get you back on the path of connection. Remember, with dedication and mutual support, many relationships can overcome obstacles and emerge stronger than ever before.

Should we do Premarital Counseling?

Should we do Premarital Counseling? engaged couple in reno nv

Your relationship holds wonderful promise for a lifelong responsive connection. Yet, you find yourselves trapped in frequent, seemingly trivial arguments. This trend can be both worrisome and somewhat frightening, casting a shadow over the bright hope that defines you as a couple. But remember, you are not alone. The right premarital counseling can offer a lifeline. Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy (EFT) stands as a valuable, short-term investment for your future, and we offer this type of premarital counseling in Reno, NV.

Established by Dr. Sue Johnson, EFT operates firmly on the foundations of attachment theory. This theory suggests that humans naturally seek to establish potent emotional bonds with others. EFT interprets relationship distress as a reaction to perceived threats to these essential connections.

In essence, when couples clash over various issues – whether finances, jealousy, or intimacy – these conflicts often originate from a protest against a perceived disconnect. This happens when we feel our partner is not available or attuned to our fundamental needs for support and closeness, resulting in distress and potentially leading to feelings of anxiety, numbness, or estrangement.

EFT strives to pinpoint and break the negative interaction cycles that prevent true connection. It aids in establishing a fresh cycle of interaction where both partners are seen as available and responsive. This renewed, stable attachment fosters not only effective communication but also cultivates adaptability in problem-solving, even during conflicts. Call us to learn more about EFT premarital counseling in Reno.

Counseling Help for Families with Teens

Marriage Counseling Free Advice

Understanding and Communicating with Teens

“If you are raising a teen child, you’re likely familiar with something like this: “I need to feel understood…I need you to hear me (BUT DON’T EXPECT ME TO TALK!)” This common challenge in parenting teens highlights the crucial need for effective communication strategies and, in some cases, professional family counseling for teens.

The “Hold Me Tight, Let Me Go” Program

Drs. Paul and Nancy Aikin have created a program called “Hold Me Tight, Let Me Go.” It helps families with teens. This program offers guided conversations. These assist parents and caregivers in understanding their kids better. It’s vital for family health. It helps teens to share more, improving family dynamics. Often, this is enough to boost family communication and understanding.

Integrating Counseling for Teens

Sometimes, counseling for teens is also needed. It complements the conversation techniques. Counseling aims to give teens a voice. It helps them handle emotions and thoughts positively. It’s useful for issues like anxiety, depression, or social challenges. These are common in adolescence.

Counseling often includes the entire family. It ensures teens are heard. Parents learn supportive techniques. This includes active listening and empathy. Families learn to share in a safe environment.

In conclusion, “Hold Me Tight, Let Me Go” starts vital family conversations. Adding counseling for teens can tackle deeper problems. This combination fosters open communication and expert guidance. It helps navigate teenage complexities. For struggling families, this approach can greatly strengthen relationships.

Paul and Nancy appeared on the “That Relationship Show” podcast recently. You can learn more about family workshops here,