EFT is a systemic and structured approach to couple and family therapy formulated in the 1980’s by Sue Johnson and Les Greenberg. Grounded in attachment theory, this approach recognizes the primacy of emotion in organizing both inner experience and key interactional patterns in primary attachment relationships. Emotion is seen as a powerful agent of change in the therapy, not just as a manifestation of relationship distress. By expanding clients’ emotional experience around core attachment needs and structuring change events to shift the cycle of negative interactions, EFT therapists work to help partners and family members create a more secure bond in their relationship.
As a certified EFT therapist and supervisor, I have extensive experience working with couples Together, we look at how communication and emotional needs have become a negative pattern which prevents partners from having the communication and closeness that they truly desire in their relationship. We identify those negative patterns and work to develop positive patterns of communicating and meeting each other’s emotional needs.
Strengths of Emotionally Focused Therapy
- EFT is based on clear, explicit conceptualizations of marital distress and adult love. These conceptualizations are supported by empirical research on the nature of marital distress and adult attachment.
- EFT is collaborative and respectful of clients combining experiential Rogerian techniques with structural systemic interventions.
- Change strategies and interventions are specified.
- Key moves and moments in the change process have been mapped into nine steps and three change events.
- EFT has been validated by over 20 years of empirical research. There is also research on the change processes and predictors of success.
- EFT has been applied to many different kinds of problems and populations.
Goals of Emotionally Focused Therapy
- To expand and re-organize key emotional responses – the music of the attachment dance.
- To create a shift in partners’ interactional positions and initiate new cycles of interaction.
- To foster the creation of a secure bond between partners.