chapter  Five
32 Pages

Working Through Relationship Blocks

WithJames L. Furrow, Gail Palmer, Susan M. Johnson, George Faller, Lisa Palmer-Olsen

This chapter reviews the emotionally focused family therapy (EFFT) steps used to move a family toward stabilization and de-escalation. De-escalation is the first change event in EFFT treatment. The chapter examines how relational blocks disrupt the family’s attachment and caregiving process and describes the therapist’s use of emotionally focused therapy interventions to access and explore these relational blocks. The family’s negative interaction patterns are shaped by specific relationship blocks, most clearly seen in dyadic relationships. The chapter focuses on specific relational blocks and how the therapist works with these blocks to de-escalate the family’s reactive pattern. The therapist primarily relies on conjoint sessions focused on specific relationship blocks and working through these blocks to increase caregiving availability and greater awareness of a child’s attachment needs. In shifting more focus to relational blocks, therapist concentrates on interactions occurring in session that reflect the blocks that parents and children experience in the family.