Deepening Engagement in Key Elements of Experience

In response to the above interventions, Louis states that sometimes leaving seems best—and that he feels angry for a moment but mostly he feels “small” when he realizes that he will inevitably fail the test. Check the responses the EFT therapist might make to deepen his experience. It is useful to think of going over and over an experience to develop it, much as you put a photo into a tray of developing fluid over and over again until the picture becomes more defined.

In response to the above interventions, Louis agrees that he “detaches” (active-owned frame for this response; it does not happen to him) when he begins to feel “tested” and is “hypervigilant” for any sign of being judged. How might the therapist deepen and distill the attachment significance of this? Check the responses below that you think the therapist might use. If it is useful, you can also name the interventions.

Louis: “Well, it’s test, test, test.” (he jabs his hand into his other palm) “So, heh, I guess I get to—lets take stock here—not sure its good to walk back in. There is uncertainty, sure.”

Louis then says, with tears in his eyes: “It hurts—scary to fail.” He uses a pushing-away motion with his hand. Check the most likely responses used to deepen his emotional experience further. (four correct responses)

Louis: “I cannot bear to feel so small, so useless. I feel so worthless…can’t make it with you. It seems easier to shut down and give up.”

When Louis has been able to piece together his core emotional experience and how he now tries to deal with it (which ties into his stance in the marital cycle, his withdrawn detachment, and his threats to leave), and owns and experiences it, the therapist then moves to disclosure to the spouse. The EFT therapist might then say: (check the response that does NOT apply).

The therapist in the above interventions goes on a voyage of discovery with the client and tracks, reflects and repeats, evokes and deepens attachment-related emotions. The essence of these emotions is distilled and synthesized into a statement that:

The EFT therapist might make which of the following statements to begin to focus in on, deepen, and distill Harriet’s remarks? (All but two of those given below.)

Write out at least six ways that you would deepen and distill (perhaps put in the frame of attachment fears, losses, and needs) Harriet’s statement in the example above

Now see if you can write out two responses, using specific interventions, reflection and evocative responding to each of the client statements given below.

  1. “I have been able to tell him, under all that criticalness was a lot of hurt and feelings
    of being all by myself for so long, and bringing up the kids alone, but, I am not even
    sure how to really talk about that—even now when he is more open, like he is now.”
  2. “Once you have been let down like I have, well, even when things improve there is
    a kind of reluctance. You might think of taking a few risks and getting closer, but…”

Check the ways that, as an EFT therapist, you might expand and intensify the Step 5 statement in the example above:

Write out one response you might make to Sue’s statement (you can use some of the responses given above if you wish) and what you think/hope the client might say next

A partner says: “I am not sure how I feel. I feel squirmy, uncomfortable.” (covers her face and addresses her partner) “Stop looking at me, okay! I think we have to go now.” Write out how you would phrase a conjecture to bring this emotion into the session and clarify it and then compare your version with the answer key in the back.

A partner says: “Are you joking? You want me to open up to you at those times. That is wild. I don’t think so. Even if I could, it wouldn’t go anywhere. I’d get hammered.” (very quietly) “I couldn’t do it.” Write out how you would phrase a conjecture to bring this emotion into the session and then again compare your version with the one in the answer key.

Write out a conjecture that you could make to Sarah now using one of the core emotions.

Conjectures also link emotional realities to relational moves and patterns. The client, Sarah, says: “It was too much—terrifying.” Write out an interpretation that now links her fear to her responses to her spouse.

Sarah’s partner, Sam, says: “Then she refuses to speak to me, only talks to me about chores and arrangements. So then I get very frustrated. Suddenly I have no wife, but I try to stay calm, even though the door is closed. I try to stay reasonable and talk to her about what is wrong.” Write a conjecture linking this partner’s emotional experience to his likely responses to his spouse.

The last word of the 3 Ds set out at the beginning of this chapter is disclose. Disclosure in enactments is part of the process of restructuring interactions in EFT. It is also a process that deepens and clarifies the experience of emotion. Can you write out how you would set up an enactment, how you would help Sarah disclose to her spouse her emotions as expressed in the answer section in Exercise 21 above

In Step 5 of EFT, as engagement with underlying core emotions deepens, attachment theory tell us to expect that the process of therapy will extend to an existential level that addresses working models as to the nature of others, the connection to others, and the value of the self

Attachment theory speaks of lack of connection as trauma, isolation as unbearable, and to how the self is defined in interactions with loved ones. Part
of the deepening and distilling process is including this existential level in validations
and conjectures at this point in therapy. Check the responses that make up these kinds
of conjectures in the examples below

In Step 5, as part of the deepening process the therapist can also self-disclose as a way of leading the client to touch and process a difficult experience. Check the self-disclosures below that fit with the EFT model.