When Partners Become Emotionally Flooded

One of the most challenging aspects of my work with couples is helping them prevent or stop emotional flooding when they are in conflict or disagreement about something.

Renowned couples therapists John and Julie Gottman have spent more than four decades studying couples’ everyday interactions in their “love lab.”  What they’ve come away with is a blueprint that can predict with startling accuracy the potential for a relationship’s success or failure.  And
de-escalating from fiery situations, where one or both partners get emotionally “flooded,” is a prime focus of their work.

“When people flip their lid, they can’t think,” say Julie.  “They feel attacked. They see an attack. And they respond with fight or flight.

Even partners in successful relationships use criticism, contempt, defensiveness, and stonewalling. But what distinguished their relationships from disastrous ones is that these partners focus on making repairs following ruptures in their relationship and making them early.

In the following video clip, “What Works in Couples Therapy,” Julie shares a surprisingly simple solution for helping flooded couples.  I highly recommend you watch it:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v0pCpvMs6oM

Jim Covington

Jim Covington

Jim Covington (M.Div. MA, LMFT) has been helping couples improve their relationships for more than 30 years. He holds degrees are in psychology and theology, is a licensed New York marriage and family therapist, a clinical member of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapists and has been trained in multiple approaches to marital/couples therapy and family therapy.

He has completed Level 3 Practicum Training in Gottman Method Couples Therapy, externship training with the International Center for Excellence in Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) for couples and PREP (Prevention & Relationship Enhancement Program), and employs Solution Oriented Brief Therapy as taught by Michelle Weiner-Davis.
Jim Covington

Jim Covington

Jim Covington (M.Div. MA, LMFT) has been helping couples improve their relationships for more than 30 years. He holds degrees are in psychology and theology, is a licensed New York marriage and family therapist, a clinical member of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapists and has been trained in multiple approaches to marital/couples therapy and family therapy.

He has completed Level 3 Practicum Training in Gottman Method Couples Therapy, externship training with the International Center for Excellence in Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) for couples and PREP (Prevention & Relationship Enhancement Program), and employs Solution Oriented Brief Therapy as taught by Michelle Weiner-Davis.