Recap from Saturday’s Program with George Faller
George Faller, Former NY Fire Fighter and Current EFT Trainer and Trauma Expert
Helps LA EFT Therapists Help Highly Escalated Couples (by Nancy Gardner)
On April 28, 2018, LA therapists were privileged to attend a day-long workshop led by George Faller, MFT, who came to LA from New York with his experience, humor, knowledge, and openness to help guide us through the difficult waters of working with couples who are in high conflict. George challenged us to meet these couples where they are—with high energy and intense affect. In high energy situations, slowing clients down (one of our most important go-to EFT interventions) is probably not helpful and in fact, will likely make things harder. Instead, matching affect, meeting these couples in their secondary emotion (usually anger), and helping them make meaning of their power and painful emotions is more helpful. Co-creating affect regulation and co-creating meaning with escalated couples is what works in high conflict situations. Once an angry partner feels understood, it is harder for that partner to continue to stay angry. George demonstrated to this with a role-play couple who started out hollering at each other and were eventually calmer and more compassionate as they each felt validated and understood. “Of course you are angry when…”
George gave us a structure for keeping sessions focused, for interrupting conflict right away, and for intentionally transitioning from one partner to the other. The structure he taught us makes these transitions much more likely to be successful than when we do not have a plan for how to do it. He worked with us to look at and accept our own discomfort with high conflict. His experience of being trained as a fire fighter to rush into a fire while others rush to get away was a helpful analogy for us therapists who need to lean in to our couples when their relationships are on fire.
George also gave us a more intense look at the emotions of pursuers and withdrawers, and walked us through ways to co-regulate and co-create meaning around their affect.
It was a very rich, very well-received training event. Thank you, George, for giving so much to us.