Learn about Your Negative Cycle

August 14, 2017 Posted by carolynmcintyre

Most couples get caught in “negative cycles” or repeating patterns of interactions. A negative cycle includes thoughts and feelings that cause distress and lead to aloneness.  You react to your partner’s reactions and your partner reacts to your reactions. It’s a dance that keeps happening and it almost doesn’t matter what the argument is about, the feelings and behaviors are the same.  Understanding your negative cycle is the first step in getting control over a pattern that doesn’t work for you. The exercise below will help you with this process.

When my partner and I are not getting along and I feel stuck:

I often react by (describe behaviors)……pulling away or getting angry and critical, or…

My partner often reacts to me by (describe behaviors)……shutting down and pulling away or getting angry..

When my partner reacts this way, I often feel……frustrated, afraid, alone, hopeless…

When I feel this way, I see myself as……inadequate, a failure, alone, unloveable

When I feel this way, I long for or need……reassurance, comfort, a loving touch, a reminder that you care

When I react the way I do, I guess that my partner feels……frustrated, alone, unworthy….

Describe your negative cycle (include how you and your partner trigger the other’s feelings, thoughts, and behaviors)…..


April 23, 2017 Posted by carolynmcintyre

Join us for our monthly EFT Video Friday!
These events take place monthly and will give the greater New York City EFT Community a chance to watch training tapes together with a supervisor moderating the discussions.
Date: May 12th
Time: 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Where: 641 President Street
Cost: $15 online/$20 at the door
Pre-registration is strongly encouraged. We will close registration at 25 participants. If space available, you may register at the door. Limited to 25 participants – pre-register!
Withdrawal Reengagement 
We will be viewing a portion of: “Withdrawer Re-Engagement,” live session in Netherlands with Yolanda von Hockauf. This video, which is not available for sale in the US, demonstrates Yolanda von Hockauf, EFT Trainer from Vancouver, working beautifully with a cross-cultural young couple.  The wife immigrated from Eastern Europe to Holland as a teenager and has a difficult attachment history.  Yolanda tracks her efforts to reach her husband with angry protest and helps her husband share his vulnerability and fear as he struggles with his father’s terminal illness.
Discussant and Facilitator: Carolyn McIntyre, LCSW-R
Carolyn McIntyre, Licensed Clinical Social Worker, LCSW-R, and Certified Emotionally Focused Therapist, has been providing counseling and seminars for about 30 years. Carolyn is passionate about couple therapy using EFT since taking the Extern with Dr Susan Johnson in 2011.  She sees couples in both her midtown and Brooklyn Heights offices.  Carolyn McIntyre has created and delivered seminars on Effective Communication, Dealing With Difficult People, Stress Management, Caregiving for Elderly Relatives, and Balancing Work and Family. Carolyn has been interviewed by WCBS radio, USA Today, The Krow Show, The Miami Herald, and Crain’s New York Business on caregiving and balancing work and family. www.carolynmcintyre.com twitter @McIntyreLCSW.
Carolyn McIntyre, LCSW CeMac62@aol.com and Judy Schenier LCSW  judycsw@gmail.com
Register at:
Cancellation Policy: online registrations are not refundable.

How Valuable is Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy? Let Me Sing the Praises

October 29, 2016 Posted by carolynmcintyre

Anyone who is considering investing time and money in seeing an Emotionally Focused, EFT, couple therapist is naturally concerned about whether it will be worth it.   Many couples have seen therapists who were not as helpful to their relationship as they hoped.  Those of us who are trained in EFT often see people who tried other types of therapies and are still in distress and are still struggling for the closeness that would enhance their relationship.

I am trained in other types of couple and individual therapy and EFT is the only therapy for a couple that provides a safe structure that works to build and strengthen the very important bonds of a couple’s relationship. EFT is also the only therapy that has been thoroughly researched and proven to provide consistently good results not only from couples who just completed therapy but also from couples who ended their therapy two and three years earlier.  The studies on couples two years after therapy show they continue to improve because a solid foundation was created and the couple continues to build upon it.

EFT helps in many areas of life. I can speak personally about this as well: My husband and I saw a Certified EFT Therapist ourselves a few years ago. We had seen other therapists prior to our EFT therapist and had attended and enjoyed a John Gottman, Ph.D. retreat.  Our health is good and mine actually improved since seeing the EFT therapist.  My anxiety has gone down which may have been affecting my health or prevented me from making choices that would be good for my health.  I have a greater sense of safety and love.  An increased sense of connection with my husband has replaced feelings of aloneness I often used to feel.  We don’t go into negative cycles as much because we can step out of them to repair and find closeness more easily.  I am more aware that my husband cares and I can hold onto that thought more easily whether we are together or apart.  We do more things I might not have considered before like taking a singing class and singing duets together.

The value of EFT has a ripple effect extending beyond the couple. After my husband and I saw the EFT Therapist for a while, not only did it improve our relationship as a couple, but I began to notice it had a positive effect on our daughters who did not know we were seeing an EFT therapist.  Our daughter who was beginning college wrote us a letter and said:  

“This may seem pretty random, but I had a kind of realization the other day that I am someone who is very loving and capable of transferring and instilling love in others. I don’t think that this is a quality that a lot or even most people share, although I’m sure it is something that nearly everyone is capable of.  I think that the ability to express and show this love to others needs to be taught and learned.  I am so lucky to have parents who have taught me how to do this, and I just wanted to make sure that you both know how thankful I am for this.  It is definitely the greatest gift that you can give, and I think the goal that all parents should have in mind when raising their kids.  I believe that many anxieties are cause by people thinking that there is a finite amount of love in the world, and that this love can only be reallocated and cannot be produced.  It is the cause of jealousy, loneliness and frustration.  I’m very grateful that I have such wonderful parents.  I love you both very much.”

 So a parallel process was happening. As my husband and I were learning more about love, our daughter tells us she thinks love is something that can be learned.  Isn’t that amazing!

When I was in graduate school I remember we looked at a family map of the Fonda family (Henry, Jane and Peter’s). The family tree told a tragic story of multiple suicides going way back.  Patterns often continue in self-perpetuating fashion . . . But they can also be changed and permanently interrupted.  Just imagine if you and your partner could be the ones who change a negative pattern of disconnection in your family and how that can translate into an intergenerational transformation.  The ripple effect of improving your partner relationship means other relationships can improve as well.  An entire family legacy can change.  Yes, as you can tell, there are so many reasons I want to sing the praises of EFT.

NEW! We Are Launching Brooklyn EFT Trainings For Therapists

September 10, 2016 Posted by carolynmcintyre

I am excited to announce my role in helping to launch EFT trainings for Therapists in Brooklyn.  Working with NYCEFT, the New York Chapter of Emotionally Focused Therapy I will be coordinating monthly video trainings where therapists can watch Certified EFT Supervisors and Trainers work with couples.  It’s the best way to learn how to help couples and a wonderful way to connect with a growing community in Brooklyn.

Join us for our first ever EFT Video Friday!
These events take place monthly to give the greater New York City EFT Community a chance to watch training tapes together with a Certified EFT Therapist moderating the discussions.
Date: September 16th
Time: 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Where: 641 President Street, Brooklyn, Conference Room
Ground Floor, Buzz Suite 206
Cost: $15 online/$20 at the door
Emotionally Focused Therapy in Action
We will be watching a portion of:  Emotionally Focused Therapy in Action. In this DVD, Dr. Sue Johnson conducts a session with a challenging couple haunted by the “echoes of war”.  In a single session, she helps them begin to reveal some of the vulnerable feelings that underlie their explosive anger. Find out more at:  EFT Trainings and Events for Therapists.

Sharing Reflections and Feelings with Your Child by Journaling

March 12, 2016 Posted by carolynmcintyre

The following post is shared with permission from a client:

My client who is a stay-at-home mom shares some of the most moving and resourceful ways to deal with the joys and frustrations of raising children. With her permission I wanted to share what she does with her 5 year old son that helps them both step back, reflect, and connect.  Many parents might read this and think this is also a great way to engage their child in writing and develop those skills.  It is a great way to do that.  Even more important than developing writing skills, they have a way to express themselves safely and nourish the relationship after a difficult and challenging time.

Angela writes in the journal at night before going to sleep and leaves it for her son. In the morning, Ethan reads it when he wakes up.  Angela and her husband also have a 14 month old son so there are plenty of challenging moments.

“Dear Ethan,

I love you so much. Yesterday was a rough day for everyone.  I know you were frustrated with your brother for grabbing your things.  He was frustrated but we don’t know why because he can’t speak yet.

Mummy was frustrated. Daddy was frustrated too.  We were all frustrated.  What a rough day.  Sometimes we get frustrated.  That’s OK.  It happens.  When we have a rough day, we remind ourselves that we love each other and that tomorrow is a new day and a chance to try again.


Love Mummy”

Ethan writes in response:

“Dear Mama, I love you too. You were correct.  Everyone in the entire planet gets frustrated sometimes.  I know that.  I love you sooooooooo.  Love Ethan Doggy.”


Alison Armstrong Offers Another Way to Help Couples

March 4, 2016 Posted by carolynmcintyre

Alison Armstrong has been helping men and women understand each other better.  She offers many products to buy and seminars for both.  Although she is not a PhD like Dr. Susan Johnson, and her work has not been studied they way Emotionally Focused Therapy has been, she resonates with many and her seminars seem to be insightful and fun.  Alison points out that many women ask and ask and exert pressure on their partner without giving them time to process and think.  She maintains that women ask for things they don’t need and then don’t know how to ask for what they really do need.  Dr. Susan Johnson would equate this to the typical pursue/withdraw dynamic where one partner is pursuing for emotional connection and the other is shutting down.  Here is a link to an Alison Armstrong Utube seminar

Attachment, Bonding, Love from Infancy to Adulthood, A Powerful Video

February 22, 2016 Posted by carolynmcintyre

Dr. Sue Johnson and Dr. Edward Tronick, both researchers on attachment, have put together a short video showing how the same attachment needs are shown in infancy and adulthood.  The responsiveness of caregivers and partners to loved ones allows for secure attachment and a lack of emotional engagement can result in distress.  This amazing video is powerful because it shows a moment of disruption in attachment and then repair of that disruption.

EFT decreases pain, research shows

February 18, 2016 Posted by carolynmcintyre

Dr.  Johnson is the first to use real data to show that EFT couple therapy actually decreases our perception of pain.  A safer connection with our partner decreases the alarm response in our brain.  The MRI brain scans before and after EFT therapy show the perception of pain goes from danger to discomfort when receiving a pain stimulus.  Dr.  Susan Johnson asked a spouse in a couple to receive a pain stimulus while holding the hand of their partner and the MRI scans showed a difference in pain receptors before and after the therapy which corresponded with the couples reported shift in their relationship from unsafe to loving and safe.  See this short video: “Soothing the Threatened Brain.”

Freeing from Old Scars; AEDP Therapy with Female Client, January 2016

February 13, 2016 Posted by carolynmcintyre

I have been working with a woman who sought my help to be a better mother and to work on herself. She was raised by a mother who was an alcoholic and abusive and father who was passive.  She is usually a positive and supportive mother but loses her temper at times and feels hopeless, helpless and frustrated when that happens.

We have been working on her inner child and she describes our work as “revisiting my younger self and parenting her.” She says the work is deep, “I am able to rewire my brain and replace the scar tissue…so the underneath scar is set free, its freeing me up.” When people do this deep work they notice a difference in their everyday life.  She says “I have come a long way and can speak up for myself.  The work we are doing is so important…it’s not linear it’s forwards and backwards to master a skill and give myself the moment (when I get upset).  I have faith and tell myself, ‘tomorrow is a new day and the more I practice, the better I get.’”

In AEDP there is the view of the core self as the part of us that is calm and helps us get through all challenges in life. She says, “I realize that I have wisdom inside of me, a part that has always been untouched.”  She can look back at her life and see this wise part and also realize she was “misunderstood by her family.”  No one saw or acknowledged her resourcefulness and resilience.  She says the work we are doing is “very worthwhile and powerful” and that she is proud of herself.

Sharing Fears to Find Safety, EFT, Emotionally Focused Therapy with individuals

February 12, 2016 Posted by carolynmcintyre

One of my clients who got married fairly recently let me know her friend shared something with her that was shocking to her. The friend whom she has known for years also got married around the same time and let her know that her husband just said he doesn’t want her anymore and is leaving the relationship.  My client said her friend is such a solid person and great friend so she could not believe something like that could happen to her.  So I asked what she did with her fear and she said she called her husband and shared what happened and asked him to let her know if he ever thought of leaving her.  I asked her how she felt after talking with her husband and she said she thought it was weak of her to have called him.  I let her know that from my perspective, an EFT perspective, sharing her fear with her husband and hearing him be there to reassure her was what safe attachment is about.  Since she never had that with her parents, she saw it as a weakness rather than strength.

We also discussed the younger parts of her that became so frightened and that she had never had a safe attachment growing up.  After we did this piece of work she was able to say that she now sees that there was something wrong with her mother not something wrong with her and she is able to love herself in ways she could not before.  Safe attachment is about being able to share fears with our parent or partner and be comforted, we all have fears and doubts and need to be able to reach to a close loved one for comfort or reassurance.