Sunday, January 22, 2017

Emotionally Focused Therapy: Evidence Based Couples Therapy

     Couples turning to counseling deserve and should have a working knowledge of how their therapist is going to work with them. It is a bit daunting to begin to ask a therapist how and why they work within a certain framework or even what framework that is. The therapist is never able to give a step by step account of every technique or topic that will be addressed, yet myself and every therapist should be able to give an explanation and description of the type of work and why this is their orientation and or methodology.
     At the Carlsbad Counseling Center, all the therapist use Emotionally Focused Therapy (developed by Dr. Sue Johnson and Les Greenberg in the 1980s) when working with couples. EFT is an evidence based theoretical orientation and protocol that has over 20 years of strong successful outcome based research. Couples rated themselves with a 90% success rate and in the meta analysis the researchers found over 70 to 73% of distressed couples continued their success after follow up, meaning that the improvement within the relationship continues.
    EFT work is very intense and depth oriented. There are no quick fixes but the changes can last a lifetime and change the relationship into a positive and secure loving partnership. Most couples should plan at the minimum 8 session and can range up to 20. This is if the therapy is weekly, if not it can create an extended time frame. For myself and many others, the first session with with both partners, the next two sessions are one on ones to gain more knowledge and history of each person. After these three sessions the couple is seen together for the majority of the therapeutic relationship.
*EFT is a structured approach to couples therapy formulated on the science on adult attachment and bonding to expand our understanding about what is happening in couple relationships.

*Goals of Emotionally Focused Therapy
  • To expand and re-organize key emotional responses – the music of the attachment dance.
  • To create a shift in partners' interactional positions and initiate new cycles of interaction.
  • To foster the creation of a secure bond between partners.
*From the ICEEFT website. 

If you would like more information about EFT or couples therapy, please feel free to contact the center directly at : or call 760-434-9694

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Emotional Efficacy Therapy (8 week protocol) with Kendall Wagner, MFT

     I have always shared that I am an ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy) Therapist that uses and teaches DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy) skills. When combined the therapeutic modality is called 
Emotional Efficacy Therapy. EET is combining the best of ACT, DBT and Exposure Therapy to help you implement new coping strategies even when under stress or crisis. There is an 8 week protocol that you can do in our work together, after this we take a break and give you time to practice the skills and internal changes that you have worked on.
     All of my clients are aware that check ins are always welcome when or if needed. This set protocol allows for a new portion of skills and acceptance of past painful triggers to be tolerated in order to free you up to follow and pursue the areas in life that are most important to you. 
    Here is a link to the EET therapy page for those that would like to know more. 
Emotional Efficacay Therapy
           If the work I do is something you would like to know more about. Please feel free to let me know. or 760 434-9694
                       Carlsbad Counseling Center

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Looping in order to lower Splitting: Not just with BPD Clients

     I have been a licensed psychotherapist for over 23 years. Communication and openness can be an issue. When working with families, I go over the no secrets policy but there are areas that clients need to know what they have shared is only between myself and them. I also explain Looping with clients. This is primarily for those that have some type of splitting behavior. Splitting is very much what you see whenever 3 school girls get together, they always find one to be odd man out and then miscommunicating what has been said. As this is done "in confidence" it makes it very hard to get the full truth or story. There are developmental factors and insecurities that lead to this. It can also create a false sense of us against whoever or whatever is seen as threatening.
     Looping is letting others know that if what I have said or done is taken out of context I will share and or clarify with all family or social members the exact idea or thoughts that I had. I will also share what I have heard was assigned to me. In my personal life, I always use the phrase, just keeping you in the loop. In my professional life, this becomes so important, as Splitting can be used to discredit the progress or growth that I may be working on with one member of a family that is seen as changing the status quo. It can also be used (as in triangulation with young girls) to keep the other person close.
     In families, this happens a lot with teenagers, I get calls from parents saying, my teen said you said this.. I will many times call the parents and explain in general details the heart of the motivation for a comment and the correct context. Couples do this, I will hear from one or the other that you told my spouse I was crazy or other comments. Again, I will clarify my general thoughts and reply then to all.
     Texting and emails are the primary way that clients will communicate. When the text that has been forwarded is extremely undermining and clearly an attempt to split, I will reply to all. There are times that I will include the text sent to me.
     This is a very common technique when I work with my BPD clients, but not only them. It is very common in our society to have to tear someone or something down to feel better about ourselves. Looping allows everyone to keep the dialogue open and talking thru the miscommunications that may have triggered the splitting behavior.  ALL my BPD clients are aware that I use Looping and clarifying conversations to move forward. This allows me to mirror open safe dialogue and correct misunderstandings in a way that many have never experienced.
     Looping helps clients learn they are likable no matter what, I (as therapist) can handle discourse and we can all move forward. Finally it allows clients to experience my apology if I misunderstood what they were trying to say or my reply was said without fully appreciating where they were coming from. Looping must be done in a neutral, open clarifying way. This gives everyone a chance to learn and experience safe open communication of all feelings and thoughts.

Kendall Wagner, LMFT Clinical Director
email or call (760) 434-9694 
if you would like more information.