Questions for the Couples Counselor:
Why do I feel so depressed and anxious when my relationship is not good?
If I feel so awful, isn't this a sign the relationship is doomed and I should leave?
The Connection Between Brain Response, Physical Health, and the Strength of our Relationships
Alternatively, if your relationship is in trouble, you’ll likely experience an increase of mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, sleep disruption, etc. Distressed relationships also have a negative impact on our physical health, including higher incidence of heart disease, stroke and increased levels of cortisol in the body, which impacts our immune system functioning.
What Healthy Relationships Can Do For Your Brain and Your Health: Fascinating Study Findings
The study involved measuring the brain’s fear and pain response to electric shocks to the feet of married women both before and after they participated in couples counseling using Emotionally Focused Therapy.
Before Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy, the women’s level of fear and pain was measured in an fMRI machine three different times: alone in the fMRI machine, holding the hand of a stranger, and holding the hand of her husband. There were very small decreases in fear and pain for the instance of holding the hand of the stranger, and interestingly, even smaller holding the hand of her husband.
After 20 sessions of Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy, the level of fear and pain for the woman alone in the machine stayed the same. When she held the stranger’s hand, there was still fear and pain, but less than before the couples counseling. Remarkably, when she held her husband’s hand, there was very little pain or fear reported with the shock!
The results of this latest study confirm those of many others, which indicates we are better off in healthy relationships than alone. As mammals, we are hard-wired from cradle to grave to seek out and flourish when we are securely connected with others.
The study also illustrates the effectiveness of Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy, along with similar studies. In EFT, we help couples understand how they are getting stuck, how they can communicate their needs in ways that will yield the response they want, and change their interactional patterns so that they heal hurts and develop deep, secure and satisfying closeness.
If you can identify with experiencing anxiety, depression, or stress in your life related to your most important relationships, call 303-513-8975 today or schedule an appointment for Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy. Your brain will thank you!