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  • In Tango Move 5 we summarize Tango Moves 1-4, highlighting new emotional awareness and new ways of reaching and responding that have taken place.

  • By zooming out in this way, we are helping partners integrate the new experience(s) they just had.

  • In Tango Move 5 we build competence and confidence in our clients by validating their courage, willingness, and ability to have a new experience.

  • As we reflect moves 1-4, we are describing a more positive, self-reinforcing cycle: how new ways of relating to oneself lead to new ways of reaching and responding, which in turn shapes view of self and other.

  • Although in Tango Move 5, we are ideally reflecting and celebrating new, positive discoveries and interactional responses, this is not always the case, and that’s ok!

Our job is to reflect the process unfolding in front of us, including blocks and stuck places. If, during moves 1-4 of the tango, one or both partners are stuck in old ways of responding, in Tango Move 5, our summary will include any stuck places, which we validate and normalize in the context of the negative cycle and/or partners’ attachment histories.
Example #1:

Therapist: Wow! I am so touched by what just took place here. Jia, you walked around in the panic that comes up when Alex gets that unhappy look on their face...that fluttering in your belly that usually sends you into shut down mode as you put it. Just now you didn’t shut down, you bravely took the risk to share your panic with Alex. Alex you responded to Jia’s reach, sharing that when she shares her inner world with you it both calms and reassures you. Helps chip away at your fear that you don’t matter. This is so different from the negative pattern that results in so much distance between you two.

example #2:

Therapist: Julie you just took a huge risk to touch your deepest fear and to share it with Marie-Claude. The fear that you will never be able to get things right with Marie-Claude, and that she could leave you.. like your ex-wife did. I am so moved by your courage here. Marie-Claude, you shared that a part of you is relieved that Julie is opening up to you, but that a part of you feels numb when she expresses her fears. Julie, hearing that a part of Marie-Claude is numb..cannot take in your risk just yet, feels very hurtful, and as you said, almost confirms your fear that it’s better not to share. This is a tricky place that we will work on together. Marie-Claude, going numb protected you during very painful times in your life, so it makes sense that it is coming up here as you enter new, unknown territory with Julie, your most important person. It is also hopeful that you were able to also connect to the part of you that does long to be invited into Julie’s inner world.

**Please note that this is not a transcript from a real session but was created based on clinical experience



Johnson, S. M. (2020). The practice of emotionally focused couple therapy: Creating connection (3rd ed.). Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group.

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