Emotion Focused Therapy

Emotion focused therapy (EFT) was developed primarily by Dr. Leslie Greenberg, PhD. EFT is a therapy that assumes emotions can be a healing source. EFT has been found effective for individuals who suffer from moderate depression, childhood abuse or deprivation and various general problems such as interpersonal issues. EFT has also been found effective for couples in distress. Emotion Focused Therapy (EFT) was developed to help individuals resolve unpleasant emotions by working with those emotions instead of suppressing them and is based on the belief that unpleasant emotions are sources of useful information. EFT focuses on the constructive aspects of specific emotions, primarily in the present rather than the past. EFT hones in on how problems happen and not just why they occur while emphasizing the importance of past interpersonal relationships as well as the self.

Origins and Method of EFT

EFT was born out of contemporary psychological beliefs and has developed into a widely accepted evidence-based approach to therapy for the treatment of several imbalances in relationships both external and internal. EFT was created and should be used for conditions where there is a non-working over-control of emotions despite the positivity or negativity of those emotions. In conditions where there is an under-control of emotions, EFT can effectively be used as a second stage of treatment. Emotion Focused Therapy is exactly as its name states and is focused on the constructive use of emotions and how they can help individuals heal and benefit from them. EFT generally takes 16 to 20 therapy sessions.

What is EFT Like?

EFT has been used for the treatment of depression, anxiety, eating disorders, and other challenges that are resistant to traditional applications. The delivery of EFT is always achieved through an empathic relationship between the client and therapist and has proven to be as effective as cognitive behavioral therapy or client centered therapy. People who undergo EFT often respond by receiving relief from their symptoms, or an alteration in the symptoms which lead to recovery and healing. This form of therapy is extremely useful for maintaining persistence in the therapy regimen. When applied to a couple experiencing conflict, EFT is recognized as one of the most promising therapies for the resolution of issues and the restoration of harmony.

Resources Related to Emotion Focused Therapy

Dr. Leslie Greenberg, PhD, along with other EFT contributors, runs an Emotion Focused Therapy Clinic in affiliation with the York University Psychology Clinic where he is a professor. The clinic provides EFT sessions, training for therapists wanting to add EFT to their practice, as well as ongoing, up-to-date continuing education training for EFT practitioners.


Last updated: 07-18-2016

Advanced Search

Join GoodTherapy.org!

Mental health professionals who meet our membership requirements can take advantage of benefits such as:

  • Client referrals
  • Continuing education credits
  • Publication and media opportunities
  • Marketing resources and webinars
  • Special discounts

Learn More
GoodTherapy.org is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis, medical treatment, or therapy. Always seek the advice of your physician or qualified mental health provider with any questions you may have regarding any mental health symptom or medical condition. Never disregard professional psychological or medical advice nor delay in seeking professional advice or treatment because of something you have read on GoodTherapy.org.