Authenticity is a key concept in EFT. The therapist strives to embody this quality of togetherness while also helping the family members open up.
The more authentic we can be with others, the more our self-esteem grows, and the more we contribute to the relationship developing in authenticity and proximity.
Knowing oneself rather than pretending is a lifelong challenge. We all know how wrong it can go when we show our true selves and get angry, scold, or expose shameful sides. The fear of being rejected, ridiculed, overheard, or otherwise turned away can thus stifle the desire and courage to be ourselves, to be authentic. Psychotherapy examines who we are behind the masks, survival strategies, and learned self-images. The most important people in family therapy.
This means we get to learn more about ourselves while also getting new experiences of being met where we are most vulnerable.
Authenticity means saying what you know, wonder, can empathize with or can’t empathize with, and what an impression being with the family makes. But it’s not just about saying it; it’s about backing it up. Together with the words, the overall expression (voice, eye contact, body language) defines the therapist’s authenticity and thus the impression made. It is a concordance between the external and internal, the role and the person that must be achieved, not a method or technique.
As a therapist, you must dare to make an impact. The content can be easily overheard if one is afraid of making mistakes or meeting opposition from family members. The challenge is to stand by your professional opinions and observations while being open to the possibility that the family may disagree or that you may have made a mistake. Impact is unrelated to oblique safety. It’s tempting to hide your doubts or lack of perspective, and to argue with a client who doesn’t feel understood. But ignoring a client’s reactions or failing to see a connection rarely causes family distrust or insecurity.
Doubt is paradoxically a qualification. An image or understanding of each individual and the dynamics is always incomplete and thus open to interpretation. We only grasp a portion of reality, and what we think we know is only a fraction of what is true. The therapist’s work requires humility towards the task at hand, as well as an openness to learn from mistakes and grow as a person.