The first stage of EFT focuses on identifying and de-escalating the negative interaction patterns that contribute to relationship distress.

Identifying and Understanding Negative Interaction Patterns

In this initial step, the therapist helps the couple recognize the destructive cycles of interaction that keep them stuck in conflict and emotional distance. By mapping out these patterns, couples begin to understand how their actions and reactions perpetuate the cycle of distress. This awareness is crucial for breaking free from automatic, unproductive behaviours.

Reducing Conflict and Emotional Reactivity

Once the negative cycles are identified, the therapist works with the couple to reduce conflict and lower emotional reactivity. This involves helping partners become more aware of their triggers and the underlying emotions driving their responses. Techniques such as reflective listening and validation are used to create a safer emotional environment, allowing partners to feel heard and understood without immediate escalation into conflict.