Bonding Focused Couple Therapy
© 2007, all rights reserved, by George Hartwell
M.Sc., Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
What is Emotionally Focused
Couple Therapy, what is the Research and How does it fit with the Bible?
Emotionally focused couple therapy makes adult attachment (bonding) a
prority in the session.
- Emotionally focused therapy is based on research on bonding and attachment,
- The Bible teaches that 'life-giving-attachments' are the key to
life, love and God.
Bonding or Emotionally Focused
Bonding Focused Couple Therapy focuses on attachment
needs; on the feelings associated with distance from one's lover; on
overcoming the relationship patterns that block the meeting of these needs.
When a therapist takes this focus couples stay in therapy, make gains
and sustain these gains over time. As a Christian
marriage counsellor I have found that almost everyone in Christian
couple therapy identifies bonding as the key issue.
What does it look like when Emotionally
focused couple therapy makes bonding the focus of marital
therapy. We focus on those needs and feelings and
conflicts related to closeness and attachment the primary issues that
get our attention. Things are less important than the people
and their relationship.
Psychological Research Basis of
emotionally focused couple therapy
John Bolby, Ainsworth and others discovered and
described "Attachment" as a life supporting need of a
newborn. For children who are given enough life-giving
attachment to live, the quality of their attachment is a significant
factor underlying adult personality development.
Upon closer examination, researchers and therapist
have found it fruitful to look at committed adult love relationships
as a form of bonding equivalent to that between mother and
child. For partner, as for child, the relationship provides
comfort, security, the courage to be oneself, to love, to learn and
Theology / Biblical Perspective
"It is not good for man to be alone", says
God, in the creation story of the Bible. Genesis chapter two.
For this reason a man shall leave his mother and
father and be joined (cleave) to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.
They were both naked, the man and his wife, and were
"Live (abide) in me. Make your home in me just as
I do in you. In the same way that a branch can't bear grapes by
itself but only by being joined to the vine, you can't bear fruit
unless you are joined with me. When you're joined with me and I with
you, the relation intimate and organic, the harvest is sure to be
abundant. Separated, you can't produce a thing." Jesus in the
Gospel of John, chapter 15.
At the heart of marriage is a God-given bond, a loving
contact, a unity. This intimate attachment, dependency,
connection is good, of God and meets a fundamental God-given need in
mankind not to be alone. On the other hand a relationship
without such a life-giving connection, intimate bonding, unity is not
healthy, not God's plan and represents an emotional and spiritual
divorce even in the midst of a legal and church sanctioned
'marriage.' Should one end and expose this 'white-washed tomb?'
To answer that consider what Jesus said, in a similar
and parallel situation. Jesus (John 15) insists that a
life-giving bond, attachment, connection to him is essential to a
life of fruitfulness. Without this continuing and abiding
attachment there is no life and no fruitfulness. And Jesus does
not hesitate to declare the end of this situation. Such a
branch is discarded. "If anyone does not abide in Me, he
is cast out as a branch."
For sessions with George, phone
counselling or retreats:
Toronto, Canada (416) 234-1850, long distance in USA or Canada:
1 (877) 854-3990
counselling retreat or Christian
marriage retreat provides and excellent way to begin the process
of achieving an emotionally connected couple relationship. Christian
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