and in its train come ecstasies
old memories of pleasure
ancient histories of pain.
Yet if we are bold,
love strikes away the chains of fear
from our souls.
We are weaned from our timidityMaya Angelou
In the flush of love’s light
we dare be brave
And suddenly we see
that love costs all we are
and will ever be.
Yet it is only love
which sets us free”
Kasi is a certified EFFT Caregiver Workshop facilitator.
Emotion Focused Family Therapy (EFFT) empowers caregivers (e.g. parents, grandparents, teachers, loved ones) into a healing role. When your loved one is struggling with mental health, you end up feeling so powerless. You’re desperate to get them help, worried about saying the wrong things, and overwhelmed by what to do.
It’s so easy to feel burdened by shame and blame as caregivers, especially when someone you love is struggling with mental health. This blame and shame can hinder caregivers from trying new strategies or setting boundaries. EFFT appreciates how hard it is for parents and caregivers to feel overwhelmed in this context. This model focuses on empowering you, healing your relationships, and helping your loved one feel more connected and more at peace.
EFFT recognizes these patterns and gives a new path to recovery. The skills taught with EFFT are meant for advanced caregiving. These are not typical tools that we employ on a daily basis. This approach to caregiving takes practice and fine-tuning.
How does EFFT work?
EFFT and Emotion Coaching
Emotion coaching helps you and your loved ones become familiar with emotions. You learn the presentation of different emotions (including body cues and typical urges/behaviours), as well as the underlying need associated with this emotion. By becoming familiar with emotions, you are better prepared when this emotion comes up. You know what to expect and the type of response needed.
From this understanding, caregivers are better equipped to help their loved ones identify their internal emotional experience. You will walk away with tools to validate your loved one’s emotions, attend to their distress, and support them in fixing or problem solving the situation.
EFFT and Behaviour Coaching
When your loved one is getting increasingly upset, you want an effective way to address the situation before it worsens. This is where behaviour coaching comes into play. Behaviour coaching looks at ways to interrupt challenging behaviours in a safe and relationship-enhancing manner. What does that mean?
- Less screaming to get things done.
- Reduced frustration to get kids to follow through
- Avoiding lengthy arguments
Addressing our own emotional blocks
The hardest and most enlightening part of EFFT is to identify our own blocks in caregiving. You are not meant to be perfect, and you are trying our best. When you try and use skills like validation or connecting with your loved ones, it doesn’t go as smoothly as hoped. You may have tried many times before to apologize, cajole, negotiate. All those years of feeling helpless start to grate on your self-preservation.
Our own emotional blocks can prevent us from being the types of caregivers we’d like to be. You may be willing to bend the rules when your head really says no. Or, you may have a hard time holding back your own anxieties, and push endless questions at your loved ones to get reassurance. These emotional blocks are influenced by our loved ones, but they are actually our stuff. Unless we can address our emotional blocks, it will keep showing up in our caregiving.
What does an EFFT session look like?
Kasi Shan Therapy runs annual live Emotion Focused Family Therapy caregiver workshops. These workshops run for two days and provide caregivers with the opportunity to connect, learn skills, ask questions, run through demonstrations and seek feedback. Stay tuned as this workshop will be provided online for you to review at your own pace and time!
Individual parent counselling is also available. Learn more here.
Accessing shame-free support about caregiving