Emotionally Focused Therapy

Emotionally focused therapy (EFT) was developed primarily by Dr. Susan Johnson. Originally developed for couples, EFT has found effectiveness between family members as well as romantic couples. As its name implies, emotionally focused therapy is based on emotions. It helps in treating depression, distressed relationships, and much more. It is currently used in private practices, hospital clinics, and training centers throughout the world. Dr. Susan Johnson, with other colleagues of EFT, founded The International Centre for Excellence in Emotionally Focused Therapy (ICEEFT) in 1998. The Centre provides therapist education training including workshops, DVDs, audiotapes, and externships, as well EFT certification for trainers, therapists, and supervisors. The Centre also facilitates clinical research studies.

Goals of Emotionally Focused Therapy

EFT's main goals are to expand and reorganize important emotional responses, implement and foster the creation of a secure bond between partners, and help shift each partner’s position of interaction while initiating new cycles of interaction that are more beneficial for the relationship. Emotionally focused therapy helps create secure and lasting bonds between partners and family members and strives to reinforce the positive bonds that already exist. EFT is a practical technique that has enormous success with couples, and can facilitate change in marriages and relationships that exhibit a wide range of challenges. EFT works to intervene where needed and create change to help relationships work more effectively through a spirit of harmony and respect.

Emotionally Focused Therapy for Couples

Emotionally focused therapy is generally a short-term (8-20 sessions) couples therapy approach, though it is also used with families. It has been found that 70 to 75 percent of couples effectively move from distress to recovery using EFT and approximately 90 percent of couples show significant improvement in their relationships. EFT has a basis in clear and explicit conceptualizations of adult love and marital/relational distress. It is a collaborative approach that respects clients and helps them implement new strategies called “change strategies” and interventions.

Techniques of Emotionally Focused Therapy

Through the exploration of emotions, reactions, inter-relations, and behaviors, couples can identify and study their individual roles and the effect each has on the dynamic of the relationship. Each participant is encouraged to express their experiences and emotions in a non-judgmental and secure environment. By witnessing the release of feelings and anxieties of one partner, the other is able to gain new insight and perception into the validity and emotional state that their own actions and experiences have on the relationship as a whole. Without criticism or consequences, the partners are permitted to voice their deepest concerns and conflicts in order to address them and move beyond to develop more productive and collaborative behaviors.


Last updated: 07-03-2015

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