Emotionally-Focused Therapy, or EFT, is an empirically validated humanistic and short-term psychotherapeutic approach to working with couples originated by Dr. Susan Johnson Ed.D in the early 1980s. It offers a comprehensive view of adult attachment and its role in romantic relationships through 30 years of experience working with couples, alongside a significant body of scientific research.
For couples looking to strengthen their relationships or to heal distressed relationships, EFT offers a unique way of focusing on each partner’s emotional experiences, restructuring their emotional responses that maintain the negative interaction patterns.
EFT is best known as a cutting edge, tested and proven couple intervention, but it is also used to address individual depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress (EFIT – Emotionally Focused Individual Therapy) and to repair family bonds (EFFT – Emotionally Focused Family Therapy). This model operationalizes the principles of attachment science using non-pathologizing experiential (paralleling Carl Rogers) and relational systems techniques (paralleling Salvador Minuchin) to focus on and change core organizing factors in both the self and key relationships.
EFT is a short term (8 to 20 sessions) structured approach, originally developed for couple therapy and based on attachment science, formulated in the 1980’s. Interventions in EFCT integrate a humanistic, experiential approach to restructuring emotional experience and a systemic structural approach to restructuring interactions. A substantial body of research now exists on the effectiveness of EFCT.
This research shows large treatment effect sizes and stable results over time. EFCT is used successfully with many different kinds of couples in private practice, university training centers and hospital clinics. Preliminary research exists for couples dealing with depression, with anxiety resulting from trauma, with medical illness and with forgiveness dilemmas. EFCT is used with varied cultural groups and educational levels across North America, Australia, New Zealand, Europe, Africa and Asia. It is used with traditional and non-traditional couples, including same-sex couples.
EFIT is an attachment science-based approach to individual therapy that, like the other EFT interventions, EFCT for couples and EFFT for families, offers an integration of humanistic experiential interventions focused on reshaping intrapsychic experience and systemic interventions focused on reshaping patterns of engagement with significant others. Emotion is given precedence across treatment modalities given its powerful role in structuring both inner experience and motivation and key interactional patterns in relationships. Emotion links and organizes core experience and interaction.
EFFT follows the principles and practices of Emotionally Focused Therapy to restore connection and promote resilience in family relationships. The principle goal of EFFT is to re-establish more secure family patterns where attachment and caregiving responses are effective and emotional bonds are repaired. These resources inform a network of security that provides the flexibility and closeness necessary for families to promote individual growth and meaningful relationships across generations.
The EFFT Approach
The EFT process of change in EFFT focuses on stabilizing a family’s negative interaction pattern, restructuring parent and child interactions, and consolidating the felt security gained through these new patterns of connection. Following principles of attachment science, the EFFT therapist guides the family to new patterns of parental availability, responsiveness and coherent attachment communications as they face developmental change and life challenges.
In EFFT, the focus is on addressing blocks in parental caregiving responses and understanding the child or adolescent’s behavior in terms of attachment needs or fears. These blocks result from constrained, stuck responses to misattunement and injuries in family relationships. The EFFT therapist tracks the generational influences impacting these blocks and works through rigid patterns that disrupt attachment communication between parents, siblings and between parent and child. Work with parents focuses on the building of a coherent parenting team. The process of EFFT often moves quickly as family members become more responsive, accessible, and engaged with previously unacknowledged attachment-related emotions and needs.
Hold Me Tight Couple Workshop is based on Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) that guides partners to become more attuned, trusting, and open with each other and more easily handle day-to-day stress and conflict. It helps couples to gain a new understanding and develop new patterns of communication.
The workshop includes:
All experiential exercises take place between partners in order to maintain personal privacy and provide safety.
Identify negative and destructive remarks in order to get to the root of the problem and figure out what each other is really trying to say.
Learns to look beyond immediate, impulsive reactions to figure out what raw spots are being hit
De-escalating conflict and repairing rifts in a relationship and building emotional safety.
Accessible, emotionally responsive, and deeply engaged with each other.
Injuries may be forgiven but they never disappear. Learn to talk about it as demonstrations of renewal and connection.
How emotional connection creates great sex, and how good sex creates deeper emotional connection.
Love is a continual process of losing and finding emotional connection; it asks couples to be deliberate and mindful about maintaining connection.