The Question of Relationships: A.R.E You There for Me?

Married couples come to me regularly to help them solve their problems and feel more connected. They explain to me about all the things they argue about and go into details of the issues that they are fighting about, trying to each win me over as a Marriage and Family Therapist on their respective sides. As an Emotionally Focused Couples Therapist (EFT Therapist), I know that it’s not what the couple argue about that is the problem; it’s how they argue together that is the real problem. Dr. Sue Johnson, the founder of EFT, explains that most problems couples face  revolve around this one question “are you there for me?” This question is the real underlying issue that is the trigger, either causing the couple to drift apart or come closer. 

What is A.R.E?

The initials in the word A.R.E represent the three crucial concepts required to make a couple feel safe in a relationship: Accessibility, Responsiveness, and Engagement. In other words, a partner’s emotional responsiveness in the relationship is the key to determining if this relationship will thrive or deteriorate. 

What Does It Mean to Be Accessible?

Are you accessible to me? Can I reach you? When I need you are you there for me even if you are not there physically with me? Can I find you when I need comforting and soothing? 

What Does It Mean to Be Responsive?

Are you responsive to my efforts to reach out to you? Do you respond to me or do you ignore me? Can I depend on you to interact with me on an emotional level even if the situation is not good? Do you soothe and comfort me when I need it especially in bad times? Do you care when I am happy and are you happy for me? Do you care when I am sad and are you sad for me? Do you show me that you care by your actions or by talking to me about it?

What Does It Mean to Be Engaged?

Are you emotionally present with me in the here and now? Are you by my side? Am I attractive and worthy of your love? Are you really interested in me?

Answer the Questions Above

By answering all the above A.R.E questions you can tell what the real problem is in your relationship and what do you need from your partner. It is important to discuss the above questions with your loved one to understand what are you really longing for and what your fears are. 

Hold Me Tight

Dr. Sue Johnson explains the concept of A.R.E in detail in her amazing book- Hold Me Tight. In my marriage counseling practice, I always recommend this book for my struggling couples. In this book, Johnson teaches couples the art of successful relationships and how to save a marriage.

As an EFT Certified Therapist, myself I also highly recommend the Hold Me Tight Workshops for couples taking place all over the world.

On a final note, I am proud to state that I am the first and only ICEEFT certified EFT therapist in the United Arab Emirates and one of the leading pioneers of EFT in the Middle East region. I am also the only one fully-based and practicing in the Arab world. Online counseling is really impactful so if you feel like speaking to a Marriage Counselor and do couples therapy at the convenience of your home please contact me on or WhatsApp me on +971502369395.

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