Calming Moody Storms - Emotion Focused Family Therapy (EFFT)

By Ellie Pike & Allison Chase

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Today’s episode is all about giving you an incredibly practical tool for navigating emotion-focused conversations anywhere and with anyone. To do that, we’ve invited Dr. Allison Chase to walk us through Emotion Focused Family Therapy (EFFT for short).

Mostly, we will focus on Emotion Coaching - a skill that creates shortcuts between two very different parts of the brain. The results are powerful and can help you and your loved one feel connected and empowered rather than confused and upset.

It’s important to note that Dr. Chase discusses EFFT skills in the context of a caregiver’s relationship with someone battling an eating disorder, but you can take EFFT skills into any relationship that gets sidetracked by intense emotional outbursts - be they at work, home, or out in the world.

Transcript

Ellie Pike:
If you are a caregiver or support someone healing from an eating disorder or really any mental health struggle, you know how intense that emotional journey can be.

Dr. Allison Chase:
Because it's really hard and it is really scary to have to take on this role when it can be so foreign and so uncomfortable and your loved one might be yelling and screaming at you.

Ellie Pike:
Explosive emotional outbursts often leave us defeated, depleted and ashamed, feeling like we continually say the wrong thing or act the wrong way when all we want to do is help our loved one. It's tough. It's really, really tough and I have good news. There are therapeutic methods that can diffuse in the moment tension while also building neuro pathways for your loved one to start managing their emotions on their own. Sound good? Let me introduce you to Dr. Allison Chase.

Dr. Allison Chase:
It's Dr. Allison Chase. I am currently a senior clinical advisor with Eating Recovery Center.

Ellie Pike:
Dr. Chase is going to walk us through something called emotion-focused family therapy, EFFT for short. EFFT is a practical way for families to move through difficult emotions and transform all those potentially awful interactions into moments of growth, trust, and connection. Our conversation can be thought of in two parts. First, we'll cover the basic role of caregivers and supports and therapy as well as what is happening in our brains when we feel big emotions. Second, we jump into hands-on skills you can start practicing today.

As a side note, this episode is for anyone navigating emotion-focused conversations, not just caregivers. Ready to start? Here we go. You are listening to Mental Note podcast. I'm Ellie Pike. Great, thank you so much for being here. I really admire you as an expert in this field and I'm looking forward to providing our listeners with really practical tools on how to connect with their loved ones and meet them where they are. So we'll dive into more of the specifics, but I was wondering if we could just start with some broad strokes and talk about what role the family has historically had or the reputation the family has historically had, especially in the family therapy world.

Dr. Allison Chase:
I think that's a really important place to start and to understand how far we have come. It has been for decades, and I'm going back historically since sort of psychotherapy really started. The idea was that somehow this was the fault. The pathology in individuals was the fault of the family, and not just only the family, but the selective, the mother or the father, whether they be toxic or avoidant or not available. And this really got perpetuated for so many years. I have many cartoons that I will pop up on various slides, the old sort of Freudian couch that says things like, "Well, let's just know we're going to just blame your parents and then we can just duck out of this session." Because that is what it was.

And thankfully it was probably about 20, almost 30 years ago now, the work that was done at the Maudsley clinic, particularly in the area of eating disorders, began to look at what happens when we do involve the parents but involve them in a really helpful productive way. And from there, some great research was done and family-based treatments were created so that we could help support involving family. And not only that, but the really big piece of it is that families are not to blame. Psychological disorders, eating disorders, all the mental health disorders, they are complex. They are multitude of factors. Biological and genetic being a huge one as well, 50 to 70% of many of the disorders we know that. So this blame on parents and family is something that we need to be really done with and I think we're moving in that direction. We just need to keep spreading that word.

Ellie Pike:
I can really appreciate how this transition has moved because I've heard those stereotypes like, "Oh, this person has problem with attachment. Well that's because of her absent father. He was at work all the time." And that those kinds of narratives are not helpful for the family as they're trying to heal together. And so hearing that that has really evolved over time and we can now include caregivers as supports, is really, really important and very validating for the person going through their own emotional experience. So before we dive in to meeting someone in their emotional state and what that looks like, can you just share from a psychological perspective a little bit more about how emotions work in the brain?

Dr. Allison Chase:
Yes. Well, one of the things we know about emotions is that they are very automatic. They are housed in a place in our brain, often referred to as the downstairs brain, which is a very basic way of thinking about it. But really when you think about the part of the brain that's closest to where our spinal cord is, it's where there's involuntary automatic behaviors, things like blinking and breathing and all of that. Well, one of the things that we know is that our emotions are like that too. They're much more of a stimulus response. So emotions themselves are very physiological. They come on when we're very reactive and it can be very intense. And this is also known, which may be more familiar to most as that fight-or-flight system that gets activated and that gets going and that's what ends up happening. So in there not only blinking and breathing and all kinds of things, but when emotions come on, they take over the body, you have a physiological response to them.

And one of the things that we have as humans, thankfully, is actually in a prefrontal or frontal cortex. So that is what uniquely makes us human. That's the more complex part of the brain that exists up there. And so what happens is that when that part is working, the upstairs brain, shall we call it, is working, it can help to manage the downstairs brain and all of the intense reactions and all of the intense ways that our body physiologically is working. And so what happens with emotions is we need to really create a better bridge between that upstairs brain, which is not only being able to have higher levels of thinking like empathy and being able to make sense of things, but it's also where we can focus on breathing and being mindful and Calming ourselves down because truly if we can do that, then it gives us some control over that very activated downstairs brain. You think about it when you're scared or nervous, your palms might sweat, your heart might beat fast. All of these things tend to happen and it can be very overwhelming.

Ellie Pike:
It makes me think of my family. I have a four-year-old and recently we've been dealing with that downstairs brain, the heightened emotions, the quick responses and how to manage that in a way that's validating, like that's okay to have those feelings and how do we move forward? So we have something that we call the first rule in our house and it's kind like the only rule. So the first rule, we'll say what is the first rule? And she'll take a deep breath and say "Stay calm." And what she does is she starts to take deep mindful breaths and then just to see that transition for her, it's really incredible. And so if a four-year-old can do it, I know that the rest of us can do it too. And it takes practice for me as well. So I can really appreciate how our brain is working front and back together.

Dr. Allison Chase:
And it's really, it's our biological systems at work. We have the sympathetic nervous system that that's her activation, and when she does the breathing, she turns on the opposite opposing parasympathetic, which brings her down. So a lot of times I do now to your four-year-old who I'm sure is beyond brilliant and could possibly understand that, but for most that part isn't so easy to understand. But once we can talk to caregivers and kind of teenagers into adults, they begin to be able to understand that a little bit better. So they're willing to give some of these things a try.

Ellie Pike:
Yes, having the science and the facts behind it can really be the impetus for trying something new and knowing it's not just hearsay is helpful. So one of the things that you are an expert in is emotion-focused family therapy, and that comes with a lot of practical skills. So I'm really looking forward to this conversation, but first let's just start with what is emotion-focused family therapy? And I'll just make a note that we will refer to it as EFFT for short.

Dr. Allison Chase:
Right. So EFFT came out of the work that had been done with looking at family-based therapy that I referred to before, the traditional sort of Maudsley family-based approach that was used with eating disorders. And the approach was, as I said, amazing. It recognized the role of caregivers. It recognized no blame, it recognized pulling them in to have them help take over and do this and giving them really the caregivers like the appropriate kind of power in this situation. One of the things that became very clear though, and I saw it clinically in working with FBT or family-based treatment with many families that I worked with was that the behavioral part of this treatment, which was about taking over and making sure that you get your loved one healthy with nutritional stability was that there was a lot of emotion that's still going on. FBT is a very behavioral approach.

There's a lot of emotion that's going on for the loved one themselves, the one that's suffering with an eating disorder or mental health disorder, and for the caregiver because it's really hard and it is really scary to be attempting to put all these things in place to have to take on this role when it can be so foreign and so uncomfortable and your loved one might be yelling and screaming at you. So with that said, Adele Lafrance took a look at how do we help better navigate and understand these emotions that are going on. So EFFT focuses on has a few different components to it. There's still the behavioral component, which is very necessary because in any kind of mental health issue, we do have what we would call maladaptive or not healthy behaviors that need to be changed. We need to shift them, we need to move to something more adaptive and healthy.

So there's a behavioral component, there's an emotional component. An emotional component is about understanding emotions a little bit like we talked about before and understanding them in the brain. But really helping to navigate how to help the caregiver themselves manage and understand emotions so that they can coach and help their loved one, the one suffering from the mental health issue to be able to do it. So it's serving all these purposes here and helping really the whole system. And then probably one of my favorite parts of this as well is looking at what we would call emotional blocks. And what we mean by emotional blocks is identifying and better understanding what is truly getting in the way of being able to navigate your emotional functioning and your behaviors in a way that are helpful with your loved one. And so what we have come to learn and to understand is that many caregivers, they struggle. They struggle to put in place the things that probably need to, shall we say, need to happen when it comes to navigating the treatment process and working with their loved ones.

And so we need to think about how can we help that, what's getting in the way? And we've come to understand that what's getting in the way is their own human behaviors and emotions and life and traumas and intergenerational experiences and all those things are going to get in the way and we understand that they exist and we can help you work through them. So again, it's about identifying the blocks and working through the blocks. An example would be, and I know we're going to talk more about examples. But just to illuminate this would be for instance, when it comes to eating disorders and making sure your loved one, your child is eating that snack that is so necessary at the end of the day, we have a child that needs nutritional intake and this has to happen. And many times we have families that say, "I tried to get them to finish the snack, but they just were so distressed and so upset and I just let it not."

And so one of the things we talked to families about is really what happened that they need their nutritional stability. What we come to realize is they're really scared. They're scared that if they push that child to finish that snack, that child just may go up into their room and do something really harmful and not okay because they're so distressed and they're so uncomfortable. So instead of blasting the parents or making judgment about how ineffective the parent is, instead we get to sit with the parent and say, "Okay, this makes sense. This is what you're scared of. And we can problem solve for that. We can work on something for that. We can help you. And I get why you're so scared because you know what, before coming to treatment, they were hurting themselves and it makes perfect sense."

So that would be an example of identifying a block. And then the last component or part is this block piece that we look at for us as clinicians. And that to me is my most favorite part of all of it because it really forces us as clinicians to better understand what's getting in the way for us, what's getting in the way for us in really helping our caregivers and our families to do what needs to be done.

Ellie Pike:
One thing that I want to define for the audience, because we've used the word caregiver quite a bit, and that's definitely the language around EFFT. Is this only for caregivers of children or teenagers or what are the implications? How can we use EFFT and the skills we'll talk about today?

Dr. Allison Chase:
Yes, so I'm so glad you mentioned that. And I do have to say true confessions. Sometimes I will switch to mom or dad to parent and as opposed to recognizing that the role of the caregiver is much more universal in that there is a whole mix of families and constellation of families and who is doing the caretaking in navigating many different situations. And when it comes to parental figures.

And there are times where parental figures have shifted through time, oftentimes not a biological parent as well. So all of that changes. And what I think I also so appreciate about EFFT is it really looks at family work through the lifespan. So we are not just talking about children, adolescents, we are looking at adults as well, knowing that family support and caregiving support and any kind of support is essential at any age. So by caregivers we are talking about those that are taking care of young adults or adult individuals, and it can be spouses, it can be partners. There are times where it is friends, it is those that are roommates, but caregiver refers to anyone that is supporting a loved one.

Ellie Pike:
Thank you so much. This is really helpful to know that anyone listening today could use some of these skills. And I have to provide a little anecdote here that there are times where I really dive into the EFFT skills that I do know and that my husband will laugh and be like, "I know what you're doing to me." But it's working right, because I'm meeting him in his emotion and helping empathize and understand that emotion and validate it before moving on. And that can be used with anyone. It's such an incredible life skill. So thank you for clarifying some of those pieces and now I'm really looking forward to diving in with you regarding how this actually looks. It sounds nice and lovely, but what does this actually look like and where do we even start?

Dr. Allison Chase:
I think the place to start when we're talking about utilizing the skills would be with something called emotion coaching. Emotion coaching ends up usually being the first place to start and the reason being is that it actually serves a very useful role and when you're trying to navigate behavioral challenges and struggles as well, so it plays in there. So really emotion coaching is about understanding the emotions. We talked a little bit about that upstairs and downstairs brain. Understanding how powerful emotions are and how physiological they are and how they serve this role and reflects a place in the body.

And the other thing that I do want to point out that I'm always wanting to educate caregivers about is to remember emotions aren't bad. Actually many times out there emotions can save our lives. Truly the times where you're not paying attention. And well, I can tell you I live in downtown Austin and it wouldn't be the first time that I just happened to be glancing at my phone, I'm about to step off a crosswalk and you look up and right up a car or kind of a bus is coming that way and I don't even think or react.

Next thing I know I'm kind of back on the curb and I'm huffing and puffing just because... And I realize "Well thank goodness, that was my fight or flight system." That was my true alarm system that went off that got me to step back on the curb and keep me safe. So emotions are not a bad thing. They've served a purpose for us for many, many years. What happens is is when they are showing up when there's not a true alarm, but rather a false alarm, that's what we see when we see much of anxiety among all these other reactions that are happening. So first things first is really understanding emotions and being able to navigate helping a loved one to be able to not only tolerate but engage in working through the emotion. And we do that by validating, like true validating. And when I have this conversation with parents, they talk about it all the time and help raise their hand and say, "I do validate. I tell them I completely understand, I do. I tell them that I completely understand it's been a really rough day at school."

And I'll say, "I bet you do because I know how much you love and care about your child. Of course you do. And then what do you usually say next?" And they will say, "Well, I let them know that I completely understand it was a really tough day from school." And then I'll say, "But just think you're home now. You don't have to worry about it. You don't have to think about it." And I will stop them and say, "What did you say? You said this little word in there, you said, 'But'. You said, 'But you're home now. Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.'" What I explained to caregivers is that the minute you say, but you actually unfortunately have not really validated them, you say you kind of get it, you do get it, and then you kind of move on your way to not sit with them in what they're really experiencing.

So what happens is when you don't take them deeper to fully understand what they really get or that you really get what they're experiencing, they're not going to work through the emotion. It's going to keep just spiraling in their body. So instead, what we want to do, and it's really quite an easy skill, but it does take practice, is to change that but to a because. So I completely understand that you have had a really hard day at school because I know you've been out of school for a few weeks in treatment and because you haven't seen all these kids in a while right now, and because you've missed so much schoolwork, it's got to be so overwhelming to have to go back and try to figure it all out. So if you noticed I gave becauses in not just one, but three. And three is what's found to be sort of that magic number in really saying, I get what must be going on for you.

Ellie Pike:
I think about this one and lots of examples start coming to mind. Would you mind if I run one by you to-

Dr. Allison Chase:
Sure.

Ellie Pike:
... see what that would look like? So I had someone ask me, they were like, "Oh, how do I get my kid to go to school? They're having trouble getting to school." And I asked them, "Well, what's happening?" And they said "He doesn't want to put on his pants because he says that he's really uncomfortable in them and he feels really fat wearing them." And then I said, "Well, what did you tell him?" And they said, "Well, I said, 'You look amazing.'" And so just in that process I was like, "Okay, we could do some coaching in this regard regarding how to validate their emotions using these skills." So Dr. Chase, if this was someone that you were working with and you were navigating this with the caregiver, how would you coach them to respond to that child?

Dr. Allison Chase:
Yes, very similarly to what you said is what do you think is going on with them? And so the parent in this case it sounds like can identify that they're feeling so uncomfortable in their clothes and it sounds like that's what their child offered them. So I would work with that parent to work on how can we truly validate what they're feeling and experiencing. So I would actually work on some role play, but I would say, you be the child, I'm going to be you. And I would say "So-and-so, it sounds like you are having a really hard time going to school right now and you're having a really tough emotional reaction because you are feeling so uncomfortable in those pants and the clothes you're wearing right now. Because I know that you've been working so hard in treatment and so hard to get yourself nutritionally stable that you are fitting very different in your clothes right now. And because you're afraid that maybe kids are going to notice that you look different and that would be so incredibly uncomfortable.

Ellie Pike:
And just as you were talking, our listeners don't know this, but you and I are looking at each other right now and I was pretending to be that kid in my mind because you're talking to me and I felt really connected to you. And even if everything you said wasn't exactly how I was feeling, I know that you were trying really hard to understand why I was feeling that emotion. And so can you speak to that a little bit? Because I know not every caregiver is going to get the because statements "correct." And is that a negative thing or do most people still feel more connected and met in that moment?

Dr. Allison Chase:
It's absolutely okay if you don't get all your becauses okay. The facts that you are putting, the becauses out there to say that I really want to connect with you on this and I want to understand will keep that process going of keeping that loved one, that child working through all those uncomfortable feelings, which is really what our ultimate goal is. And the great news is that the more that you practice, the better it goes. And what I often will explain to parents as well too is that we need to remember when we ourselves as caregivers are feeling any bit of anxiety, our downstairs brain is going to get going. We're not going to have as much clarity from our upstairs brain. So when we do this more frequently in practice, we actually, we ourselves get more calm in doing it so we do have more clarity.

We would be amazed in how much we really do know and understand about what our loved one is going through. Oftentimes what ends up happening is your kids, the loved ones, kids, adults, spouses, whoever. They're going to let you know, they're going to say "That is not true. That's not right at all. That is not right at all. That is not what I'm worried about. I'm really just worried about what it's going to be like to have to turn in this paper and I haven't been in school in a week." And then the beautiful thing is you get to say "Thank you. That helps me to understand so much. It makes perfect sense that you're feeling so overwhelmed because you're overwhelmed by what kind of schoolwork is going to happen and what's going to do this." The other thing that often happens is to hear as many parents ask me about what happens when my kid says to me, "You're talking to me like my therapist again, stop sounding like a therapist. Can't you just talk like yourself."

And I tell parents you use your language, but something like this can be very helpful, which is "I can imagine it's super weird hearing me talk to you this way. In the last 15 years of your life, nope, I have not talked to you this way and I'm doing this now and I get it. It's super bizarre. And here's the thing, I'm willing to learn this super bizarre thing because of how much I love and care about you and how much I want to help support you. So I am all open to you telling me exactly what I sound like and exactly how weird it might be and just know that I'm doing it because I love and care about you so much and I want to help you."

Ellie Pike:
I really appreciate you addressing that piece of discomfort, not just for the caregiver but for the individual receiving that feedback and validation when it's such a shift from what they've been used to and it feels a lot like therapy, but there's a good reason for it. And it's because the parent is learning a new skill and it might be awkward and clunky and that is okay, it's all about practice. So Allison, I know that there are some folks that have trouble with a validation piece and I can actually have trouble with this validation piece as I parent or as I navigate life with my loved ones. And one example that comes to mind is a caregiver that says, "You know, I'm really kind of scared of validating this emotion because I don't want to reinforce they're feeling ugly or that they're feeling like they look terrible." And that's not necessarily feeling there. Terrible's not a feeling. [inaudible 00:28:38]-

Dr. Allison Chase:
But that's the language that actually many of our patients and clients use that they tie it into. It is like a feeling that that is the case. So it makes sense and it is very hard for parents, for caregivers to validate that because their fear is that by validating, they're agreeing with them that they look terrible, right? They're agreeing with them that everybody's going to see that they look terrible, all of the things. And it's really important to understand that's not what you're validating. You are not validating that they look terrible. That is not it.

You are validating that they are feeling so uncomfortable in their body and they're feeling so uncomfortable as their emotions feel bigger than they are and as they're feeling overwhelmed and they're feeling anxious and they're feeling concerned and they're feeling all of these things. So what you want to do is you really want to validate for them exactly how they're feeling with your becauses. And the becauses are really based on understanding that it's hard to go back to school after you haven't seen people for a while and it's hard to go back and be in a setting where you recognize that in middle school everybody looks at everybody else.

You completely understand that it's really hard when you are not feeling very good about how you are and how you feel in your body to be able to navigate that in a social setting. That's the part that you are validating for them.

Ellie Pike:
So let's do another role play that kind of touches on something similar where it could feel really difficult to actually validate. So let's say I'm going to be an adult who is having trouble going to a social gathering. And I want you to respond to me the way that we'd like our caregivers to do that. I just don't think I can make it to this holiday gathering. I feel so alone and no one likes me anyways.

Dr. Allison Chase:
It sounds to me like you are having a really tough time right now, not wanting to socialize or put yourself out there. And that makes so much sense to me because you've been working really hard on understanding your emotions and that is really overwhelming. And when you're working on any kind of mental illness and understanding what's going on, you can feel as if nobody else can possibly understand or have perspective of what's happening. And at the same time, because you've been trying out different strategies that you've been using to take care of yourself and make yourself healthier, and that can feel really uncomfortable and awkward to have to talk about if somebody asks you what's going on.

Ellie Pike:
So I felt like you were definitely connecting with me, right? You're like, "Okay, I'm going to meet you where you are." And as the loved one, you're also I imagine feeling like, "And we need to leave. We're about to be late to this holiday gathering." So how do I get you to come with me and I'm still in this place of, I'm not sure. So what's the next step? How do you take it from here after you validate?

Dr. Allison Chase:
So what you're referring to is we talk about that as being sort of taking on the behavioral role in step, right? Because we have something to do. We have to leave, we have to go. One of the things, now this gets a little bit more complicated when we're talking about a spouse or grown adults as far as sort of making commands, not requests, right? Because we are talking about adults. When you've got a parent-child situation, we really work with parents as to making clear commands, not really requests. We are kind of telling them what they need to do, like let's say the situation with school as opposed to a party, something like that.

But when we're talking about what the spouse that you want to encourage and support a ticket out the door in order to do this. And then as you notice in a very practical example that your loved one is getting increasingly frustrated and upset and doesn't want to do it, that is when we pause and we emotion coach again, we use the validation, we use the becauses to continue to understand how uncomfortable this is going to be and what's going to happen, all the becauses.

Because it can be really hard to have to go into a setting where people might not really understand you and because you might not want to be asked where you've been and how things have been going. And because it's been a while since you've had these social interactions. So the idea is to help navigate all of this emotion to be able to bring it down so then you can be in a place to fully support and come up with practical solutions of how to do it and how to navigate it.

Ellie Pike:
So going back to the brain piece that you were talking about, this person is in their survival downstairs part of the brain, and then as you are validating, the caregiver is validating. Is that helping their upstairs brain meet them and regulate them naturally by feeling understood?

Dr. Allison Chase:
Yes, it is helping to bring down, remember I told you about that sympathetic and then the parasympathetic, right? So if you can work on that, the opposing, the calming of the emotions, their body can calm down so they can better access the upstairs brain to understand all the kind of practical real parts of it. And the whole idea behind emotion-focused family therapy, EFFT, is to really have a, it's kind of like this cascading impact and effect with the clinician, the therapist helping to support the caregiver. The caregiver in turn learning all these skills and this ability to support their loved ones who are suffering so that their loved ones can in turn better learn to support themselves, which is so very important.

Ellie Pike:
I really appreciate that analogy of the caregiver being the bridge. So helping someone who's in the downstairs brain have that upstairs staircase support to get to access that prefrontal cortex and make more rational and sound decisions. So going back to the example of I feel lonely, I don't really want to go to this event. Maybe expressing some of that like social anxiety. Once you've really validated as the caregiver and helped them calm down, access their prefrontal cortex, think more rationally, is it appropriate at that point to say, "And I would really love for you to come with me, we need to leave in five minutes." Moving into that behavioral action oriented state.

Dr. Allison Chase:
Very much so. As you do that, it's providing that behavioral support. "And I'd like you to come with me and let's think about our game plan about what we can do if it becomes uncomfortable, if things are happening." It's where you get to go into kind of practical mode. So after you do the emotional piece, the emotional support, and then you get to go into practical support and practical support is usually not an issue for most caregivers who doesn't love to be able to fix and solve things. That is what we so enjoy doing. So doing both pieces of that first though the emotional has got to get done because we can't bring it down, then we can't go into the practical piece.

Ellie Pike:
Well, I'm very aware that on this podcast we've really focused primarily on that emotional piece, but I think that's because you can't get anywhere without that foundation and because it's really difficult, it's a really big skill to keep practicing and to keep learning. And then you're right, that second behavioral modification piece comes a little bit more naturally.

Dr. Allison Chase:
And Ellie, that is very much the case. The focus on the discussion of the emotion piece is because that is the part that is often very foreign to most people. So it really is doing something different to have to stay in and support and tolerate the emotion piece with all of that validation before you can go to that practical piece, which usually is not overly difficult for one to find.

Ellie Pike:
I really appreciate this whole conversation and it makes me a lot more aware of how many interactions in a day I have where I need to just pause and take that 20 seconds to connect because that's really what it is. It creates connection. It's face-to-face conversation of meeting someone where they are and then saying, "I understand you feel that way because, because, because." And it doesn't take that long, but it does take effort and it does take conscientious wording and being present. So thank you so much for digging in with us. Is there anything that you feel like we've not touched on that really would be important as someone starts to explore what EFFT is?

Dr. Allison Chase:
I think the only part that I would reiterate and mention is that trying anything new, it can be overwhelming. It can be a little bit scary. It can feel uncomfortable like you're not doing it right. And there are times that loved ones are maybe not reacting in the best way or the nicest way as it's happening. And I just want to encourage caregivers to really hang in there. It is impactful and it makes a huge difference. And just practice. Just practice on friends, on others and just kind of using that language and doing something different and do not be scared to put it out there to try, because the beautiful part is you can own the fact that this is a new language and it's something you haven't done before and you're doing it because of how much you deeply, deeply love and care about those that are suffering.

Ellie Pike:
One of my favorite aspects of EFFT is that it isn't overly focused on just the emotions or just the behaviors. The method combines deep empathy with efficient problem solving so that nobody gets stuck in emotional quicksand. As you try EFFT skills on your own, just remember the basics of getting past emotional blocks instead of saying, "I understand where you're coming from, but we should really focus on A, B, and C." Try replacing that but with a because and say, "I understand where you're coming from because X, because Y, and because Z." Once they are calm, because you validated their experience, then you become more action oriented by saying, "And we need to come up with a solution together." New skills take time and practice. But I'm excited for you to give it a go. If you'd like more resources, follow the links in today's show notes.

Thank you for listening to Mental Note podcast. Our show is brought to you by Eating Recovery Center and Pathlight Mood & Anxiety Center. If you'd like to talk to a trained therapist to see if in-person or virtual treatment is right for you, please call them at 877-850-7199. As the holidays are here, I'm excited to invite you to a special six-week long support group called Navigating the Holiday Season with Resilience and Community. This free series will meet Tuesday afternoon from November twenty-eighth through January 2nd. Sign up by following the link in our show notes or by visiting eatingrecovery.com/support-groups. If you like our show, sign up for our e-newsletter and learn more about the people we interview at mentalnotepodcast.com. We'd also love it if you left us a review on iTunes. It helps others find our podcast. Mental Note is produced and hosted by me, Ellie Pike, and directed and edited by Sam Pike. Till next time.

Presented by

Ellie Pike, MA, LPC

Ellie Pike is the Sr. Manager of Alumni/Family/Community Outreach at ERC & Pathlight Behavioral Health Centers. Over the years, she creatively combined her passions for clinical work with…
Written by

Allison Chase, PhD, CEDS-S

Dr. Chase is Senior Clinical Advisor for Eating Recovery Center and Pathlight Mood & Anxiety Center. Her areas of specialization include child and adolescent mental health, the treatment of eating…