From family to clan, from clans to village, from villages to cities, and then fast forward to metropolises and, again, to the quantum leap of the network that has reset distances, we are who we are because of the bonds we build, because of the communities we choose, build and inhabit.

I know that the EFT – Emotionally Focused Therapy – lens with which I observe and experience the world may seem biased.

“When you understand attachment you often start seeing it everywhere.”
Sue Johnson

Just like I know that what I believe about the power of secure attachments and the value of emotions leads me to find confirmation everywhere I look.
Confirmations that tell me that in a secure bond, dependence is not a bad thing.
That “depending” on someone we love and who has our back is not a weakness at all.
On the contrary, in spite of what we have been taught, it is an added strength (more on this topic in the near future)….
Listening to my clients, I have constant reassurances that there are no A and B emotions, but that emotions are all valid. All of them. From the first to the last.

As a therapist, hearing from the couples and individuals I follow, I cannot help but see how love is the most powerful drug1 in our universe.

Love is a “drug,” in the literal sense: that is, capable of healing as well as poisoning.

When we perceive it to be stable, within a secure and happy relationship, love nourishes the soul, fertilizes thought, opens the mind, broadens our horizons, enhances creativity. It heals the wounds of the soul and helps heal those of the body as well. When we live in a secure and happy relationship, we benefit from more effective and ready immune defenses, digest better, and sleep more soundly, which helps the homeostasis of the whole body.
A secure bond makes us more balanced, inside and out; it improves our cognitive and professional performance.

Conversely, when we are “heartbroken,” we feel exhausted and fragile. We sense the weight of the world and may have less strength to deal with the myriad entanglements of each day. We are more likely to experience unpleasant emotions. Less open to sociability. While our soul suffers, the body can only be affected.

“Negative relationships threaten our health.”
Sue Johnson1

Not surprisingly, studies have now shown that people who can count on a secure bond live longer than others, and especially healthier.
While the relationships most relevant to our well-being are undoubtedly the close ones, there are other very powerful ties. These include peer connections that arise and grow within specific communities.

Network – the 7 powers of community

We are social animals, very social, super social! Animals that need not to be alone to survive, trivially because being alone exposes us to danger. Also, it sucks.

“We need to recognize that we are more than Homo Sapiens. We are ‘Homo Vinculum,’ those who bond with others. And these bonds are what will save us. They always have.”
Sue Johnson

Since we began walking in the world, about two to three hundred thousand years ago, relationships have driven us to develop a common language to be understood and access knowledge.
“This mushroom is poisonous.”
“Across the river, there are berries good to eat…”

Relationships made us survive, helping us defeat food shortages, and then pushed us to grow, collaborate, invent, explore and build. They enabled us to understand that the group is stronger than the individual, safer and more secure.
And, conversely, relationships have taught us that stepping out of the group, being exiled and removed from it, leaves us alone, exposed to the saber-toothed beasts of all times and places.
Over the millennia, we humans have learned that extended relationships also require attention, dedication, and ARI.

ARE:

  • Accessibility
  • Responsiveness
  • Engagement.

The English term “networking” shows us in no uncertain terms that connections do not fall from trees, and are not found by accident, even when we think they do…
Community membership brings us a number of benefits and just as many powers.

A few weeks ago I was chatting with Sue, and it struck me how she reinforced exactly this concept, so I will quote her words literally here.

“Well, I think EFT, emotionally focused therapy, which began as couples therapy, has changed the field of couples therapy substantially, but it’s also used with individuals. I think it is unique in that it is the only model that I know of that has systematically fostered and created learning communities around the world. Now there are more than 90 of them. I don’t know how it started, actually, but the idea was that, yes, if you want to do it right, therapy is challenging and difficult.
Oh, well, now I know that alone it is very difficult. Obviously, we follow attachment theory and so we believe that people need community, connection, support, reassurance, and validation. People need all these things, just like when we are children and we need them from our parents. And when we get that security and that sense of connection, we are much better at learning and taking in new information and growing and changing.
I could not have grown EFT, discovered EFT, without my wonderful colleagues. And I always say that the people who taught me EFT were my clients, my colleagues and my students. Because alone we cannot do anything, while together we can do everything.”

The community that I inhabit…

The community I inhabit is the big family that came out of Sue Johnson’s studies of emotions. The one we were chatting about in the sentences above.

The EFT community is an extended village, a large clan that has now spread all over the world, propagating its values and positively infecting thousands of people who in turn are helping millions of couples, individuals, families. Its zip codes cover five continents: United States of America, Europe, South America, Asia, Australia. From Italy, to Argentina. And then again: Brazil, Costa Rica, New Zealand, Singapore, China, Korea… This community speaks English, Spanish, Portuguese, Thai, Chinese, Dutch, German, Polish, French… But regardless of everyone’s wonderful idioms, the people in this extraordinary family speak the same language: the language of emotions.

This community at the international level we find it under the big umbrella of ICEEFT, and in various geographical areas we find it in local groups, and ours is the EFT Italia Community. Born five years ago, and now growing, connected at various levels, full of wonderful and wonderful colleagues, kind and collaborative with each other.

Inside this community we have different powers, protecting us from burnout, and often also from loneliness. They give us comfort and support, offer us safety, security, nurturing. They allow us to build and consolidate deep relationships, based on validation and never on competition…

1. Elective affinities and familiarity

Within our community we feel understood and safe. We sense that we are in the right place, surrounded by people looking in the same direction. Or who look sometimes in different directions, and tell us what they see, what they observe, and are open to our of stories.

We share some or many of the principles of the theoretical model that we chose to study and explore, somehow we chose it, we felt part of this movement, we found ourselves in the theoretical foundations, we said to each other: “Oh that’s it, but it talks about me, it talks about the people around me, it talks about my emotions, it talks about my scientific but human view of being human, it talks about my clients and their difficulties, it talks about the difficulties we encounter in our lives, and it gives me a solid foundation on which to rest my professional feet, and more, to be able to effectively help as many people as I can.”

2. Security


Belonging to our peer group makes us feel less alone: it confirms and reinforces our beliefs, gives space for our values, and nurtures our interests. Familiarity and shared thinking make us feel within a safe group, a protected environment in which we can express ourselves without EVER fear of being judged.

When we talk among colleagues there is kindness, we share an absence of criticism, tenderness and gentleness toward people, openness toward a non-pathologizing view of the defensive strategies that trap people, and toward emotions, even the most intense, even our own. We are not afraid to talk about love….

3. Specificity and Diversity

Beyond the points of contact-the same frequency, the same “dance”-especially as the community expands, here are the singularities and wonderful diversities of its members.

Each member’s strength comes from belonging to a clan tuned to the same frequencies, yet different, and precisely because different, magnificent2.

4. Growth


The group nurtures us and by nurturing us it grows us, as individuals and as a community.

The community cares for us, and protects us, and in this way helps us grow by sharing thoughts and practices that are perfectly attuned to our respective harmonies and dances.

5. Deep Relationships

The community unites us, leading us to build deep, intense, true relationships that start from a solid foundation made of mutual support.

6. Mutual Support

What does “mutual support” mean? It means that everyone is always there, and is for other people a safe harbor, a shoulder, and a guide: bonds you can rely on, relationships you can finally rely on!

7. Validation

A foundational aspect of this group is that we help each other grow through validation, comfort, and shared moments of learning and confrontation.

There is no criticism, because we do not believe in criticism.

There is never any humiliation: within this wonderful big family, we help each other see what we do well, where we are good.

There is also no competitiveness.

The path is safe growth, never a competition. The destination is the well-being of the person, the community, and that of the clients we are called to help, in the name of a principle we will discuss in the next post, “The unpopular power of addiction.”



  1. Sue Johnson, “Hold me tight” ↩︎
  2. On the wonder of diversity, read: “THE 7 THAUMATURGIC POWERS OF TRAVEL↩︎